Thursday, May 30, 2024

Thanks For Being Black…

November 25, 2008 by  
Filed under News, Weekly Columns

( Another Thanksgiving.

I love the food and the fabricated reason for a gathering of loved ones.

I love the time away from work and away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life even though I don’t necessarily love this nation. Although I am open to loving America, now that it has finally elected a Black man to the highest office in the land.

Now, I just have to see how far that will take us.

In the meantime, I won’t be sending up any thanks to God for the dirty pirates who ransacked this land from the Native Americans; nor for them stealing my people from Africa and using us to build a nation for free and then disrespecting us during and after nation-building, treating us far less than human.

But I will send up thanks to my God for the simple fact that I am Black.

People of all races love many things about being Black, and they take those things, trying to make them their own, while too many of us look at ourselves with disdain. I believe that Black people need to change our minds about us and begin to embrace the things that are uniquely Black. We have to love those things, while loving ourselves.

Black people in America are a special and wonderful blend of horrible oppression, faith, hope, creativity, spirituality and unresolved issues. No matter how bad things are, we still have what it takes to make it better.

Haven’t we always?

Yes, and I love that about us.

For all the problems, the ups and downs of being part of the most challenged race on the planet, there is nothing more beautiful than walking, talking and dancing in the sun as Black people. We are the party and everyone wants to attend. It’s time for us to celebrate.

In another Black Top Ten List, I’d like to celebrate the things that are to be loved about being Black.

Top Ten Things To Love About Being Black:

Melanin. The sun loves us. Melanin protects us from the harmful UV rays and when we absorb them, we are in tune and in time with the earth’s rotation and the rhythm of the universe. Plus, God gave us our own rainbow in the shades of Africans, from light-bright and damn-near white to Blue-Black and every shade in between. God is an artist and we are the canvas.

Rhythm, baby. Show me a person who says: “Blacks have natural rhythm” as a putdown and I will show you someone who is jealous because they can’t find the beat. Dance like no one is watching…

Resilience, brothers and sisters. There is no other group of people who has the ugly history carried by Black people in America, and yet, we still exist and find a way to party as well as carry on through ugly conditions, making it look beautiful. Maya Angelou said it best: “And still I rise…”

The Black female physique. Females of other races go through hell and high water, surgery and the risk of cancer in the sun just to imitate what God gave my sisters naturally–lips and hips, skin and hair, rhythm in the talk and walk and sex appeal as deep as Atlantis. Yes, I’m a girl watcher. Here comes one now…

The Black man’s walk. It took years of watching my older brothers and cousins before I could walk the walk of a man that still has all eyes on me when I walk into a room. Eventually, it just came to me naturally. There’s a rhythmic swagger of confidence that belongs to my brothers and I and no matter how hard you work to imitate it, you can’t walk it like we can.

Black hair. Dreads, braids and fades are just different and artistic on natural Black hair, and even when the sisters lay their hair down with heat or chemicals, it’s still a beautiful and different thing, because no one can rock relaxed hair like Black women. And no one can rock a bald head like a Black man. Am I rockin’ it, baby?

Resourcefulness. We took the waste products that were tossed to us and made them taste like the food of the Gods. Chitterlings are now a delicacy in France and you can’t keep white folks out of Soul Food restaurants where grits and greens are done just right. And, many of us have stories of a Black mother who stretched nothing out to make it seem like something that a house full of kids could enjoy and have fond memories about for years.

Black mothers. Stretching food is nothing compared to the feat of stretching love and making Christmas or a birthday special without one store-bought gift. The original mother of the universe stretched her arms and provided love and comfort for an entire race, even when we don’t feel deserving of love. Why do you think Black kids are the most protective of their mothers?

Black dances. Okay, I will brag about the stepping that has emerged from my hometown of Chicago to become a national craze, but not without also bragging about dances from tap to the Boogaloo and Funky chicken to the Wop and the Pop Yo’ Collar. Dance mechanically by the numbers if you want to, but Britney Spears is still regurgitating old half-warmed Janet Jackson moves from the 1980’s and it ain’t half as fly.

Black creativity. Take away school music programs and give us old record collections from previous generations and only Black people could create an entirely new musical style based on our natural rhythms and rhymes. Popular rap music may be mostly ignorant in it’s content, but the beats are still bangin’ and the underground is developing new lyrical styles and content. Who’s fresh? African descendants in America, G! Don’t front, you know we got you open.

Now, there are at least ten reasons to celebrate being you. Add to the list on your own. Keep them near and dear to your heart whenever anyone tries to say we are anything but a beautiful people. We may not wear the t-shirts anymore, but I still love being Black!

Along with turkey, dressing and the gathering of family and friends, let us give thanks to the Almighty for blessing us with being Black.

Written By Darryl James

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