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Jim you said, "It is not the name. Many African nationals are successful at gaining jobs, good jobs, excellent jobs. And some African Americans as well." Exactly my point in asking the question intended to make a nonsense of the argument that if you do not carry a white name you do not get a good job. WE GET GOOD JOBS WITH OUR AFRICAN NAMES

We have had this problem you are discussing in Africa when our parents under white colonial rule heaped every sort of European name on us to appear civilised to Charlie as you would say. Guess what every WELL educated African today sees it as an insult to carry European names. The same applies to Indians and other Asian colonies who got their emancipation from the white man. We all dumped our white sounding names.

Hopefully your children would catch up.

_____________________________
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quote:
Originally posted by Kevin41:
blaqfist posted,

Nmaginate & Kevin it is not an issue of what other people think about you, the fact that you would even ask that question is testament to your low self-esteem, instilled in you by your slave master (Mr. White).


*bro, you can save that schit.......no one gives a f-k what you, any white or black thinks...period..I was raised as a black man with my fuking head up and its been up all my life....and based on my perspectives and track record, I am as pro-black as they come, period. raised by progressive blacks, educated by progressive blacks and grew up to be a progressive black my dammy. So since you put it like that, a name ain't schit but a shallow azz bullshit connotation of who some mf's really would like to be but don't have the heart or balls to carry themselves forth as such.....so save that schit because never in life have I ever had to feel like less than anyone, white, african, pan-african or whatever in the hell they like to be called......based on helluva normal positive black socialization as a kid, very high acheivement as an adult without ever compromising schit OR having to act a certain way to confirm my blackness as defined by lost negroes ...and unfazed by all of the things that seem to have negroes and whites both confused......and i'm kool with whatever anyone else chooses, but I challenge you or anyone else based on what the hell you consider as "blackness" to ever ever ever take a crack at my self-adequacy as a black man......they will get a new azzhole ripped out of them immediately and on a formal intelligent basis.....its the person that counts.....so looking at the bigger picture.......a name ain't schit....but what they call me by to get my attention.....and one more MF thing.....that shit is a indirect crack at my parents who named me.......and there damn sure isn't shit you or anyone else could say about how they always have and always will carry themselves....remember, they grew up in the midst of social and racial strife your young azz could only imagine and MAYBE couldn't handle........because they damn sure were not bowed-head subjugated negroes who tried to identify with white....or the overdose of ethnicity negroes attach to themselves in search of their own gotdamn identity......you got the wrong azz brother blaqfist....and you theorized a little too
f-king much for your own sake.......


Kevin41 - as always, you cut to the chase and deliver a powerful punch. Thanks!

To be clear, my intentions with my questions/comments about our name were certainly not meant to challenge anyone's blackness or sense of self. More than anything, I was sharing personal struggles that I have on this issue. I absolutely respect everyone's right to decide this in the precise and personal way that makes sense for them. PERIOD.

As with many topics, more than anything, my objective is to provoke thought and to generate interaction about issues that are germane to us. Introspection would seem to be one of the first steps toward enlightenment!

brosmile


There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life
that is less than the one you are capable of living. - Mandela
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quote:
More than anything, I was sharing personal struggles that I have on this issue. I absolutely respect everyone's right to decide this in the precise and personal way that makes sense for them. PERIOD.

MBM, to be sure this is a very personal decision. And unlike Comrade BLAQFIST! I think I can believe you when you say you respect a person's right to choose.

I could have had a Muslim name because I explored becoming a Muslim at one time. (Well, actually if I ran into any Muslims I knew I would still use it.) Anyway, part of why I'm not a Muslim is because that too did not deal with who I feel I am as a Black man with a decided consciousness of my African heritage.

I think most of us can relate on a personal level with this struggle for meaning because we all on some level have dealt with it and even after making a decision may have very well done so with obvious reservations.

My observation though is that adopting the cultural practice of naming when so much of the culture does not foster and fortify other meaningful things... African then you have the phenomenon Blaqfist had to mention.

Gangbangers with African names killing each other.

