By Vernalee
Recently, a celebrity speaking in an interview with Oprah, said, “I am an American. I don’t want to be labeled as an African American” which is of course her personal prerogative. Though Black, her comments were met with a rainbow spectrum of critiques. Then I thought. I generally refer to myself as Black. However, I realize that we as a people have had so many labels, that it depends upon what age group and what originating geographical region from whence the person migrated that may determine the specific nomenclature. First, we were classified as slaves. Then we were Niggas, which was formalized to the stately title of “Colored.” (Of course, the “N” word use is still alive and kicking). Next, we were termed Negroes. During the 1970’s, we were “Black and Proud; Say it loud!” Later, came the term African American to denote our heritage. With so many variations, I hope that my grouping is chronologically accurate. Whew! My almost 90 year old Mother who grew up and lives in Mississippi refers to us as colored folks…still! We are a race of people whose identity and classification have been sprinkled with interpretative labels through the years that our classification is even confusing to us. I know not the answer. I just know that I am a person who was born with and embrace the spirit of Christ that ultimately my deeds will determine what I am called; what I answer to is a different thing!
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