As far back as I can remember, the first thing I was taught was to be proud of being Black. The word proud wasn’t a denouncing of all other races. Considering, my grandfather was indeed biracial, born to a black mother and mulatto father. I was often reminded by him about the differences of the races and the “one drop blood rule.” This rule was a social and legal principle of racial classification that was historically prominent in the United States asserting that any person with even one ancestor of sub-Saharan-African ancestry (“onedrop” of black blood) is considered black (Negro in historical terms). So at that point he was very instrumental in making me understand how “one drop” of something so powerful could lead another human being to treat you in such indecent manner. He would often express that “one drop” always changed the world and I needed to know the power that was within me to make a change. And never forget your forefathers and the obstacles that they had to go through and their rise to greatness.
This greatness that was taught to me as a child was very important; that regardless of the situation or circumstances you can rise above all things. But, it also was a reminder that no matter how far you come in terms of materialism or education the bottom line is that you are Black, Negro and or African American. And to embrace this is to think of yourself as subservient. Or that “one drop” makes you half human. In my world there is great diversity. Others share their race or culture with me. And I find it absolutely fascinating. Others races have histories of race wars and battles. But when I speak of the oppression of my race then I am muzzled. Or I am met of a “side eye” of “how you dare draw a comparison to us”. And as a young woman that’s when I learned that I needed to be “woke”. I better understand my audience, and the world around me. Sure, the world has changed a lot since my grandfather’s era. Much has been achieved from my race. But I still needed to learn more so I too can pass down the legacy of history to my children. And this includes various conversations of “learning how to survive post “Jim Crow” and “Rodney King.”
Just imagine since the day the first Africans emerged on American soil; they were enslaved. Their work and lives help build the economic foundations of this new nation. Many understand that when something is created and the physical work is exercised in making it great, comes with a sense of pride. So, when President Trump states “we are going to make America great again”. What America he is talking about? Is he talking about giving a race of people their “props” for the ideas, strength and overall courage in living in a land and not being considered a “full human”? As well as still building foundations and inventions that will change the very lives of those that oppress them daily? Or was he speaking to those who brought the Africans here to the new nation and saw dollars and servitude? This is often up for debate and are very good questions to ask. However, these are the very reasons why it’s important to never forget the past no matter how good or bad it may be.
So when Angela Rye coined the expression “We built this joint for free”. I truly understand and moving forward freedom as well as, the first amendment right is what I want.