Grappling with Blackness

People continue to grapple with our blackness — why? I laughed when the article discussed how some argue that because Harris’ parents are Jamaican and Indian, she has no connection to slavery and can’t be African American. Wow, the lack historical knowledge and understanding of the Africa diaspora. Slaves were “seasoned” in the Caribbean before coming to the US.

Real tired of these discussions – Senator Harris is part of the Black community, she is African American, and she is also Indian American. She embraces all of her identities but also realizes that in this country she is and will be perceived as black. It is problematic to have purity tests for Blacks or African Americans. If we all took a DNA test you will realize that most of us are multi-racial, most of us are decendents of immigrants – whether we are 1st, 2nd or further generations.

I was thinking this morning – I am a 2nd generation American. My maternal grandmother was from the island of St. Barts in the French West Indies. My maternal grandfather was born in St. Croix, at that time it was Danish island. My paternal grandmother was born in Grenada in the British West Indies. My paternal grandfather was born in Panama. Based on the “current standard” of “race/ethnicity” neither of my parents would be Black or African American because we have no slave ancestors. Not only do I have slave ancestors – I come from a strong lineage of Africans in West Africa – Ghana, Nigeria and Southern Africa. And yes, like many I also have European ancestry. The majority of my DNA is African. My lived experience is very Black. I grew up on a Black island. So it’s disheartening when I hear anyone question one’s identity. I am 58 – I know who I am and I know my heritage better than anyone on this earth. I am sure Senator Harris at 55 knows her heritage better than anyone else. I trust her knowledge of self over anyone else opining on her identity.

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