Sunday, April 27, 2008

Going back to our roots

One thing that I've noticed about African Americans is that on the whole, we don't see ourselves as African. Of course we recognize our African ancestry but do we really identify ourselves as Africans in America? I remember as a kid, being called African was an insult! " You African booty scratcher" they would say. So, how proud are we really of being African? It seems that our ignorance to our specific tribes and countries gives us an out, an excuse, to forget our past and establish our own cultural identity as Blacks in America. In fact, very few Black people ever travel to Africa or even want to take the trip.

In middle school I was introduced to a movie called "Sankofa" by my social studies teacher Mrs. Springfield. She is African American and tried to instill in her students a sense of pride about our Heritage, and encouraged us to learn our history which she stressed is more than slavery and the civil rights movement. This independent film addresses African Americans avoidance of our rich yet painful African history. This movie depicts a young woman (in the late 80's/early90's) at a photo shoot on the Ivory Coast, at an old slave trading post (Elmina Castle). It appears that she is enjoying being photographed but she also seems to be spooked by the dark past of this old castle. I don't want to give away too much because I want you all to watch the film. One big hint is that "Sankofa" is an Akan word which means " One must return to the past in order to move forward".

I have posted part 1 of the movie below. It is in sections (pt. 1,2,3). I hope that you enjoy the movie and please comment! When you are finished viewing the first installement go to then in the search engine type in " the movie/sankofa/pt.2".

Ya Basta,

1 comment:

Phil said...

I think there is problem with Africa Pride in America. The root of the problem is that the African-American kids that live in America are only introduced to the media's negative depiction of numerous African Nations. I always argue that history fixes misconceptions and fosters pride. Since they don't know the history, I'm not surprised that kids go around calling each other "African booty scratches". Though I have not yet visited Africa, I have respect the rich Africa history. We definitely have to make that trip to Africa.