Black People vs. African Heritage
“If you know your history, then you will know where you coming from!” These words are excerpts from Bob Marley`s buffalo soldier! So what is this history and where are we coming from? Before i go ahead with this blog, i need to remind you my dear reader that this is a very broad topic, so i will make it as straight to the point with as minimum gobbledygook as possible.
The term African Heritage literally means African roots. This definition has little to do with skin color,language, socio-economic factors, political status, present location and so on.It actually relates to the tracing of the lineage all the way back to where it originally stems from(in this case Africa).
The term Black Person is more like an umbrella term which, unfortunate, is not as straight forward as it seems. I will break this down as clearly,succinctly and briefly as possible below. Do bear with me since i cannot afford to give room for general assumptions and as aforementioned at the beginning of this blog, i cannot cover every angle of this humongous topic.However, i will touch the areas that relate to this discussion. (Image courtesy of Roblespepe)
NEGRO: Shortened Spanish word for Negroid which was a racial classification term used to describe people of the sub-saharan heritage. This word is considered derogatory in most quarters, but is still being used by african people in a historical context.
BLACK : This term actually refers to person/s of african ancestral origin and is a racial classification term used to distinguish person/s of dark-skinned phenotype relative to people of other racial groups. This term has a long service in social, political, and everyday life and is used to denote African ancestry.
AFRICAN : This is a broad term that was first used by the Romans “Africa Terra” which means land of the Afri(Afer Singular) to represent Northern Africa back then(Tunisia today). The term African is a broad term which is not necessarily used by people indigenous to the continent itself, but more of a prefered prefix to distinguish people of African ancestry from each other e.g African American, Afrocarribean.
AFRICAN-CARRIBEAN(or AFROCARRIBEAN) : This term is used to describe people of African origin who migrated via the Caribbean islands, and also used to describe people of Black or Caribbean descent.
AFRICAN AMERICAN : This term refers to person/s who self identifies or is identified by others as African-American. This term strictly applies to descendants of people brought into america as slaves from the sub-saharan part of the African continent in the 17th and 19th century and are completely different from people who migrated on their own in the 20th and 21st century.
BRAZILLIAN(PRETO): Afro-Brazilian is a term that is hardly used by black Brazilians with only 10% of them admitting to having African origin,while most stick to Brazilian origin. Brazil had the highest record of Africans shipped during the slave trade era.Records show that 3.5 to 4 million Africans were believed to have been forcefully shipped between 1500 and 1850 more than anywhere else in the world. Unlike in the U.S, there were no Miscegenation Laws in Brazil hence making it a country with the highest number of multiracial population. During the slave era, there was sexual domination in which the white master imposed an unequal relationship with the slave African woman due to his position in the society. This relationship was sexual slavery which obviously resulted in a growth of the PARDA(Multiracial brown) population. Brazil has the highest number of West African and Bantu heritage and the most diverse society than any other country in the world. There are 5 categories of racial classification in brazil namely Preto(Black), Parda(Multiracial Brown), Branco(White),Amarelo(yellow or East Asian), and Indigena(Amerindian)
A lot has changed within these different breakdown of Africans over the centuries but the question is “How far apart are these differences?” I do not think they are so far apart since we can still tell that there are elements of “Africa” in music, fashion, culture, art and so on across these breakdowns irrespective of skin colour, location and history. A random example is the similarity between the Jamaican patois word “Unu or Uno” which means “You all”(Plural) and the Igbo(South-eastern Nigeria,Africa) word “Unu” which means “All of you”(Plural). Such similarities can only be traced back to history and are not coincidental. We also have the odd broken English words that have almost the same meaning (not necessarily pronunciation) as specific words that can be found in some African language vocabulary.
Even though there has been(and are still) grievances based on history with regards to forceful removal of Africans from Africa, fight for rights of Africans etc, we will always carry the prefix “Africa” or “Afro” as a header denoting our identity because that is who we are, and that is who we will always be. We have to revisit history to know who we are.
One love is all we need! Enjoy the hilarious audio attached from Jamaican stand up comedian Miss Lou!
Posted on November 24, 2011, in Diaspora and tagged afri, Africa, Africa terra, African, african american, afrocarribean, amarelo, ancestor, bantu, bob marley, carribean descent, heritage, igbo, indeginious, indigena, lineage, miss Lou, negro, parda, phenotype, preto, sub sahara, west africa. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.