That's not an indictment on us as a people just on the idea that a name alone shows evidence of culture.
We all dumped our white sounding names. -- henry38

I briefly, very briefly, considered changing my name during the "X" era. But I didn't know enough about it at the time. I knew research was the answer. "X" wasn't the answer for me. An African name wasn't the answer for me. My father was recently passed. My mother was living alone on the other end of the State. The thought of changing my name put such a lump in my throat I felt like I was going to choke. It seem like such an act of denial. Insult to my parents. Of all the things I am, the first is the child of my parents.

If what I am does not recognize and claim what my parents are to me, I am doing something drastically wrong. Of all the things that I am, I am a "Chester" FIRST.

My name does not say I am bearing "Welsh" heritage. My bearing the "Chester" says I am carrying forward the choice made by a man who chose the name for his own, and not the name of his owner. Indeed it wasn't the name of any person who had anyone in our family. Another's choice is another's choice.

Getting back to competing in America's society. If the children of immigrants want to avoid any of the wrath of Americans of unknown African ancestry, as their parents did, they have to hold on to their accent. Without it, they are just another person of unknown African ancestry, a targeted people in America.

My answer is ancestral nationality, and say it loud.

Whatever the effect on "Charlie", it is good for me and mine.

PEACE

Jim Chester

You are who you say you are. Your children are who you say you are.
henry38 posted,

How do you explain Indians and other Asians who hold on their Asian names and still get better jobs than black people?


*Henry38,

Look at racism in america from a macro perspective and you will realize the brunt of it has always been applied to blacks in america. from slavery, jim crow, to modern day aspects of racial profiling, police brutaility, wrongful incarceration, driving while black, redlining, linguistic profiling and so on.....you tell me why, i just observe things from a realistic standpoint.....and before anyone jumps in...no I do not feel sorry for myself nor has it impeded my success overall....but that still does not change reality......maybe there was something in history we did and this is payback......but i'm sorry, no one in america has to carry racial baggage in its many forms like blacks do.
quote:
Originally posted by Kevin41:
henry38 posted,

How do you explain Indians and other Asians who hold on their Asian names and still get better jobs than black people?


*Henry38,

Look at racism in america from a macro perspective and you will realize the brunt of it has always been applied to blacks in america. from slavery, jim crow, to modern day aspects of racial profiling, police brutaility, wrongful incarceration, driving while black, redlining, linguistic profiling and so on.....


The institution of slavery was so barbaric and cruel in the way that it dealt with our people that for America to rationalize its behavior against slaves versus their self-image as good, "God-fearing Christians", they had to think of us as something other than human beings - as animals or some other pieces of chattel. How else could they buy and sell us, kill us, rape us, burn us, lynch us, cut off our limbs, separate us from our families, etc. The vestiges of that "dehumanization" linger today in the various incarnations of racism that persist. This thinking affects no other people in this country.


There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life
that is less than the one you are capable of living. - Mandela
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quote:
The institution of slavery was so barbaric and cruel in the way that it dealt with our people that for America to rationalize its behavior against slaves versus their self-image as good, "God-fearing Christians", they had to think of us as something other than human beings - as animals or some other pieces of chattel. How else could they buy and sell us, kill us, rape us, burn us, lynch us, cut off our limbs, separate us from our families, etc. The vestiges of that "dehumanization" linger today in the various incarnations of racism that persist. This thinking affects no other people in this country.

... Yeah... but that was so long ago and none of you (us) are slaves now. How long does it take to recuperate? Is this another way of asking for a hand-out?

(ducks... "Don't hit me!")

Seriously, why do you suppose that - the full extent of the intergenerational "injury" - isn't acknowledged?

I mean we all know, know of or have heard families that have been historically wealthy at some level or another and are aware of how that wealth is passed on to their children. Matter of fact, to some extent that's the model/goal every American seeks - to amass enough wealth to not only provide for their children but to also be able to pass some of that wealth on to them.

The comparison then is well there's poor Whites and always have been. To me, this ignores how society functions due to the tendency to act as if we are solely talking about individuals or individual families...

Poor Whites are still plugged into wealthy White society in ways poor Blacks are not, IMO. And even poorer White communities have for the most part established and sustained infrastructure. Black communities do not.

In essence, by comparison IMO Black communities are suppose to build from scratch with little or no resource networks established specifically for building infrastructure while the poor White communities have infrastructure and resource networks established for over the years some of which comes from those historically wealthy White families that are the backbone of White communities, IMO.

