Black Ancestors : Lack of Appreciation for our Ancestors is Destroying the African American Community

Discussion in 'Honoring Black Ancestors' started by pinnellbabe, Nov 13, 2003.

  1. pinnellbabe

    pinnellbabe New Member MEMBER

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    Everyday the fact that I am African American stares back at me from the mirror. My brown skin reminds me of the struggles my ancestors went through so I could enjoy the freedom that I have now. Over the years these struggles have become my driving force, pushing me to excel in my academics and extracurricular activities. Reflecting on slavery and the Civil Rights movement I am increasingly concerned that each new generation is becoming less appreciative of these struggles and are not utilizing the freedom that was bought with the blood and tears of those who came before us. As African Americans become more prosperous we do not relate to the difficulties of our ancestors and we begin to have the mentality that their struggles are not relevant to our lives. The increase of drug abuse, incarceration, and high school dropouts is proof that the value of my ancestor’s sacrifices is depreciating with each generation. It is important for African Americans to remember and appreciate what our people went through and show our gratefulness through our actions so that the battle our people fought will not be in vain.
    Earlier this year controversy centered on the movie “Barber Shop” after actor “Cedrick the Entertainer” in the character of “Eddie” made comments undermining the role of Rosa Parks in the Civil Rights movement, among other things. I was appalled and ashamed that such comments would be made publicly about a national icon and respected woman who helped spark the Civil Rights movement. The African-American community was in an uproar. As I began to think about the controversial comments in the movie I realized that although many in the African American community were angry about it, what “Cedric the Entertainer” voiced is not being said in the African-American community but it is being shown through our actions. The increase of high school dropouts is just one of the major examples of this lack of appreciation that I have begun to notice. It is a known fact that slaves were not allowed to be educated. When the slaves were freed they were denied access to schools so they had to make their own schools which were of poor quality. People fought long and hard to receive the right to go to better schools and increase their knowledge by attending college. This is why I become angry when I see Black students who don’t care about their academics. I also become angry when I see Black people aiding in the destruction of their own communities by selling drugs. African Americans who commit crimes and end up behind bars are selfish and do not take in consideration that they are giving up their freedom, freedom that their people waited, suffered, and fought so long for. It all amounts to selfishness, everyone is out for personal gain no matter how or who it affects, and lack of appreciation. That makes me angry.
    With the increasing prosperity of Black people we identify less and less with “the struggles of old”. Understandably so since slavery and the Civil Rights movement happened years ago. Despite of this fact it is imperative that we do not become lax as we become more prosperous and let ourselves and our children forget what has allowed us, as a people, to make it this far. Often I relax, with one of my favorite pastimes,
    watching MTV Cribs. In one particular episode I was touched by a certain basketball player who had a photo of the dilapidated home in which he grew up. He hung it on his wall so that he would always know where he came from and appreciate the obstacles he went through because those obstacles made him who he is. That is the same attitude that all people, especially Black people, should have when it comes to past sacrifices made that have allowed us to become successful today.
    It is important for African Americans to remember and appreciate what our people went through and show our gratefulness through our actions so that the battle our people fought will not be in vain. Without the sacrifice of our ancestor we would never be as prosperous as we are today. Slaves were whipped for trying to learn how to read and now young people don’t even want to read a passage out of a text book much more read on their own time. People died for freedom from slavery but now people are allowing others to take their freedom form them by committing selfish acts. I am afraid that what was gained over the years to help the plight of African Americans is being lost, in many respects. I am grieved at this thought. This issue must be brought to light so African Americans will see what is happening and bring awareness to their own communities. We must act quickly before what was done in the past to help people in the future becomes of no value to the people it was meant to help.
     
  2. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Excellent thread, pinnellbabe...you speak truth to power...
     
  3. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Welcome pinnellebabe, you speak wisdom beyond your years. I enjoyed reading your comments because they echo so many others I've read before including a few of my own. Given all that you so eloquently wrote, I found many that I completely agreed with but one comment struck me in particular: "We must act quickly before what was done in the past to help people in the future becomes of no value to the people it was meant to help." This seems to have become the mantra here in this community as well as outside. It's not that many of us don't know this, but apparently it's easier said/written than done.

    I wonder if we're looking deeply enough at what happened to us as an African people who were snatched involuntarily from Africa. For those of us who have studied our his/herstory certainly aren't ignorant to the events that got us here. Those of us who are committed to searching out the facts and discovering the truth, including armchair scholars, can readily tell us dates, times and places and far better than any textbook forced upon us by white traditionalists.

    Many of us are old enough and were around during the Civil Rights Movement at its peak. We know firsthand what it was like to be denied access due to Jim Crow laws so why aren't we doing much of anything on a grand scale in terms of a mass movement to 'free' ourselves?

