There’s so much beauty in diversity; in learning about and appreciating different cultures. I am captivated by the mosaic of all faces, languages and nations. However as an African American woman living in the States, there are times others send hidden signals that I need to stick with my own kind. I wasn’t raised that way. I have a problem with that. And though I have no one in my immediate circle that ignorant or narrow minded; I notice the larger my sphere of influence gets; the more I am expected to choose. Yeah, not the kid. Culture…I love it all.
If you’re not new to Authenticitee Speaks, you know I’m a native New Yorker; born and raised in Brooklyn all my life. In one of my earlier blogs, Barbra, Bob and Black Gospel, I poured my heart out about loving all genres of music. Everything from fellow Brooklyn native, Barbra Streisand to Reggae superstar, Bob Marley. Even at my all African American junior high school in the hood, I was taught Broadway show tunes. It was rough there. Loved the school, really loved the people; but hated the violence that would jump off at times. It was there that I first learned to despise Halloween with an intense passion. The neighborhood “welcome committee” wouldn’t just throw eggs at us; at times the eggs were boiled and the tomatoes that flew across scurrying crowds would have straight pins in them.
Fast forward to my culturally diverse and academically challenging high school. It was there that in addition to Spanish; I was required to take two years of Classical Latin for the Humanities program I was in. I however being an overachiever, took three years of Classical Latin. Well, that’s my way of explaining the second year being…let’s just say, less than stellar. Ah..talk about diversity! It was so well mixed. I loved it there. Hands down, a true representation of Brooklyn NY. Hands down, still one of the best memories of my childhood. Culture…I love it all.
Though the high school itself was a safe haven, violence still found its way around the school. During the winter break of our freshman year in college all of my friends met at the McDonald’s a few blocks away. We were meeting to catch up on old times before going to the Winter Concert at the alma mater we loved so much. At the last minute I was unable to meet them early and decided to go directly to the school. One of my closest classmates never made it to the concert. Tondelayo Nikita Alfred, who shared a limo with me on prom night, was murdered when some (insert explicative here) thought it was a good idea to spray a hail of bullets into a crowded McDonald’s. Two strays hit her chest ending her life yet my life I assure you, has never been the same.
In a day and age of disgusting, and in my opinion, satanically energized racism; its disheartening to see division everywhere. I am a woman who loves my heritage and culture as a proud African American. I adore my people and our varied shades, styles and hues. But I love and appreciate all cultures. I love learning about other points of view. I can’t stand being limited and I feel racism does just that. It divides and limits. You know, if you allow that to permeate your world, its a dangerous disservice to yourself and others. Its amazing to me how many feel that I should only love my own. Its a concept as a woman of faith, that I refuse to embrace.
You know whats funny (not funny)? My African American husband and I have two children together who look different from each other at first glance. My beautiful daughter is fair skin with hazel eyes and when she was younger, I was sorely offended when referred to as her nanny by strangers on several occasions. Two years later I gave birth to a handsome son with dark brown skin and people had comments about that from afar. Chosen by God to raise children in this wicked hour of nearsightedness, we are not in denial. We know that the pervasiveness of evil and the exposure to and of it is prevailing; however so is the love of people like myself. Culture…here’s to those of us who love it all.
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