WHY I LOVE BEING BLACK
During the sixties we used to say, “I’m Black and I’m proud,” but we never said why. I’d like to correct that.
I absolutely LOVE being Black - and I'm not just saying that because it's expected of me. While I have the ultimate respect for the unique character of every race and ethnicity, if I'm reincarnated a thousand times, I want to come back Black each and every one of them.
Being Black in America gives one an education and perspective on life that you can't get anywhere else. That's not widely recognized, because public attention is often focused on the most dysfunctional in the Black community. But contrary to popular belief, that might not be an altogether bad thing, because it allows excellence within the Black community time to incubate, untainted by the public eye. That's what allowed Barack Obama to explode upon the world stage as a fully developed powerhouse, and there are hordes of others just like him who are currently incubating in Black cocoons in suburbs and inner cities all over America.
Another thing that's not widely recognized is that the "soul" of Black people extends far beyond music. What's commonly referred to as "soul" is actually creativity, and as any cognitive scientist will attest, creativity is a primary indicator of advanced intelligence.
Charles Darwin would call "soul" a unique adaptation to adversity, and the most insightful within the Black community recognize it as being much like a sixth sense that reaches the very depths of human understanding. When fully developed, it provides Black people with a unique grasp, empathy, and insight into the human experience. That's why it is so effective in conveying human emotion - so effective, in fact, that "soul" has been confused with emotion itself.
So Black people don't just live life, we experience it. We experience life in the exact same way that we experience music. As a result, we actually feel our environment, with the exact same passion that we feel a lonely bass strutting through the changes of a slow and funky blues. That accounts for our swagger, but our "soul" also accounts for making us far more than swagger alone - a point we must get across to the more frivolous within our community.
You see, the very same swagger and soul that goes into the making of a Ray Charles, a Miles Davis, or Areatha Franklin, under another guise, is also responsible for the power and solemnity of mind of a Colin Powell, Johnnie Cochran, or Michelle and Barack Obama. Thus, the very same soul that allows Black people to excel in music, can also be directed towards physics, politics, philosophy, or engineering. The only reason it's been reflected primarily in music up until now is because music was one of the few activities that Black people were allowed to freely engage in. But the rise of Barack Obama has signaled a change in that regard.
So this is an exciting time for Black people, because we recognize that the world is about to discover what we already know - that there is nothing in the human experience more impressive than watching the development of a Black child, who's been dragged through the pits of Hell and the brutal experience of "American Exceptionalism," emerge on the other side as a well adjusted, uniquely eclectic, resolute, and learned product of his or her environment.
These are society's unsung heroes, and there are many more to come. They've been tested by fire, and they've prevailed. By the time they've reached thirty, they've faced down more adversity than the average American at eighty. So by coming through that unscathed, by definition, makes them special.
So when I come into contact with such people, I may not say it, but my heart whispers, "Thank you for your service." Because, in my heart, I know that these are the people who have been selected by nature and circumstance to blaze the trail of a new reality, and move America forward - and considering America's history, these young people represent the very height of irony.
So watching the collective journeys of these young people have inspired me to recognize that, I too, can take great pride in being the product of adversity, because the lessons of adversity have served to make Black people more, rather than less.
Simply having survived the trauma of being Black in America speaks volumes. It represents an independent source of knowledge, and an unassailable credential - a credential that none of the great institutions of higher learning can possibly provide. And we don't have to rely on sheepskin to attest to those credentials. Due to the tremendous adversity heaped upon us here in America, our beautiful black skin says it all.
So yes, I'm Black, and I'm very, very proud. I'm proud of who I am, and I also take great pride in my history - and that includes slavery and all - because that history, is what made me, me . . . MORE