Shannon Rucker; I ain’t no African…
(ThyBlackMan.com) I spent a lot of my childhood wondering why so many white people hate Black people. I wondered why all the other colonized, brainwashed people of color (who white folks also despise) hate Black people.
Most of all, I wondered why so many Black people hate being Black and presumably/most likely descended from Africans.
I cranked my brow at the fact that my mama not only wastes money on red, white, and blue paraphernalia but, most importantly, my mama has said all my life over and over again–
“I ain’t no African.”
I’m descended from dark-skinned Indians.
I ain’t that black.
We got Italians and Germans in our family.
Your great granddaddy on your grandfather’s side was Mexican.
You’ve got Native American cheekbones, see there?
Your great grandparents on your grandma’s side are both mulatto.
Africans are old nasty, stuck-up, greedy folks–they don’t like Black folks over here no way and won’t say a word to hep you.
Those are some of the words that encouraged me to pursue the harmful, brutal, stunting environment of a predominantly white international institution of higher education. Literally, it nearly killed me.
When I set off for college, I thought, It doesn’t matter that I’m Black. I can go out into the world and be what I want to be. America can defy its history if I try hard enough. My sister always called me white anyway. I wasn’t “like the other Black folks“. I liked to read and write. Being black to some people means anti-education. This is wrong for two reasons:
1. Black people in this country were intentionally and lawfully barred from being educated (which means as an oppressed and enslaved group they were not allowed to read or write therefore they were not taught or allowed to go to school generally).
2. The American education system is a white supremacist education system on the whole and it seeks to hide, misrepresent, and outright lie about its violent racist history. Look no further than HB 2281 in Arizona for some evidence.
Can you hear a cynical laugh?
Why is it so wrong to be Black? What’s wrong with being Black? I always thought as a child, in school watching videos of brutality against protesters by police and racist whites, reading testimonials of violent rapes and lynchings of Black women who were enslaved and even after slavery, looking at photos of lynched Black peoples, men, women, and children beaten, broken, dismembered, tortured bodies. America was not going to protect us when it could get away with it. Why does blackness inspire so much hatred and violence from other races? I was born Black and female. I didn’t ask to be. Its part of who I am. Why does everybody want to be anything other than Black?
“I ain’t no African.”
Despite those words from my mother, I now have strong Black female, gender fluid identity that is growing stronger and healthier everyday. I have prayed to my ancestors and try to at least do what I think would make them proud.
As much as I wish it existed the way it does in my fantasies, I now understand that Black unity is part myth; my childhood and experiences as a young adult have taught me this. Still I feel as if the struggling I endure is not in vain and I am not alone. I take pride in my Blackness and I try everyday because many of my ancestors fought and suffered and lived and died so I can have this chance.
No I’m not through-and-through African, as in I wasn’t born in any of the prominent African nations where there are brown folks that look like people in my community.
But I believe in the voices and spirits of those who have come before me and the strength and power that has brought me this far, here, today. That which will not let me die in the face of pain and adversity. That which shelters my heart and makes me to laugh and cry and continue to love.
Staff Writer; Shannon Rucker
For more articles written by this talented sista, do check out; The Black Feminist Blog.
Also connect with this sista via twitter; Ms. Queenly.