"Im a Negro Dammit!! 2
Apparently The Black Commentator Chose to publish our rebut to Dr. Rhymes article which can be read below along with his response in the comments section. As a result I've seen a small spike in traffic to the blog. So thanks to BC for the link.
One of our new readers commented on our McWhorter piece. They said that they agreed with McWhorter "in spirit, if not in letter" contending that, as McWhorter claimed, there are plenty of domestic examples of black achievement. and that as Dr. Rhymes put it ( they quoted him) we have little self pride that the reach for Africa is a grasp at self-esteem.
I'll say this, In my time at Tuskegee and elsewhere I do know of many people who used Black Power politics to prop up damaged self-esteem, so I won't say that it doesn't happen, but to claim that many of us who identify ourselves with other Africans, be they here, there or anywhere, are doing so out of a lack of self-esteem does not make sense. Let me illustrate:
When we go to school we are exposed to the history of the French, English, Romans, Greeks, Italians, Spanish, etc. Why is that? When you see white people who happen to be of Irish descent blowing bagpipes and wearing Kilts are they somehow proping up damaged self-esteem? What about Italians who never stepped foot in Italy but proudly talk of their italian heritage and name thier kids with Italian names and are largely Catholic? Are they proping up some damaged self -esteem? What of Chinese who may never have stepped foot in china, who give their kids Chinese names instead of "American" ones, Who enjoy Chinese food, and have little Buddahs in thier homes? Are they nursing damaged self-esteem?
Of course not, the link to ones past and ones history is natural for humans. The damage that African Americans have is that they were forceably cut off from their cultures. As a result what we have a a very damaged culture. Much of "Southern Cuisine" is in fact slave food. And the worst thing about it is that it is largely not any good for us and is possibly the largest contributor to African-American incidences of Heart Disease, Hypertension, Diabeties, etc.
But let's not even dwell on that, If Italians, Irish, English Chinese, and other hyphenated Americans see no conflict in claiming their past as well as their current, why is it bad for blacks? Why is it a sign of mental weaknes for us to do so? again, why should we be limited to only use the past 400 years of a single geographic location as a means of inspiration and example? Why reject a Phillip Emeagwali for a Ben Carson when you can have them both? Why reject a Cabral for a King when you can have both? Everyday white Americans appropriate the cultural artifacts ( living and dead) from people all over the world, yet we tell our youths to just look in America. That's silly.
But rejection is at the base of McWhorter's arguement whereas the Black Power movement was about acceptance and cooperation. It was a Blackness based on the commonality of our existances and the diversity of our culture. What McWhorter advocates is a blackness of rejection and division. We should know better than this.
Anyway, the commentator failed to answer out final question: How does McWhorter and those of his Ilk deal with people, like me, who are not Christians or Muslim, Do eat African food, among others, practices a specific African religion, and have African names (self designated or given by parents)?