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Vickie
Administrator
Posts: 11

Kujichagulia/Self-Determination. In Dr. Karenga's 2011 Kwanza message, he talks about Kujichagulia in terms of our "[assertion] through self-defining and dignity-affirming ways," and through our "[creation] of meaningful achievements and relationships" that we want for ourselves, as individuals.


Another way of looking at Dr. Karenga's message can be through the ancient Kemetic admonition--Know Thyself. The process to "Know Thyself" includes defining who we are and what we want for ourselves. However, we do so based on cultural principles that have meaning to us, not upon dictates of outside entities that do not have our best interest.


However, there are many of our people who try to be other than what God made them, because they think they need to change in order to fit in with the European white culture, e.g. by changing their tone of voice, their facial features, their hair texture, their skin color, their style of dress, even the food they eat. In actuality, neither European whites, nor any other cultures for that matter, have asked us to change any of those things, and often times think it is rather strange that we do. Yes, it is confusing to many of them, something that I observed many years while living in Twin Cities, Minnesota.


But, I have heard many of our people say, while that may be true, they treat us like we are not acceptable, so we change to be like them, so that we can have a chance at being acceptable. But, the real truth is--people--and God the Creator, will always see us as our true self--African. There is a saying, "To thine own self be true." There was a time when I struggled with who I was and who I wanted to be. But, as I studied more academically, grew and developed more as an adult, I realized that being authentic is very important because it is a relevant component to happiness and freedom. I also realize that the African proverb, "I am always becoming," is a truism in self-determination. I have learned that we truly can be "Black and Proud," and have people accept us on our own terms.


Heri Za Kwanza! (Happy Kwanza)

 


--

Wealth and success,

Sista Vickie

Website: KeKeMichel BrandLiving

Email: [email protected]

December 27, 2011 at 5:09 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Rev. Dr. Norma J. Johnson-Patterson
Site Owner
Posts: 6

Thank you for sharing!  Your comments reminds me of why I Love America.  With all of the controversial issues taking place in our country, I feel we are more able than ever before to "Self Define" ourselves.  America continues to be in the forefront in our ability to pave the way for others to do the same.

I believe as Americans we have been the open door for others to follow in the age of Democracy.  We have witnessed a transformation in modern day Egypt, China and other areas around the world where young people, women as well  as those who have risen up to make public their alternative lifestyles.

I feel we are all at a crossroad in self defining ourselves whether it is diversity in racial ethnicity, sexual orientation, cultural identity whether male or female.  I believe as an African American we need to take more freedom with ourselves to be true to ourselves in Self defining who we are in the 21st Century, particularly when we think of our socio-economic future as we move forward in the 21st Century.  We need to begin to look throughout our predominantly African American communities to visualize how we may be able to create opportunities for business start ups, mentorship for our future generations, so that our urban centers across America can be revitalized, bringing wealth back into our Urban America.  We are in the "Age of Entrepreneurship", and now is the time for us to begin to practice "Self Determination" again, as our ancestors and elders demonstrated to us before the Civil Rights era.

I hope as an African American, we can promote Kwanzaa in our communities as much as we do Christmas or other ethnic holidays such as Hannakuk, Chinese New Year, the Latino's I believe the "Day of the Dead", etc.  We as an African American nation must overcome our timid behavior in acknowledging our "cultual heritage".  We seem to be the only "ethnic culture" who are timid to express who we are on the inside.  The Native Americans, Latinos, the various cultural expressions within the European population, Asian, etc., are all freely expressing their special traditions they hold dear to themselves, it is time in my opinion for us to do the same, keeping our cultural self esteem alive for our future generations.  This is why I feel that Black History needs to continue in our schools throughout our communities keeping our future generations in touch as to who they are.  The only history lessons our children have basically learned anything about since the Civil Rights era has been Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  This is all well and good, however, all of the sheroes and heroes that were the forerunners of Dr. King need to be resurrected within our communities to support the creation and healthier esteem among our children, not just among African American children, but all children.  The richness of the African presence wthin America is very important in the ongoing development of an America that embraces all people.  This in my opinion is what keeps Democracy alive, and continue to make America the forefront in living out the American Dream for all people.

 

December 27, 2011 at 10:03 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Vickie
Administrator
Posts: 11

Reverend Patterson, 

You make a very right on point relative to African Americans seeming to be the only ethnic culture who is timid to express their true African self. The real complexity of it is what is called "Shifting." There is this book called Shifting that talks about the dual behavior of African American women used for supposed "survival." But, it tends to errode the authentic self. I used to have that book, when I lived in Minnesota. I am going to get it again. It is tremendous research written by a psychololist and journalist. We know that in Minnesota there is a lot of Shifting going on. Interestingly, those two sistas actually had a seminar in Downtown Minneapolis, which I attended, and ran into that young girl that you worked with at the Y. She was mixed and wore a ponytail. I can not remember her name though.  But, she was there too. It was a pretty packed event, and what is really complex--there were A LOT of White people there to hear about the phenomenon of Shifting.


--

Wealth and success,

Sista Vickie

Website: KeKeMichel BrandLiving

Email: [email protected]

December 30, 2011 at 4:15 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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