“Obama: Ntoto – The Identity Question!!!”

Wow…
Is this some exciting stuff or what???
Check it…
The voice of Ntoto and the identity question.

At some point in everyone’s life the question of identity comes up… This is the time an individual discovers their unique features, characteristics, and behavior.

Then comes the question, “Why???”

For other cultures, the answer to this question is normally very easy to ascertain. Their history and heritage, except for possibly a few civil and/or social conflicts, is undisrupted and their origin is the land in which they inhabit. But (big black but in the room) for the African American, this is not the situation.

When we face the identity question, the question of our origin, and our existence are not so easy for us to ascertain. We must look through and beyond our shattered past on this continent as slaves. We must look through and beyond the scars of confusion, deprivation, and dislocation of our ancestors as they were transplanted from their place of origin to then a cold dark land called America. We must also look through and beyond a blood stained Atlantic “middle passage” and blood stained rivers and beaches of the Ivory Coast to a time when a people of color lived as civilized free people with a rich heritage. Only from this view point can we begin to give an accurate answer to the identity question.

By encompassing all we have gone through as a people for the last one thousand years, are we able to adequately give credibility to our present day existence.
Most people never receive a satisfactory answer to the question “why,” therefore inaccurate or limited information is passed down from generation to generation. As a result, the identity question remains a question mark (?) in our culturally conscious minds.

Why is the identity question so important for our culture? First of all, it gives closure to our shattered past. Without closure, we will always be nomads in any land we inhabit (as are the gypsies of Europe). Even though we know the story of slavery and how some people driven by greed and power; captured, tortured, and transplanted an entire culture of people to this land we now call America. We must continue to look for that “missing link,” that single thing that connects us to our roots, and give us a real sense of who we “really” are.

This “missing link” has caused several problems that exist in our community today. The break down of the African American family, anti-trust in our communities, and an influx of crime among our youth. These problems are in direct relations to the “missing link” of our heritage. This disparity was observed by a slave owner in the early 1700 by the name of Willie Lynch. Lynch used our lack of heritage and differences to control our entire culture for more than two and half centuries. Today, we are still experiencing the residual effects of the Willie Lynch syndrome – – divide and control. Lynch knew that if he could get us to look at our differences, instead of our likenesses, then we would always be a dysfunctional community of individuals always competing with each other. Without a community of like mindedness, there would be no unity\; without unity, there would be no power; and without power, we would always be dependent on others for our sense of identity and existence instead of looking at the wealth of identity among ourselves.

Secondly, answering the identity question promotes self-esteem and self respect. It give meaning to the way we are perceived in this society as a people, a perception filled with innuendoes, fallacies, and untruths. Answering the identity question explains how a people of color oppressed for over four hundred years overcomes and excels to international acclaim in a faction of the time. Acclaimed for statesmanship, stewardship, scholarship, craftsmanship, and entrepreneur ship; not to mention sportsmanship. I demonstrates our right to be a proud people. To be proud of our ancestors, our struggles and our accomplishments. It exposes the truth that regardless of the considerable amount of inhumanity perpetrated against us, we have progressed to an extraordinary place of ascendancy. One could say we have come a long way baby, but it is in no comparison to the level of accomplishments that could have been achieved if left alone in the place of our birth. But, we must not ignore God’s mighty hand at work in our lives. Therefore, our present existence is no surprise, only an example of God’s tender mercies, everlasting grace, and eternal love for his people of color.

We must come full circle (from “Nile Valley contributions to Civilization pg. 29). History is a clock that we use to tell our “cultural time of day.” It is also a compass that we use to find ourselves on the map of “human geography.” The role of history is to tell a people where they have been, where they are, and most importantly, where they still must go.

“Obama: Ntoto – The Identity Question!!!”

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