Ashamed of American Black culture today

100_1071Keville Bowen,
Chester, PA.

I’m a Black man of three countries. Born in Trinidad, moved Canada and ended in America. Though I have little memory of Trinidad, my recollection of Canada and America are vastly different. I was only know as a Trini in Toronto and as I gained friends, I referred to them as their family birthplace (Italian, Polish, Indian, etc.) We all where apartment kids and lived in what was the bad section of the city. I grew up loving Rock and Heavy Metal, I watched all shows even the Cosby show and Fat Albert, Eddy Murphy and Whoopi Goldberg. There was no past or deeper meaning to me because their was no White and Black.

The move to America was devastating to me. I finally had a Elementary School I liked, all the girls liked me and the new American girl wanted to date me. Yeah she was white but what’s color? A 12 hour drive later and I was in a school of Black kids that made fun of my “White” accent, shamed me for drawing “White” characters and picked a fight with me because I wasn’t Black enough. The move to a Baptist School didn’t help because I was pulled aside for dating a White girl and not having consent from the church. He (mis)used the book of Ruth to prove that interracial dating was wrong. My mother’s ex boyfriend, also a Black pastor, flipped the switch on me by saying I should be friends with my own “kind.” All the while my mother continued to preach “Be proud of being Black.”

That was hard to hear over and over again, but something clicked. At that time I could only be proud of the shows and music around me. Rap and R&B became the voice of Black culture. Arrested Development and Digable Planets became my teaches, “A Different World” and “Static Shock” became the life I aspired to live in. These where the voices and images I thought was going to change America. The voices that could reach across the divide and bring us together. And they did for a time bring White and Black people closer under music and movies.
So when it changed from “educating all nations” to “let’s sing and dance to make them laugh”, I gave up. Media today is filled with Black musicians acting like rich tugs or hookers, Black movies/shows unwittingly enforcing negative stereotypes, and Black leaders willing to defend the double standards on the N-word and Ho. I lost all hope when I worked as a prison guard and experienced all the abuse from Black inmates that had received when I first moved here 23 years ago.

We could talk about changing the system and having Black leaders all we want, but all of us are influenced and shaped by the media we see. If we don’t change the tone of Black media culture now, then you will never change the dreams of Black children in the future.

Keep the conversation going - comment and discuss with your thoughts

3 Responses to "Ashamed of American Black culture today"
  1. Truth says:

    I am sorry of the treatment you received here.

    What we have going on in the US by US blacks is a culture of self segregation. The hatred of whites by blacks in America manifests itself in many different ways, self segregation is one of them.

    To self segregate blacks deem anything “white” uncool and against the cause, the cause being viewing white people as the enemy.

    • barry irving says:

      SELF SEGREGATION?…don’t be stupid, being African American is about identity with our past and our ancestry so our kids know their heritage.

      …we are not supposed to LOVE WHITE PEOPLE…we should either shun them or keep them at arms length “personally”. The climate of overt Racist expression by White people today is a clue to their flawed thinking.

      You use the Constitution and at the same time you distort it’s values by hiding behind it to make your inflammatory statements and slights in the name of freedom of expression…that is hypocrisy.

      …we don’t need to proclaim whites as uncool…that a trivialization. Every body knows that white are not cool…LOL!

  2. barry irving says:

    …media culture appropriation is a choice… values are learned at home…life is complex..Black people are aLL NOT JUST BLACK PEOPLE…we are a diverse group of ethnicities and mixed ethnicities with differing lifestyles and beliefs. white are the same. Color ID is flawed and if you know your heritage you are at an advantage. When you know who you are, culture and identification are not issues. I am from the Antilles and I don’t have a color or identification history of conflicts…we are western styles people mainly, but we recognize and cherish our African identites and ancestry.

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