Hey thank you for the lovely message :)
I am not sure exactly what you are asking so I will answer the two scenarios-
Scenario one is that you are saying that black people in America don’t know about their exact heritage (ie what part of africa etc they were bought from). In the UK, everyone knows if their heritage is Ghanian, Jamaican, Nigerian, Ugandan etc. It is not uncommon for someone to ask “what country are you from” even though you are born here and as are your parents, and you reply with your heritage country “I’m Jamaican” etc. Yes it plays a big part. I was bought up eating Jamaican food listening to Jamaican music and when I went to Jamaica I felt.. Jamaican I guess. You know what village your grandparents grew up in, you know where you are from. Every black person knows. Carribean culture is very different from African culture and the people look different too. Because most carribean and African people didn’t come to the UK via America, the looks are less “diluted” and in the UK I would say I can easily spot the difference between a Nigerian, Ghanian and Caribbean person. It’s something I thought about recently- and I guess there is something a little sad about the fact that African American dont know where they are from, but at the same time black people in America seem to have created their own culture of food, music etc.
The second scenario is that you are saying that black people don’t have a general knowledge about black history because white people took it from them. It’s worth mentioning that William Ellison was a very successful slave owner/planter and had over 60 slaves, and was black. Many years later and with the benefit of the internet, if you’re wondering what key figures lead the the abolishment of slavery you have all that information at your fingertips. I think, simply, that the average young black person, on any given day, simply doesn’t care. They are not looking for the information. My mother had sooo many books about civil rights in our household. I don’t think the onus is on the white community to teach you about your history. Indian people know a lot about their history, traditions and religion etc because the community looks after and educates itself. Of course this does not feature in any school books, but the people have enough interest in it to teach each other, and pass information through families and the community. Asians, Jews, Arabs etc teach themselves, instead of blaming white people for the fact that they are ignorant. I believe in personal responsibility. There are things that you will have problems changing by yourself, but to take control of your self knowledge and education is something that should come from you. You should not need a school teacher to prompt you to know who you are. You could spend one hour a day online reading about black history and within a few months know so much, but in reality most young black people would rather spend that hour a day on tumblr.
Both scenarios covered :)
These types of responses irk me to no fucking end, honestly, so forewarning for a very large mass of being irate and generally not “nice” in this response.
First of all, to say that “Black people in America don’t know anything about their history” is total and complete bullshit. We are taught bits and pieces of our history, generally through a Eurocentric / White supremacist lens, in public education and have to make up for the rest ourselves. However, not everyone has access to that type of information as a lot of history is behind paywalls and institutional restrictions. What information is available through the internet is clearly accessed by at least a small, active part of Black citizens as can be seen through the many racially related blogs, twitters, and YouTubes across the ‘net.
Why this person thought that responding with “Black people owned slaves too” is beyond me. That is a part of our history but to pretend that those facts have more to do with the institution of slavery, its creation, and its impact than the slaver majority (White people) is absolutely ridiculous. Everyone is so quick to bring up these points to “tell the real history” while simultaneously denying the fact that simply put, White people did a ton of shit to set Black people up for failure in the future (eg. the prison industry, the justice system, police forces, etc.) and that is a ‘bigger’ part of history than the smaller amount of Black people who participated in chattel slavery (granted they aren’t excused, those are different discussions).
Stop perpetuating this myth that Black Americans are all uneducated babboons not capable of doing anything unless the White Man(tm) gives us permission. We are not ignorant across the board. We do care about our history. I’m not sure what fuckshit you’ve been smoking, but the last time I checked it is Black Americans who are addressing the issues of Ferguson and are out there protesting and protecting their brothers and sisters; where are all these magically wise Black people from other countries? Black Americans are the ones who responded to the murders of Eric Garner, Taryvon Martin, Renisha McBride, and Mike Brown when it came down to it; Black American celebrities were the ones speaking out on the bullshit being spread by the media. Black Americans are the ones making giant steps in our country to raise us up as a community because that is what we know we have to do.
To expect everyone to be forward-thinking, socially aware, and capable of handling these types of responsibilities 24/7 is absolutely ridiculous and I can guarantee that even in other groups of Black people, or in other races in general, you would never see these types of claims being made (“oh well not every Black British person talks about racial issues, they must be ignorant and not care about it!”) but suddenly it’s okay because you’re talking about Black Americans? FOH. We have a very complex history, as most people do, and it’s trute that not everyone knows 100% of the story, but to make a general statement that we don’t care or aren’t aware at all is total, complete, anti-Black bullshit.
We are out here and we are getting our shit together. We’re starting movements and creating discussions. We’re fundraising and supporting our own because nobody else will do it; and unless you’re out here with us you really don’t have a pot to piss in on the topic of what we do and do not do. Mind your own if that’s that case (since we are clearly not what you consider ‘your own’).
PS Tumblr has TONS of Black history and Black news and Black entertainment—I’ve learned more on here in the last 3 months than I ever did in the public schooling system. But keep on acting like social media cannot be a forum for intelligent, academic, and social communication.
You know what blows me? The fact that Afro Caribbean folks are seen as more cultured than Black Americans as if they haven’t been in Jamaica as long as we have been America. Like we didn’t come on the same boat. We don’t know our heritage? I am American, my people (as in the ones that are directly related to me) have been here for over 400 years. I know my heritage.
Just like you know the village/town your grand parents grew up in, I know the town my grand parents grew up in
Caribbean folks saying Black Americans don’t know their heritage and history, is laughable.
Your response just reminds me that you don’t know ish about Black Americans and it’s probably best to not speak on a topic you are not familiar to.