Black History: Reclaiming lost identity

Gaining insight into our past through healing and rebuilding

Racism is responsible for a lot of atrocities committed in the world but one unusual thing about it that keeps me awake at night is how denigrating it can be psychologically to those of us on its receiving end. Not only does it have the power to erase any kind of knowledge about us prior to its inception but apparently also a troubling capacity to keep an entire race in pitch darkness.

You see, having a sense of what our past used to be like can be very fulfilling and invaluable when it comes to putting our lives into perspective, understanding our present and in discerning the right path for our future.

History is capable of painting vivid pictures of great human civilizations and achievements which can be used in analyzing changes and continuities by determining how certain successes and failures affect our political institutions, values and societal well-being as people.

By so doing we gain a lot of critical insight into the full wealth of human experiences vital in forging one of the most important thing in life, a proud solid identity. Who we were, what we did and how we did it determines how we view ourselves and to a great extent how other people treat us. It distinguishes our cultures and decides our place in society without need of undermining others.

An identity sets forth the desire to train our kids in the knowledge of those who came before us and what they accomplished so they too can feel motivated to progress in life and pass down wisdom to their offspring creating a very vital cycle necessary for survival.

But what happens when we don’t have an identity or rather what happens when our history is taken away and given to others? The answer to this question is very simple and somewhat bleak, we become nobodies!

As a result, we get little to no respect at all and have no say in anything important in the world eventually ending up losing the entire meaning of life itself as the bright light that once shone through our achievements dwindles away to nothing.

This raises the second most important question; do we then settle, find peace and tranquility in being labeled nobodies or do we set out on a life changing mission to emancipate our minds for the benefits of those who are to come after us?

Needless to say I believe with absolute certainty our unanimous answer would be to restore our identity it being the moral thing to do. Nevertheless, it is important that we understand despite this being the best choice, it is by far the hardest most painful route to take and definitely not for the faint at heart mostly because it is marred with a lot of frustrations and backlash.

Daring to go against the accepted school of thought is not an easy task as it involves challenging world renowned scholars who are paradoxically responsible for obscuring and altering certain achievements that would otherwise impact positively on our identity.

And yes! It is to my astonishment too and disbelief that scholars who we would usually entrust our eager and malleable minds to and expect that in all their scholarly might could at least have a better grip on integrity when dealing with history, are unfortunately the same people who end up stirring unnecessary conflicts leading to disunity and instability in the world.

However, in as much as we have been through a lot because of such careless actions from a few people with disillusioned ideologies, and even though some of us still go through horrifying ordeals on a daily basis that are reminiscent of marginalized kind of lifestyles, let us not allow our current situations or emotions to get the best of us lest we become the oppressors and consciously repeat history.

Caution should be taken to avoid running down any people who we would generally feel the need to isolate or shut down simply because of how they look despite their progressive input in this matter. We should rise above the hate no matter how hard it is and strive to be objective and factual when reconstructing history.

Furthermore we should show a sense of appreciation to those who go out of their way to firmly stand with us through the blood, sweat and tears dedicating their lives to the restoration of our identity regardless of their race, creed or gender.

It is high time we unite and come together to challenge the norm keeping in mind that popular does not necessarily denote factual same as legal does not mean right. In all our endeavors to restore our identity let us be forward looking and learn to humbly accept honest critiques from others who have our best interest at heart.

When we do this we give ourselves a chance to reflect on some of the major problems facing our own community that could be setting us back and portraying a negative image of us.

It would be an injustice to ignore our own short comings and fail to take responsibility when things go wrong yet point fingers to others and blame them for all our problems. Remember nobody is perfect and there are so many things that are within our reach and control that we can choose to correct by first acknowledging that they exist.

More from Mark Odecho

A writer with a passion for stories on people of African Descent.

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Mark Odecho

Mark Odecho

A writer with a passion for stories on people of African Descent.

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