Black Joy and Glory

Crystallee, age 11. A happy Black girl.

Newsflash. I’m pretty Black, as in I’m culturally grounded and I love my people. We are a beautiful, magnificent people and if I had a choice, I would choose this any time. My entire life is dedicated to uplifting my people, and this is something I will never back down from or compromise. I am who I am. 
In my reading, reflections, and meditations recently it has become increasingly apparent that too many people do not know that it is a beautiful experience to be Black. Being Black is not a disability. We are not a minority.
Being who we are is not all police shootings, racism and pain. Living in America is not all pain and conflict. All of my encounters with non Black people are not contentious. But if we ground our identities in our history of slavery, if we measure ourselves by other peoples standards, if we continue to center our whole lives around externalities, then we will never unlock the beauty inside us. I mean this in a broader sense culturally, but it is equally true when applied to individuals. 
If you are in a relationship with someone who has never valued you as an equal, and only ever seen you for what they could extract from you, then you will never know your own value to yourself. In fact, you will continue to see yourself as deficient and a deficit, because you never knew your own worth. I’m convinced that this is part of our psychosis here. We have been conditioned to rely on white people and the state for everything, and almost completely forgotten who we were before we got here. We marvel at the efficiency and genius of our continental and Caribbean brothers and sisters, as if we are not the same people. 
The value of Black men and women has been reduced to prison labor, entertainment, sports and sexual objectification. Black children have no value and are expendable. We hurry our Black girls to develop so that we can sexualize and abuse them. Black boys are actually a dangerous threat. Our young people have no value. They are not children, and have no worth as such. Black children are invisible.

That is a slave mentality, taught to us and ruthlessly enforced on every level of society. Balanced against the beauty and perfection of white people, we are not really even human, are we? This devilish, faulty thinking is a part of the American identity. It is in our collective conscious. 
To break it down further, if we do not stop measuring ourselves by this false and faulty standard that has been imposed on us by our old slavemasters, then we will never know our own value as a people. To be truly free, we must know who we are, not in relationship to white people, not in relationship to America, but who we are essentially. What are the core values of African people? What does it mean to be a daughter or son of Africa? 
One basic thing is that we are a communal people. “I Am Because We Are. We are Because I Am”/Ubuntu is a core value of our people worldwide. We respect and treasure our elders, especially our mothers and our children are our treasures. Our sacred life is not separate from any other aspect of our existence. Our relationship to our Creator is not relegated to one day of the week, but is part of every second of our lives. These values are not widely shared here in America, and are eroding worldwide as capitalism and western thought becomes more and more pervasive. 
Knowledge of self is essential. Get you some. Life will be better.