When I was a kid growing up we didn’t have hyphenated citizenship. We were all Americans. We still don’t, for the majority, have hyphenated citizenship. It appears, however, if you are a citizen whose ancestry was based in Africa you are a hyphenated citizen. You are not American, you are an African-American. How many really want to be hyphenated Americans. If an article is written about Joan Chen, Ben Murphy, Jimmy Stewart, Glenn Beck, Rudy Giuliani, etc. they are not given hyphenated citizenship. In fact nothing is usually mentioned about their historic ancestry. But, if an American happens to have an African ancestry they become hyphenated. Isn’t that racist in itself? Doesn’t this create more stratification of the populace?
We recently saw a college age female giving a speech about how she was trilingual. She could speak english, as well as two English based dialects that anyone who was not of African heritage (her fore bearers were brought to America in the 1700’s) or from the “hood” would probably not understand. She felt that she should be able to converse with her college professors, other students, and others in these dialects as her heritage was ripped from her. Most people with her background forget that their heritage wasn’t the only one ripped away. Many of the early European settlers of America did not come over willingly. While it is easy to state that many of African heritage came to America as slaves many of those of European ancestry also came over in a slave type situation. Those who were found guilty of crimes were sent over against their will. Many became “bond” servants (a form of slavery) to get away from repressive situations. And the list goes on.
Those who feel their heritage was ripped from them need to take a look at the history of the country of their ancestors and consider whether they would have been better off if their ancestors had remained. I’m sure that those from many African countries may not have survived to adulthood or their ancestors may have been slaves of another tribe. Those who had ancestors from European countries may have been executed or died of disease or starvation.
So, stop and think what was happening in the world at the time and consider what your family’s fate may have been if your ancestors had continued in their homeland.
Also, those of African heritage need to consider the great history the people of color played in the building of America. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that this history was obliterated by President Wilson, one of the pre-eminent racists of this country. As an example, in the painting of Washington crossing the Delaware there is a black man manning one of the oars. Was he a slave? No. He was a soldier serving under General Washington as were the others in the boat. They probably were of officer rank as the general would have wanted to keep his advisers close. Another is a painting of General Lafayette, who came from France as an advisor to the Army of the Republic, which shows a black man holding the reins of a horse. Most look at that picture and think he was one of the servants assigned to the General. They would be mistaken. He was a high ranking officer in the fledgling army. The heritage was there. It has just been swept under the rug by politicians.