I just got really
angry hurt by the fact that I do not know my ancestral culture. I was thinking of my admiration for cultures, specifically tribal cultures, and I love learning their traditions and ways of interacting, I especially love learning the meaning of the language. I wondered what connection I had to these things. Was it something I lacked and thus sought out? Then came the anger, in a flash it filled my entire body head to toe ready to Hulk SMASH because my people, whoever they were, were long since raped of their culture and given this bullshit American culture where nothing is sacred except the ego. I don’t know where in Africa my family came from. I don’t know any dishes from our tribe. I don’t know the significance of any ceremonies. I don’t know how to say “hello” or “I love you.” *Sigh* I do not have it in me to hate any one person or group for the lack of history my people have. Perhaps that is why we’re so lost. With no anchor, we’re just drifting in the sea of life.
Initially I wanted to write about the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand
As they were the tribe of people I learned about from a movie The Whale Rider that I watched in class this week. Since the class I’ve looked up things about the Māori and already decided that I have to go there to learn. I watched the movie and the children were in school performing traditional Māori dances and songs, and I thought to myself, this must be what Hebrew school is like, why don’t “we” have anything like that?
Who is we?
Why are we even called black? Is it because we don’t know what else to call ourselves?
So we settled on the easiest description.
What does that word mean? What does it hold?
Well, I imagine it holds whatever you think it does, names are just buckets…but so are all words. You fill it up with yourself.
When I say that I’m “Black” what am I putting into the bucket? Do I say it with pride, with distinction, with candor and zeal? Do I believe it to hold a richness, a light, a way? What have I accepted as true about the thing that I call myself? Furthermore, could this be why so many black people don’t want to be “black”? Because of the things they have put in the bucket of meaning? Ghetto, ignorant, uneducated (yes, the two are different), hostile, aggressive, sex-crazed, inferior, and weak. I challenge anyone who finds themselves upset at the thought of being called “a thing” to redefine it for themselves. Make it what you feel and fill your own bucket.
White people saying the word nigger. Does it hurt? If it does, why? Because of the things in the nigger bucket. The lynching, the lashing, the abuse, the rapes, the hoarding of knowledge, the destruction of family, the kidnapping. Those things are in the nigger bucket.
Men calling women bitches. Aggression, anger, indifference towards men, superiority complex, rigid arrogance. That’s in the bitch bucket.
But what else? What could someone call me that would hurt me, lest I’ve accepted their bucket as my own? Exactly.
So fuck yalls buckets, I’ll fill my own.
I always knew I liked the Kraus quote.