    In my opinion, it takes more than just the recognition of our condition and how it came to be that we are where we are. True, it starts here but it takes more than an intellectual study of the step-by-step process. That alone is not enlightenment in my opinion. What is more difficult is the ability to grasp and overcome the socio-psychological impact and affects of racism and how it keeps us enslaved. We must learn and then do something. It's this continuing mentality that drives us to function at a snail's pace when it comes to oppression. It's that which causes us to not act on our knowledge so knowledge is not power in that sense. The years of brainwashing and physical abuse we've taken as Africans are like cement blocks attached to our feet and we're struggling to find the chisel. Some of us have found it and are using it. Unfortunately, it's not a tool that's easily passed on to others like us. Some of us are looking to others to do the work. Some don't realize that there is still work to be done. Some have become so accustomed to their condition, they accept it. Many of us live in denial because to do something requires something that some aren't willing to do.

    There is no single or simple solution is there? In my opinion, complete enlightenment is when the mind, the body and the spirit are on one accord. When we learn and begin acting on what we know, maybe then we will see Africans gathering and moving on a unified front to either destroy the control of their enemy or the enemy itself.
     
  4. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Excellent post, NNQueen...you always speak truth to power... :cool:


    :heart:
     
  5. vj57

    vj57 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I greatly appreciate my father, who is in his 80th year. The man did not get as far as 4th grade but he was MAN enough to support a wife and children.

    I've watched other men of his generation, the hardships they put up with. I grew up in the 60s and 70s where black families may not have had it easy, but they had each other. At one time we lived in a four-room house with no indoor plumbing. My dad was content to stay in those conditions and I was getting angry that other black families were progressing (getting homes with indoor bathrooms and running water).

    I used to be ashamed of my uneducated dad. But it took some years for me to wise up and realize that the man did the best he could. As a matter of fact, I saw sacrifices he made for me personally. The fact that the man worked a full time job and after getting home from work, drove a 100 mile round trip DAILY...let me say that again, DAILY for TWO WEEKS to visit a hospitalized teenager (ME).

    We have parents today who could care less. Some don't even attend their kids high school graduation!
    My grandmother (maternal) was abandoned by her husband and raised her children alone. My paternal grandparents raised my dad under harsh conditions, but they DID it!

    I'm very grateful to those who arrived before me. They had to deal with "whites only" establishments. And had to call those white folks "Mr. and Mrs." while they called them "boy" or "gal". Let me tell you...my late mother cussed a white man out for referring to me as "gal". You see, she didn't cower to them.

    They had to suffer those indignities and we don't have to today. Thank God for my ancestors!
     
  6. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Awsome.

    For those sistahs and brothas that have embraced nothingness, may your shadow and soul be unteathered.

    Ashe
     
  7. toylin

    toylin Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    As a child of the Reagan years, with parents who were teenagers during the Civil Rights Movement, I grew up in a household where not only education was emphasized, but also the importance of having some sort of trade or skill. My ,mother was part of the bussed (bust?) group that intergrated her high school. Both of my grandfathers were Pullman Porters on the railroad. I grew up with a sense of pride in my race and heritage. I used to look at other kids in the neighborhood, and wonder what memo they missed.

    I remember making a comment in high school.. We were on a school field trip, and it was a nice day (we were outside) but in the shade, it was COLD. I said something like, we're from africa, that's why we need heat....... I got a long silence, a bunch of stupid looks, and then the reply : I ain't from Africa. I'm from Detroit......... Right.

    Anyway, sometimes i feel like I'm in the wrong time. I wish I could have been there, next to my grandparents when they were "colored."....... And, why do people think we've made so much progress now that we're"Black?" We had many, many more accomplishments under our collective belts when we were "colored."
     
  8. carlhurd

    carlhurd Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This is a great post. I really feel that watching too much television has made many of our people brain dead. I think this is one of the reasons why we have so much trouble as a people. We continue to look at images and hear sounds from shows that either do not betray us well or do not have enough of us in the shows. Really look at the violence the dis-respect, and dis- regard for human life. It is good to reflect on our ancestors and be serious about it. We need to learn to live the best we can and not settle for less because many have given ther blood ,sweat ,tears and lives for us who are here today. Question is can we keep it up, for those of us with children we should teach children.

    “Even in the 1990s, with all the new channels, Black viewers still felt there wasn't a diversity of African American TV characters and situations.Yet Black viewers kept watching. And more often than not, most still seemed to have a show they were devoted to.”
    http://www.januarymagazine.com/features/primetimeblues.html


    http://www.blackfeedback.com
     
  9. dadachango69

    dadachango69 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Change the World, Strong Young Soldier... it only takes one to start the domino effect.
     
  10. QbanMami

    QbanMami Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    :love: Well put, hermano!! You said everything in a nutshell!! Ache to you!
     
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