By Gloria Dulan-Wilson
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
This is BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2010, and I freely admit to being an unrepentant Black elitist of the first and highest order.
There are some days that I'm so proud to be Black (with a capital "B" thank you); to be a Black woman of African heritage; the descendant of survivors who knew how to make a way out of no way; and made sure to make a way for me to have a way.
I am proud of the fact that each and every one of us is still standing as a repudiation to the onslaught of racism and tribulations launched (lynched?) aganst us over the past 400 years.
I'm Proud of us for the ground we've gained and the progress we made over these past 60 years as well; and the fact that we move forward more and more each year.
I am proud of being a Black mother who brought three beautiful Black and proud children into the world so that they could in turn bring more Black and proud children into the world and so on and so on.
I'm proud to have had two wonderful Black parents who instilled in us the necessity of being proud of who we are, and knowing and respecting out heritage and history. I am proud of a father who taught me People First, Then Things. And that Black people came before anyone. And a great grand father who defended his land against the KKK and kept it intact for his family.
I'm proud of our rich, beautiful skin tones from the patina of Ebony to the vanilla tones -- all the way through caramel, cocoa, chocolate, peanut butter, bubble gum and tawny in between. Who but us could take the genetic alterations brought about by rape and transform it into such beautiful people. We are the true transformers. (when I was a kid I used to sit and look in the mirror just loving the color of my skin and my brown eyes - totally ego tripping -- always wishing I was darker chocolate like my mother, though - my mom's gorgeous! By the way, my daddy was a fine Black man, too.)
When we Black people get together to party and play our ever soulful, groovy music, we take over the dance floor with a synchopation no choreographer could ever have planned, I feel like I'm in a privileged space.
I am proud of my African DNA. I give that birthplace only to us. (Sorry Leaky, know you made the discovery in the Oduvai Gorge, of Tanzania, but Africa belongs to the BLACK MAN & WOMAN).
I always tease my African brothers and sisters about our residual African heritage. I tell them we can't help it, and it's their fault that we've got all this rhythm in our DNA. I comes out in our pores. Our Caribbean brothers and sisters, the Latino branch of our family, our South American Brothers and sisters have likewise benefitted from our Motherland's DNA. We all exude the rhythm and spirit we inherited from them. They love it. We know we're one!
I'm proud of the magic melanin that keeps us young and beautiful. Good Black don't crack - remember? The Blacker the berry the sweeter the juice. Our men are fine, we women are finer. We don't age or deteriorate, we mature. I mean, have you seen Diana Ross, or Ruby Dee, or Billy Dee Williams, or Harry Belafonte, or Sidney Portier, or my uncle (another fine Black man).
And when we sing -- regardless of whether we're singing a'capella, harmony, jazz, blues, soul, scatting, or gospel and spirituals; we ascend. When we take our African heritage out on those keyboards, drums, congas, saxophones, trumpet -- we are unparalleled.
And when we compete in sports -- we are agile and accurate, poetry in motion.
I am so proud of our beautiful little chocolate drop doll-babies. We need to understand that the term gifted and talented encompasses all our children. Our kids learn to dance in the crib! They can imitate us from day one (so make sure that what you do in front of them is positive and watch your mouth!) They are way ahead of most kids in their abilities and agilities. (My baby daughter, Adiya, could snap her fingers and say her name at 6 months). Most of our kids can read at three if we would just teach them. They are born special, precious, creative, talented and smart. They are supposed to do what they do! It's natural. All our Black kids are gifted and talented -- no exceptions. And I am the world's number one bragging parent. Ask my friends. They keep asking me how many kids I have, because it seems I must have ten -- surely three kids can't be doing that much stuff at one time (still bragging!)
We are the most creative people on the planet: our brains, our minds, our intelligence, our wit, our wisdom, often imitated, never duplicated, (usually confiscated, if you get my drift); we invent; we design, we refine. We conceive, we believe, we achieve; we be masters of rap; we make debating look like childsplay; we see through sham, debunk scam; we are family no matter where we be.
When we do our art, we make colors jump off the canvass. And when I look around at the colors and styles and shapes and sizes and accents; I just love being BLACK!!! I thank God for the privilege and the pleasure of being able to say "Only the strong survive, and we are indeed the fittest -- because no other group has endured what we have, and still stand and walk with a rhythm and a pace that says: "CAN'T TOUCH THIS!" (duh, I told you I was an elitist!)
We have so much to be proud of this Black History Month; and so many who have done so much to pave the way for us to be here: Cinque, Carter G. Woodson, Booker T. Washington, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Langston Hughes, Toussaint L'Overture, Kwame Nkrumah, Nnamde Azikewe, Leopold Sedar Senghor, Sekou Toure, Frederick Douglass, Madame C. J. Walker, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Percy E. Sutton, George Washington Carver, Shirley Chisolm, Denmark Vesey, Harriet Tubman, Marcus Garvey, Paul Robeson, Lena Horne, Billie Holliday, and of course President Barack Hussein Obama, and beautiful First Lady Michelle!!
I could keep going on; but there are also those unsung s/heroes in our neighborhood, family, schools, churches who have kept on keeping on despite it all -- who may not have made headlines, but definitely made a difference. I am ever amazed at the organizations and programs our brothers and sisters formulate in order to help their people. If we linked up and coordinated with each other locally and nationally, we would be in the forefront of resolving our own problems, setting our own standards, developing our own economic base, starting and sustaining our education systems, and becoming genuine Blacks, not imitations of others concepts of who we should be (that was diplomatically put, wasn't it? I'm not anti other races, I'm just pro-us! To that end, though, I am definitely anti-racism).
So celebrate our local heroes, and community leaders who are trying to make a difference (not just TV and video celebs). And make sure you celebrate yourselves and teach your children to do the same. The education, the love and the support we give ourselves and each other must be based on the highest and best "we" that we can be.
Our heritage is so rich, if we could bottle it and sell it we'd all be billionaires! Now that would take care of the reparations issue, wouldn't it?
So HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATE! CELEBRATE! CELEBRATE!
Stay blessed &
ECLECTICALLY BLACK (and Proud)