Questioning and Being Who You Are

By Hakim Abdul-Ali

For today’s article, I’m going to address some grown folk ethnological issues that I feel needs to be discussed about how some of us in “hue-manity” view ourselves and others. So, please take this occasion to read what I’m putting forth with a little bit more than a grain’s worth of formality and thought.

This article is entitled “Questioning and Being Who You Are” because it hopefully confronts a few of the salient issues around what I feel that we should learn about our natural selves. I’d like you to remember that to know one’s self and to love and respect one’s natural being is not a sin of denial nor is it an act of nationalism.

Knowing who you are is a rather simple thing to say, but with so much self-hatreds going around, especially in many parts of ebony America, it’s time to stop kidding ourselves about this pervasively divisive thought pattern. If you’re real to yourself as you continue to read on, you’ll readily have to admit that some of us in the general Afro-American community don’t like who we are for one complicated disguised reason or the other.

In offering this sentiment, I see so many people of color, in my daily worlds of existences, who clearly are lost as to who they are and what their “our-storical” heritage and culture is all about. By being frank and upfront in what I’m saying, it’s not an informal dig at anyone in this country or beyond for doing his or her own thing while trying to look like someone else as is so punctuated in many sectors of today’s Afro communities worldwide.

I consider myself a spiritual brother of color who hates no one, but I know that we all were created individually and collectively to know one another. Hopefully you already know that by now, so I too must never deny how I am naturally created to be and that applies to all ethnic folk of color, even to those souls who may be, and are, lost in abstraction about who they really are.

Again, in my very own so-called African-American culture of today, I regrettably see many of my lost “brothas” and “sistas” who are visibly portraying themselves as other “ethnic cultural wannabes,” acting like bemused and oblivious mannequins. It’s so much of a common menacing circumstance until most of us, who are barely existing in today’s techno-seduced environs, probably don’t and won’t give it a second thought and will never question why.

Sadly, even in this unsuspecting controlled computer age, I wonder why there are so many in the Afro-American family block who, e.g., appear to want to look like and portray others of other ethnic cultures and their mores to the very last justifying moments of their existences without questioning the reasons why. Hmm. I’m questioning that now principally because I view being created naturally and possessing Blackness as being innately beautiful, which matters to me. Does it to you?

I ponder that reality for me, you and others of color because I don’t believe that, if you are of color and are living consciously in the world of today, you may, in your most private moments of disquietude, question why there are so many inattentive “colored” folk who aimlessly want to look like someone else to the point of not knowing who they are. I’m still lost about that nagging and bewildering perplexity about some of us as we scrutinize whether Black Lives Matter in today’s world.

Living in this world is about making choices in so many instances, and that thought extends itself to how some of us view ourselves, including whether we view ourselves as being a part of the global Afrikan Diaspora or not. Once again, if you’re an informed being of color, you know that there are many escapees from the traditional Afrikan awareness mindset who’ll tell you they’re not Black or African anything.

That may downright shameful for me to say that to you, or anyone else in today’s ever tumultuous cauldrons of hidden racisms and political skullduggeries for that matter, but it’s true to the essence of my utterances. The malicious malware seeds of indoctrinated self-hatreds and colonial miseducation from the slave ships of the past to the hardships of modernity are as visible as can be among some of us.

From the insane silliness of trying to lightening one’s essential birth pigmentation to the “be more beautiful” craze that’s so prevalent in many parts of the Caribbean and Afrika to wearing other ethnic cultural folk’s discarded hair to, well, you name it, are just a scant sampling of why some of us are disoriented about our very own ethnicity. If you want further hair proof, check out Chris Rock’s 2009 documentary “Good Hair.”

I love Afrika but I realize that many of her descendants don’t feel that way and are not connected to the Motherland in any shape manner or form, and it’s an unsecured reality. That profane truth hurts, but if you deny the temporal truth about anything, including ourselves, you’ll more than likely give into “his-storical” lies, myths and falsehoods about ourselves with no shame to question, or challenge, those corrupt belief patterns and bygone inaccuracies.

From the erroneousness of thinking that others’ ethnic concepts of beauty standards are what’s attractive and becoming to how we unsoundly feel about the Motherland herself, many in the Afro-American communities, both locally and nationally, need to question and reassess their God Alone own value standards, etc. If they did that, I sense that they would know how they were and are uniquely created by the Most High Alone, and there’s no one like them on the earth. So, be who you are!

With no disrespect to any other created souls, I’m still talking to the many Afro “brothas” and “sistahs” who may have a tendency to forget that there are still many folk in our community who feel that “natural” appearances are taboo in the “I want to look (beautiful) like someone else” world of today. Just to mention the words “be natural” alarms many folk because to them, subliminally speaking, anything naturally Afrikan in appearance and belief is a banned case for non-discussion or is viewed as a closeted topic.

Maybe, and just maybe, that’s because the stains of colonization and disenfranchisement from our Afrikan roots have left many in our country deaf, dumb and blind to our (real) Afrikaness, which is inherent in our very DNAs. That’s why I’m writing this piece about “Questioning and Being Who You Are.”

Think about and in closing, always remember that “Black is Beautiful.” It always has been and always will be. So, also please never, ever forget that “Black Lives Matter,” now and forever. Never question that as we strive for unity. For today, that’s, “As I See It.”

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