This is an Open Letter from a Black Man to His Fellow Black People; it is meant to be Read by People of All Colors.
First off, Trayvon Martin did not deserve to die. Eleanor Bumpers did not deserve to die. Amadou Diallo did not deserve to die. Sean Bell did not deserve to die. Patrick Dorismond did not deserve to die. James Byrd, Jr. did not deserve to die. James Craig Anderson did not deserve to die. And there are others, so many others, who absolutely did not deserve to die simply because of the color of their skin. Let us honor them and commit ourselves to raising our collective game by changing the institutions and beliefs responsible for their deaths. The alternative is to surrender to hatred, mindless rage and senseless murder. But again, those are the things that people who give up tend to do, but we, as black people, have a history of not giving up.
Let’s talk about the past, present, and future of Africans in America. Africans came to America either in chains or of their own volition. They came from both scattered tribes and unified kingdoms. They spoke or clicked different languages, they were of wildly different cultures, tribes, and nations, and they wrote using various scripts such as Coptic, Ge’ez, and Vai, but in America they are currently referred to by the one-size-fits-all term of “African-Americans”. Pardon me, but that’s about as accurate as calling Americans of Italian, Irish, and German descent “European-Americans”. Oh, sure, they’re all descended from Europeans, but aren’t the Irish different from the Germans? And aren’t they both different from the Italians? If they’re so different, then how accurate would it be to omit their nationality when referring to their ancestries and heritage? Not very, in my opinion. And that's what this essay is about: accuracy as applied to African-Americans and our future in America.
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