In the months leading up to my decision to create this blog, I was deep within my own family history research. One person asked me this question which I answered boldly:
I have analyzed that question countless times. The word race was never one that invoked the kind of feelings like the term I use for my people: family (or heritage). My ancestors come in different colors. I have applied the same efforts in identifying each one. There are some of every shade in my family today. They are mostly lawyers, doctors, judges, teachers, and other professions. They love each other, and they love to serve each other.
My concept of family goes beyond this to include every person of the human family on the face of this earth without regard to color, religion, or ethnicity, but I realize the question asked of me pertained to my being an African American. There is implied an element of surprise or curiosity that I would have some feelings other than shame.
Unfortunately, these experiences are not few or far between, and they serve a purpose for me. Of course, the purpose for me is not to attempt to reason or to try to persuade the heart or mind of another. Paradigm shifts are personal, and challenges will only cause you to be perceived as the one who brings offense.
No, this question has empowered me to work to make sure that the same false precept:
- does not limit the young school boy or girl left unchallenged by a teacher who believes it is not worth the effort to inspire to greater heights.
- does not shame a man or woman into having apathy toward members of the community whose problems could be eased by a kind word or deed.
- does not discourage us from researching, documenting, and preserving our history for future generations.