October 8, 2008

Forgetting where we come from?

Posted in Black History Month '08 tagged , , , at 10:25 pm by poison ivyyy

Our ancestors came to and settled in Britain a long time ago. Black people have been present in this country for over 2,000 years now and make up an impressive total of about 2.2 per cent in England, but does that rally give us the right to consider ourselves one of ‘them’?

The fact that black people in this country are called Black British and not Black English, or simple just English like the rest of the population, speaks louder than the every attempt by us to fit in.

It is a natural process that everyone who arrived second will never be seen as equal to the ones that governed the country at the arrival of the second.

So instead of trying to ‘imitate’ someone else’s heritage and striving to be that someone we should rather concentrate on finding a base were we can all live together side by side, without falling into the trap of loosing our ways, or creating a culture that has less to nothing in common with the original one.

It is comforting to see that black people in this country and around the globe have come a long way and moved on from the days where we were deprived of all our human rights that were given to us at birth.

Embracing different cultures

We are different by nature and there is nothing wrong with being different, because that is what makes this glob spin and it would be a shame if we would forget altogether where we came from, Africa.

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Integration is a word that gets used a lot by the government, schemes are run to get people to fit in and to make them adapt to be British lifestyle.

I am a huge supporter of integration and getting people to accustomed to their new ‘world’, because I don’t think that it is right for anyone to live in a country without so much as trying to pick up the spoken language, get used to the rules and culture, and only live in a surrounding full of ‘their own people’.

Sometimes it feels, though, as if we have overdone it.

We have tried so hard to fit in that we have completely given up our culture and on the things that define us.

There is a fine line between fitting in and obeying the customs of a country and loosing your own ethnic identity, black people in this country appear to have crossed that line.

October 4, 2008

Show your heritage some respect!

Posted in Black History Month '08 tagged , , , , at 10:05 pm by poison ivyyy

We call ourselves black, we say that we are black and proud, we embrace the word black-power and celebrate black history month every year.

But how much do we really know about being black?

Africa, is the one continent we all originated from, but it seems that the more we try to prove that we are still Africans, and proud of it, the more we drift away from actually being it.

The symbol of Black Power

The symbol of Black Power

If you ask young black people on the streets where they are originally from, most of them would be quick to point out that they are from various countries in Africa, despite being born right here in Britain.

If you then ask the same people if they have ever been to ‘their’ country and/or speak their mother tongue, the answer is no.

Cultural Changes

How can our culture live on if we reluctantly deny our offspring the simple pleasure of learning the language of our ancestors and let them experience for themselves, the place our families came from.

Black Heroes in the Hall of Fame is an internationally acclaimed stage musical that returned to Britain, for a couple of shows in 2007.

This spectacular production created by Flip Fraser, is a moving and dramatic tribute to over 5,000 years of black history.

It highlights the contributions and achievements made by great black men and women towards creating world peace, prosperity and freedom – as well as acknowledging their accomplishments in the world of science, sports and entertainment.

Some of the most famous names in the play are Rosa Parks, Mohamed Ali, Bob Marley, 2 Pac Shakur and the Williams sisters.

Knowing your past

But how much do we, the ones that call ourselves proud Africans, really know about our history, the struggles our people had to go through and most of all about all the good that has come out of the black continent.

Unfortunately, most of us know next to nothing, apart from slavery, about our cultural
background.

One of the core scenes of the Black Heroes in the Hall of Fame is a debate between Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey and the great Nelson Mandela.

And Mr. Garvey said something in the lines of: “An Indian born in China is still considered an Indian, how come that we are the only nation that doesn’t see how important it is to take pride in their roots and past.”

Our whole history in one show

Our whole history in one show

Natural look

We look, we talk and we dress differently from what we used to.

I am not suggesting that we should go back and start dressing in traditional clothes, but if we don’t start showing our heritage more respect then soon there will be nothing left to distinguish us as Africans, with the exception of the colour of our skin.

We need to stop pretending that we are trapped in the wrong body, ladies this goes out to you.

When it comes to hair black people fatefully got the wrong end of the barging, but denying the real you by wearing wigs, chemically straighten, weaving your hair away, or even more shockingly bleach the beautiful, god given, brown skin can not be the answer.

Instead of seeing everything that might not work in our favour as a bad thing, we should show some gratitude, stand up tall and say this is who and more importantly how we are.