Embracing Black culture

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

In a time when ethnic pride is encouraged, why do we find many Blacks shunning their own cultural and traditional values opting to identify more with Eurocentric values and traditions? In some isolated cases you find Blacks appalled at their African roots and claiming no allegiance or association to their forefathers’ ancestral homeland. Due to lack of education and ignorance, they honestly feel no connection and affinity to the continent of their ancestors and cringe at vestiges of African connections such as Black art or African dance.

This aloofness and utter disassociation can be attributed to a Eurocentric driven curriculum starting at a young age and subliminally forged in the minds of all that White values and traditions are the norm. Of course, if subjected to this practice it is understandable that one can feel uncomfortable and even adamant at not accepting different views or experiencing other cultures. But yet you find other ethnic groups that have migrated to the United States who are proud citizens, unapologetically adhering and identifying to the culture and traditions of the homeland of their forefathers. Rarely will you find Irish Americans, Japanese Americans, Italian Americans, Jewish American and others seeking to disassociate their motherland from the American part of their common name.

We are all Americans first but our culture and traditions are the tapestry that bond us and gives us flavor as a diverse nation. This should be shared and explored by all, if possible. Perhaps hundreds of years of a kidnapped people in a country not of their choosing being taught the ways of their oppressors has robbed some Blacks of any sense of knowing or even wanting to acknowledge the practices and traditions of their forefathers. There exist Blacks who embrace the lightness of their skin as affirmation that they are better than their darker brothers and sisters. Such views are only confirmation of what many call a systemic plan to divide Blacks keeping them from coming together and working collectively to empower themselves. This system fears a beautiful people coming together and realizing their potential and greatness, eradicating a submissive and subordinate mentality. It supports the selfish aims of those oppressing Blacks.

The world, not only Blacks, needs to know the traditions and culture of the progenitors of civilization. The world cannot be denied or cheated of the knowledge of the culture and practices of a people synonymous with time. Understanding denied Black culture might help others have a better understanding of their culture.

Black art as well as African dance accompanied with drums is unprecedented in style and originality. True collectors of art gravitate toward Black art for its uniqueness and symbolic significance. African drums and dance are as primordial as time and serve as conduits in communication, storytelling, and ceremonial rituals. African cultural is full of proverbial stories of wisdom as well as spiritual mysticism. Africans are historically known for their strong bonds of family and community—known as a ‘village’ where the youth are molded and parented by all. There also exist a fierce sense of discipline where respect is not just expected but demanded with dire consequences for violators.

Traditional African cuisine is a most sought after delight by connoisseurs of tropical foods. African dishes are rich in flavors consisting of combinations of specially prepared meats and vegetables. Thus you have a wide range of tastes that are pleasing to the palate. Few can prepare dishes involving meats such as goat, beef, chicken and fish comparable to the Africans. These dishes are usually served with some combination of rice or rice and peas.

However, one of the most commendable and unique traditions is in the rich and dazzling African attire, which is definitely in a class of its own. African attire by itself is an art form representing styles and patterns indigenous of different parts of the continent of Africa. You find Nubian attire that is vibrant with rich colors and unprecedented designs. You truly have not experienced a grand affair until you have seen Africans at a formal event, donning their grand regal apparel, creating an ambiance inundated with a magnificence and elegance second to none. One can claim they have experienced the manifestation of true majestic royalty.

African culture and traditions are for the whole world to embrace and enjoy, to better understand and appreciate a beautiful, intelligent, spiritual, creative, and productive people.

Whites (and especially Blacks living in a box not knowing the true contributions of their Black ancestry) are only aware of the Eurocentric ways they have experienced.

Expand your horizons! Don’t cheat yourself by not discovering and embracing a culture that adds an undeniable spice that flavors the world.