When I was in high school, I had a Latina friend. (She taught me how to swim…) Now, I can’t speak Spanish, but one day I said, “Yo soy un Negro.” Translation: I am a Negro. And she stopped me dead in my tracks. She let me know that word, “negro,” bore an awful connotation. She corrected me and told me to use the word, Moreno, that’s a “nicer term” meaning brown skin…
The word Negro, nowadays, strikes an interesting cord with many people. If a White person was to call a Black man a “Negro” right now, it would be interesting to see that Black man’s reaction. Contrary to what is now deemed racially normative, during the 1950s, and before, there was no such thing as an “African American.” The term Black was even used loosely. The predominant terms of the era were Colored, and the prevailing term, Negro. This has been the case the days of the British Colonial era. (Click here to see what Captain John Smith called Black folks back in 1619… Not what you’d expect in a Disney movie, huh?) For most of our existence in this country, we’ve been Negroes.
When we were Negroes, we had a sense of community where we knew that the only way to overcome adversity was to overcome together.
When we were Negroes, we were placed in dilapidated school shacks and given shabby books, but we still produced great inventors, great physicians, great lawyers, great orators, and effective leaders.
When we were Negroes, it was uncommon to find grandparents in their 30s; there were clear generations and the latter had true respect for the former.
When we were Negroes, there was a greater sense of purpose and an unwavering determination to progress to ensure that Negro posterity.
But since we’ve been African Americans, 1 in 9 males between the ages of 20 and 34 are locked up; 1 in 15 over the age of 18 are locked up. 30% of Brothers are likely to serve time before they are 30 years old.
Since we’ve been African Americans, 7 out of 10 of our children are born out of wedlock. “More than half of all Black children live in single-parent household,” where a whopping 91% of those homes are headed by a single mother.
Since we’ve been African Americans, 50% of our young people graduate from high school…50% don’t. 40% of males drop out and of these dropouts, 72% are jobless and are at a higher risk to going to jail…
What will it take to reclaim the mantle of the Negro race? Ever since we’ve been African Americans, it seems like things have gone downhill. What’s your take?
Until the next time…