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Look at it this way:
Most white people in America know their ancestry.
Many (far too many) black people in America do not know theirs for certain...and that is a tragedy.
There is no problem with white people being proud of their ancestry, as no one has a problem with Irish (“Top O’ the Mornin’ To Ya, it’s St. Paddy's Day!”), Scottish pride (“They may take our lives, but they’ll never take OUR FREEDOM!”), German pride, Italian pride, Scandinavian, and so on and so on, take your pick. And that is *precisely* the difference. White Americans can already say they're from X, Y or Z group. Black Americans, on the other hand, have a maddeningly more trying time to pinpoint on a world map where exactly in Africa they’re ancestors hailed from. Apart from the seldom black Americans with Caribbean and/or African parentage, the overwhelming majority of black Americans remain culturally lost and ethnically unfounded.
- The majority of black people in America come from a vast population who were forced by whites to abandon their language and their cultural ways,
- And the majority of black people in America come from a population of Africans from multiple cultures who were deliberately "interbred" by whites, obscuring potential heritage links,
- And finally, the majority of black people in America also have genetic links to the white people who "owned" their ancestors due to widespread rape.
When that is your history, what is the heritage you identify with?
And, sometimes more importantly, what will the white culture let you identify with?
A former friend of mine is part Irish. Yet she is black. Her family has kept history. And when she said "Yes, I'm part Irish," white people would look at her as though she had grown two extra heads (Irish people in particular). White people banally (and conveniently) forget that multitudes of white men who enslaved Africans DID, in fact, rape and impregnate the black women they "owned," and that means plenty of black Americans can lay claim to European cultures.
So if someone gets disbelief about one side of their heritage, and their history is lost on the other side... What a person has left is the amazing culture that has sprung up in the absence of heritage. Black culture in America. That is something extraordinary to be proud of.
Saying that you're proud to be Black is a simplified way of saying, even after the countless generations of
- Violence against us
- Kidnapping and enslavement
- Smear campaigns that portray us as unfeeling, ignorant, violent (or docile, depending on the time period), unworthy, and sexually irresponsible
- Books, TV, movies, and commercials that seek to enforce the concepts that we are less important, less attractive, and not as intelligent as our white counterparts
- Documentaries that have been twisted to insinuate that we are the sole people to blame for our own enslavement
- News programs that seek to portray every cop killing as the victim’s fault, even when they were not engaged in any criminal activity at the time
- News programs and movies that constantly focus on the intelligence, the creativity and the sophistication of white criminals vs. only the violence of Black criminals (watch a mob movie, for instance, then watch a gang movie. Hell, even watch a biker gang movie and you'll see a clear difference)
- Having a government that often uses your color as a tool either by pitting people against you to get votes and get laws passed or pandering to you, in a good cop/bad cop fashion, to get your vote or to get laws passed
- Words in our American lexicon that constantly refer to blacks as thugs simply because they have on a hoody or call blacks ghetto because they have a name that sounds black yet call whites unique when they have a name that is off the beaten path but sounds white.
- Dealing with the effects of all of this… White supremacy, white flight, difficulty competing in the job market that has been conditioned to see blacks as inferior, being overlooked for a job because you have a black-sounding name, predatory loans, and the fear of being shot by the cops during a routine stop
- And let's not forget that we face one or more of these things every day
When, after all of that, a Black person can stand tall and proclaim that they are proud to be Black…this is something worthy of admiration and applause. No one is attacking white people's whiteness in this fashion nor is it happening on a daily basis. Being proud to be Black means being able to look past all the lies and propaganda and discover who we are and what we've accomplished AGAINST ALL ODDS.
If a white person were to ask me, “Should I not be proud to be white?” My answer to that, “If you’re proud to be, then of course.” White people have accomplished A LOT in these last several thousand years. I will never dispute that.
However, you got to take the good with the bad. Go past the history books you read in school to get a fuller, wider, and clearer picture. Pull back the rug a little bit and see what is hiding underneath.
If, for nothing else, do it simply because, as they say, “with knowledge comes wisdom.” And nowadays, the world of humankind is in short supply of both.