TED Conversations

Rocky Michelle

This conversation is closed.

Has desegregation been a help or hurt to people of color, specifically the African American community?

Some people believe that desegregation has helped to advance the African American community, while others believe that it has gradually began to deplete the culture and sense of community brought over from African during the diaspora. My challenge for us as global citizens is to maturely discuss issues with race and ways that we can progress forward for the betterment of humankind. Also, I wanted to courageously share with you a topic that comes up in African American conversations. My knowledge is limited to the African American community, but this conversation is open to all who share a similar experience.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Nov 14 2012: Hi Racheal...nice to see you again on TED:>)

    It seems like this question is best answered by African Americans, and you invited all of us who may have shared a similar conversation to join in, so here I am!

    I have had this conversation with African American friends, as well as African friends...those recently coming to the US from Africa by choice. The conversations we've shared, seem to indicate a division between these groups. I'm curious to know if that is your perception? The basis for the division seems to be that Africans feel more of an identity because they know their family... their heritage... their roots. Whereas, African Americans, because of the circumstances, have lost those connections, and have been assimilated into white culture...you use the term "watered down" in this thread. Malcolm X also used that term, and addressed the same concern many years ago.

    Unfortunately, those who believe they are superior, often try to change others, because they believe everything about them is "superior", so why wouldn't EVERYONE want to be just like them? This may be part of the reason that African Americans feel they have lost their culture...because recognizing and holding onto their culture was not encouraged?

    I believe we can progress forward for the betterment of humankind by recognizing, respecting, appreciating and encouraging various cultures. I live in a state that has been predominantly "white" until a resettlement program began here 20-30 years ago. We are now becoming much more diverse, and many people are involved with the different ethnic groups now sharing this community. There are often cultural festivals, different cultual activities and events, which are sponsored by local people, and municipalities. This is a very small state, and in the big picture, what is happening here is a very small effort. We all need to participate in this process, if we truly want to move forward as a global community.
    • thumb
      Nov 15 2012: Hello Colleen! I do believe that there is a disconnect between Africans and African Americans. Some Africans, certainly not all, look down upon many African Americans because of their slave ancestors. Unwillingly, many African Americans lost culture and tribal affliations due to slavery. Some African Americans long to know who are their African tribal ancestors. I have even had people to tell me that they "pray" for their last name; similar to how Malcolm X used "X" because he rejected his "slave" last name of Little. Many of the Africans that came to the Americas during the slave trade were tribal prisoners of war. Slaves were being traded by tribes for goods offered by they Europeans. I think part of understanding the disconnect is in understanding the part that tribes played in the slave trade. That's the part many people don't talk about but it is fundamental.

      Despite is all, I am just tired of racism, whether it is internal or external to one's "race". It's time to progress. Humankind is so beautiful. I am grateful for the advances in (T)echnology that allow such (E)ntertaining and engaging discussions which could possibly have an imprint on the future (D)esign of society.
      • thumb
        Nov 15 2012: Hello again Racheal!
        I got that impression...that some Africans look down upon many African Americans because of their slave ancestors, and also because they were assimilated into the white culture? Malcolm X, in his autobiography, spoke about being embarrassed because his skin was the "lightest" of all the children in his family. For him, that seemed to be an indication that he was more "watered down", and had lost more of his African roots.

        I am aware that many who came as slaves were prisoners of tribal wars, and sold or traded to the slave traders. Many of their own people sold and traded them into slavery, which must be an unbelievable burden to carry. I didn't know that when I was young, and only found out by having conversations with Africans, African Americans and reading a lot about it. I agree that understanding the disconnect is in understanding the history, which many people do not talk about and are not aware of. I hear people sometimes saying something like....slavery was history....get over it....move on. The true circumstances are very difficult to "get over".

        Some folks fail to connect with the people who are the "players" in the history which is important to understand. I am tired of racism too Racheal, and I believe people are denying themselves a great gift by hanging onto racism. Humankind can indeed be beautiful, when we respect, appreciate and accept each other for who and what we are. It is sometimes helpful to know where we came from to understand where we are going, and if people do not understand the whole story of how/why Africans were brought to this country as slaves, they do not fully understand all the dynamics of what African Americans may be experiencing. I cannot even imagine, how it must feel, to know that their ancestors were here as slaves because they were often betrayed by their own people.
        Do you think that part of the disconnect for Africans may be guilt or shame for selling or trading their own people into slavery?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.