(With apologies to Stevie Wonder.)
Sylvester Stallone calls himself the Italian stallion--calling attention to his tribe--and no one calls his loyalty to his country or his patriotism into question and no one ridicules him for it. (There’s plenty of other stuff to ridicule Sly for.) But let someone like Oprah Winfrey wish to know what her heritage is or even have a DNA test done to find out (she may be part Zulu) and she’s ridiculed far and wide, from the Al Rantel show to certain popular website.
As most know who read this site often, I’m not one to call racism on a whim, but I wonder about this. Oprah wasn’t guilt-tripping white Americans for slavery or anything; she was just wishing for one of the things that many people have (including me) that her fortune can’t buy: a traceable heritage and the choice to celebrate it or ignore it. Most black Americans never had that choice and we all know the reasons why.
No. No one alive bears the responsibility of American slavery, alright? However, if some black Americans want to find out whether they are Ibo, Mandinka or even Zulu, whose business is it and why call them stupid or question their patriotism? Past slavery and a desire to know one's lost African heritage are separate issues; at least I think they are. And at the risk of alienating some members of my audience and some of my friends, everything that black people say or do is not about white people-done-us-wrong. Black people are told constantly (and rightly) to get over slavery. Well, back at you.
Why do some non-black Americans act threatened when their black countrymen want to congregate peaceably for good purposes or explore their (possible) heritage? What is wrong with either of these?
Disclaimer: if you don't feel this way, don't act like I'm talking to you.
(Thanks to Lucianne.com)
UPDATE: Before casting aspersions--here or in email--about what I "really" think, please read:
UPDATE: Ms. Winfrey said that she wished she had been born in South Africa; nothing about growing up there as far as I know. Let's not misquote the woman.