I’ve been asked from time to time if I’m a racist. Even to the point of it being a running joke in the shop I worked in previously. Was it my authentic Kongolese name? My deep dark chocolate skin? My baritone voice with the slight southern slur?
I should start by answering the question the flatly by saying no, i’m not racist. I love all people of all colors, all choices, all struggles. I love all of humanity in they’re own context. I can pass no judgments on anyone based on the color of thier skin. But even in knowing this I must admit, there is a certain affinity I have for the Black peoples around the world. I’m not ashamed of that, and its offensive to me when I hear comments hinting that because I speak of black unity, or black love, black fathers, or black women, that I should include all races when I speak, etc., that I don’t care about humanity on a global scale. That’s so far from the truth.
I love black people with a passion. All shades and ethnicities. And I’m proud to say that. I wasn’t before. When I was young, just by my name alone I was harshly teased. On top of being coal black and skinny, nappy hair and sometimes ashy, I was called “African booty scratcher” or “Kunta Kente.” I was made to feel ashamed of who I am. I was mockingly called a “real African American” because I was born in the US and with 2 Congolese parents. It wasn’t until my teen years that I embraced my Congolese lineage . It wasn’t until adulthood that I realized I in fact, I had a leg up on the black people who mocked me because I actually knew where I came from. I know my place of origin. I am not a “nigger.” I’m Congolese. A nigger’s place of origin is his oppressors mouth, not a land. And a certain part of “us” allowed our history to originate from an oppressor. When I realized this, I felt empowered, but also saddened at the state my people are in. Saddened by the lack of history, of knowledge, of self and origin. Thus spawned my search and mental quest to help as many of my people as I can reach a destination or that place of origin. Not in the sense of a land, but in a mental state. That even though a piece of our history was somewhat erased and reetold in a way that tried to negate what we were before we got to America in chains, our children will know our truth. A mental state where we don’t have to ask for what we want anymore, we have the ambition to start our own. A mental state where the excuse of slavery isn’t an option anymore, but a catalyst to propel us to finish the work that was started in the 60s and early 70s.
I’m not a racist. I’m just biased. I’m comfortable in my blackness. I grew up surrounded by blackness and so its what I know. So I think, speak feel, and see things in a black perspective. I can only give what I know. I explain my topics or discuss discussions or carry on convrersations through my own black perspective. So am I racist because of that? No, just biased. How can one really say they are giving an objective opinion on anything when their answer has to be based off a perspective? One must filter the question through their own mind and give an answer based off what they perceive to be true. But truth varies by person. There are commonly accepted truths, yes like the sky is blue. But what color is the sky to someone who is colorblind or blind altogether? Of course he/she will most likely say blue, but what is blue to them if they have no concept of color? They have no idea….. and neither do you. But I just let my thoughts run…..
Being black has nothing to do with what the media says black is. Its not about being a thug or video vixen, or speaking slang, knowing how to dance, sing, or rap. Its about knowing what you are and being true to it. The rest is history.
Inside Nianda Speaks