Unshackle Your Mind

What is your name? Where are you from? There are a couple major issues in our society in regard to people not having pride with either their name or origins. Your name is literally who you are. Who are you? Your name is connected to your mother and father who are connected to their mother and father going back to the dawn of man. Regardless of how you feel towards your parents, to understand yourself, you need to understand where you come from. Where did your parents come from? Where did their parents come from? So many things are happening in this world and in this universe but on that particular day, in that particular moment, in that particular place . . . the world lined up for the conception to form you. You are the end of a very long story with many different ethnicities and cultures. All of which you shouldn’t be ashamed to be a part of. It is our job as parents to teach our children these things. How can they combat a society of stereotypes if they don’t know any better? Yes we are apparently “free” but that obviously isn’t true. These days you can watch the news and see the evidence for that. Black people, OUR PEOPLE, are getting senselessly murdered on camera without consequence. OUR PEOPLE are getting locked away for crimes without just sentences. We may not have “brands on our bodies” anymore but there are shackles in our minds that prevent us from actually achieving equality; shackles on those minds of those who hold the power and those who are oppressed.

If you are familiar with the book Roots by Alex Haley this was one of the major themes. Roots is a series following the family of Kunta Kinte, a Mandinka man who was taken and brought to America into slavery. He struggled to stay alive and attempted escape many times; one escape attempt resulting in his foot being chopped off. Now some of you are already rolling your eyes about how this is another slave book/movie and we need to get over it. Ignorance is not knowing. How can you know who you are if you do not know where you come from? Kunta refused to forget who he was. He refused to forget his name for that of Toby. When he had a child, he strove to instill in her the knowledge of who she was, where she came from, and to have pride in her Mandinka heritage. He taught her that she wasn’t just another nigger slave living to serve her master. Now as a child, Kizzy, didn’t understand right away. She was born on a plantation and that’s all she knew. She was friends with the masters daughter and didn’t understand at first the difference between them. Children don’t know prejudice or racism, they learn it. After a few incidents she was ashamed of herself. She didn’t understand why she and her lifetime friend didn’t have the same privileges or rights. As she grew older and wiser she began to understand the importance of her heritage. She wasn’t what the white men told her she was, she was Kizzy, daughter of Kunta. She had a purpose on this earth whether it was in her immediate life or for the future lives of her children. So she imparts that knowledge to her son George. George, like Kizzy, didn’t get it at first but when he grows older and wiser, everything clicks together. Then he eventually imparted that knowledge to his children. Have pride in your ancestors.

Your ancestors may not have to have been great generals or people for that matter but they all in some way are a part of you. You are a part of a heritage, culturally and globally. There isn’t any heritage you should feel shameful of. NO SHAME. Don’t be ashamed to be black, Jewish, etc. Many people have been oppressed but they don’t have control of your mind. Don’t let them trick you into feeling shameful about your skin, your hair, YOUR NAME, where you’re from, etc. I came across this video one day and it was enlightening. They took a random group of people and asked them where they were from. Then they did the genealogy of their DNA to compare the results to what they reported. Everyone was WRONG. Some of them thought they were only one ethnicity but of course that was incorrect. NO ONE IS PURE BLOODED ANYTHING. They also asked them to name an ethnicity that was their least favorite. As it turns out, going back in their ancestory somewhere they had links to those ethnicities that they did not like. So in a sense they were bias against their own people without even knowing it. That just goes to show that we all have a lot more in common than we think. If that indeed is the case, it shouldn’t be issues for us to all want equality. Teach your children who they are and where they’re from. That way even though these shackles have been cut, we can begin to remove those mental shackles. Be proud of yourself and your heritage.

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