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Okay sistahs and brothahs I'm in quite a predicament. As you may know, I am very proud of who I am. I am a souljah in the struggle, and I am eager to learn all I can about my ancestors. BUT-...Mama, for some reason or another, doesn't feel the way I do.

I'm not saying she's bourgeois or anything, she's pretty down to earth, although she does cross the line sometimes when it comes to acting differently around white people. She's also the first to cap on a white person in a minute though.

But the main problem is her rejection of her ancestry, which absolutely kills me. She never wants to hear about what I've learned about Africa or other cultures. I watch alot of educational television, esp. National Geographic, and a couple times she came in while I was watching a special on an African tribe and said,

"I don't know what part of Africa my people were from, but it wasn't from there."

She acts so damn ignorant sometimes and I love my Mama don't get me wrong but it's so frustrating! She doesn't even like to be called African American because of the root word 'Africa'!!! I don't know what to do. She buys in to all the stereotypes..."Africa is all about AIDS...They're all cannibals..." She even says she wouldn't go there if someone paid her a million bucks because,

"I wouldn't make it out alive."

Then on the other hand, like I said, she continuously talks about reparations and-

"Guess I'm never getting my 40 acres and a mule."

It's always about the white man did this and the white man did that...how can she be so wishy-washy and westernized?

Can someone PLEASE give me some advice on how to approach the topic with her and make her understand? This is very important to me. I feel so detached from myself and my culture when my own mother denies it.
***************************************************** "There's no original evil left in the world. Everyone's just recycling pain." -Keith Ablow, Projection *****************************************************
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This is a hard one. My best friend is going through a similar situation. I see her frustration and pain when her mother makes ignorant or rude comments about continental African culture, history, and people(sometimes in fromt of our African born friends...talk about embarrassing! Eek). The way she has been dealing with it is to ask her mother questions about why she feels and thinks such things. But it's tuff, her mother isn't one of those people that is comfortable admitting she is wrong, or isn't aware of certain things. I noticed her mother will accept info from me or others quicker than her daughter. Some people don't really like to be educated on certain subjects by their children(cuz of Ego, threat to their parental status in the relationship, and a myriad of other reasons, some just think it is disrespectful), but will accept the same info from an outside source. It all depends on your mom's peronality, and how your delivery style coincides with that. Is she the type to get angry at you for trying to correct or question her? That may cause problems, and as much as you may want to share what you have learned....You can't necessarily force it on someone who doesn't want to know. Is she the type that has just been fed bad info on Africa and her/our heritage and can change her views?...The solution to your delemma depends on your level of communication. Have you shared with her how you feel? I wish you luck.
Oshun-

If she is wrong she will admit it to me and apologize. It just seems that on this issue, she is adamant and unchanging on her opinions. I suppose it stems from what she has seen and heard, but also maybe she is ashamed, like she doesn't want to believe in the atrocities that have happened to our people. It's almost as if she wants to distance herself from that part of who she is. Maybe you're right though, if she doesn't listen to me, maybe she'll listen to someone else.
There has to be something deeper than the physical that is stopping your Mom from wanting to know more about her heritage. Maybe that's where you should begin, find out exactly what it is that's holding her back from embracing what lies within her. From there you may be able to answer a few other questions and then possibly get her to understand your perspective and your reason for learning more about where we are originally from.
Granted, we have experienced some atrocities, yet we have also overcome many of those atrocities which contributed to making us the soldiers that we have now become. Maybe it's just a matter of taking her back a little bit, and remindnig her of the great things that we have done rather than all of the negativities that we have encountered.
SistahSouljah:

This behavior was/is very common in people of my generation, and those before. I am of the second generation, in my family, out of chains.
It is mind at war with itself.

Your mother clearly acknowledges her ancestry is African, but just 'not from there'; that place with all the stereotypical behavior there on the screen.

Your title has it right. Her problem is public acknowledgment.

Why not do for her what she can't bring herself to do for you? Acknowledge that you are an American who is African.

OR, an African who is American if you are 'second generation.'

We, as Americans of unknown African ancestry, have a heavy would to our psyche to deal with. We have been taught that who we are is such a low order of humankind that the shame overwhelms us.

It debilitates us, as exhibited by the behavior you describe in your Mom.

I used to tell patronizing Europeans to not feel bad (explain or apologize for) about their racist behavior. I would tell I understand because my mother is among the most prejudiced people I no.

She was. But, she was 'Christian' about it.

PEACE

Jim Chester
Peace and Blessings to all.
I have had this situation presented to me many,many times. I have been told " Baba please speak to my Moms"! I have always refused. It has been my experience that a positive change in your attitude and behavior will go farther than a speech or a history lesson. Your mother sounds like a beautiful person so she only wants the best for you. Show her rather than tell her.

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