So I think that it's instructive to talk about how communities, cities and towns function and grow by the wealth of those who have had wealth either of their own, historically for generations, or are able to draw from the established wealth or at least the sustained infrastructure of their respective communities.

*----*----*----*----*----*----*----*----*----*----*----*
S A N K O F A : Return & Fetch It!
Learn from and build on the past. It is not taboo to return and fetch
what you have forgotten. You can always correct what went wrong.
In the past, you find the future and understand the present.
Why stop at just our 'names'? Why aren't we 'fluent' in our ancestors tongues and languages? I hardly ever meet an african american who can speak an actual 'african' language. Isn't speaking 'english' also a means of 'honoring the legacy' of someone who owned our ancestors? What about the clothes we all wear, should we strip ourselves of western 'duds' and put on something more tribal?

What if we decide to take a name and later find that the name represents a tribal chieftan who sold our ancestors into slavery in the first place? What then? Change it again? I know many of us take on arab sounding names, despite arabs selling darker people into slavery even today. Is that honoring a good legacy?

[This message was edited by sergeant on September 20, 2003 at 08:51 AM.]
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quote:
Originally posted by sergeant:
Why stop at just our 'names'? Why aren't we 'fluent' in their ancestors tongues and languages? I hardly ever meet an african american who can speak an actual 'african' language. Isn't speaking 'english' also a means of 'honoring the legacy' of someone who owned our ancestors? What about the clothes we all wear, should we strip ourselves of western 'duds' and put on something more tribal?

What if we decide to take a name and later find that the name represents a tribal chieftan who sold our ancestors into slavery in the first place? What then? Change it again? I know many of us take on arab sounding names, despite arabs selling darker people into slavery even today. Is that honoring a good legacy?


Why doesn't it surprise me that this conversation is beyond you? Roll Eyes


There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life
that is less than the one you are capable of living. - Mandela
as often as I disagree with Seargents posts, isn't he right on this one?

why aren't we learning african languages? and speaking african languages at home but english in school/work like other cultures do?

why aren't we embracing african hairstyles? African food? African ceremonies and rituals?

are we going to stop at just the names?

BTW,
i used to be very proud of my surname b/c it was "very rare name for a black family". Then when I visited new orleans, and a few other places and discovered that the phone books are filled with white people bearing my last name, it dawned on me that it was silly to be proud of a rare white name..... b/c it meant that white family emigrated from France and set up plantations in the south along the mississippi, and promptly began to purchase slaves...despite bastille day and the french so called love for freedom.

So i'm not so proud of my surname anymore, but i am proud of my people, my family, my ancestors.

When I saw roots, as a child, it helped me to understand that a name is very important. not only does it define you for official purposes, but your name affects you spiritually, socially, and mentally... remember when the males of the kinte family would choose a name and hold the baby up to the heavens? that has always had an impact on me.

I have tinkered with the idea of changing my name...

The next challenge is choosing a name......

who do I want to be?
Then please explain for us why YOU yourself 'mbm' carry on this legacy of slavery by KEEPING and cherishing your own 'slavemaster' name? Are you saying you don't agree with me that names aren't the only legacy we carry?

Whats your name mbm? I bet its something 'white' and 'slavemasterish' like Michael, isn't it. Have you forgotten the legacy of slavery then? Aren't you one of those the topic is pointing its finger at? Please explain.
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quote:
Originally posted by sergeant:

Then please explain for us why YOU yourself 'mbm' carry on this legacy of slavery by KEEPING and cherishing your own 'slavemaster' name? Are you saying you don't agree with me that names aren't the only legacy we carry?

Whats your name mbm? I bet its something 'white' and 'slavemasterish' like Michael, isn't it. Have you forgotten the legacy of slavery then? Aren't you one of those the topic is pointing its finger at? Please explain.


Sargeant, I started this thread asking questions about this issue because it is one that has recently come into my consciousness. As I have said repeatedly throughout this thread, this is an issue that is uniquely personal. Everyone has a right to resolve this in whatever way that makes sense to them. The ultimate objective is to raise an issue that deserves thinking peoples' attention.

For your convenience I'll post the initial post below.

quote:
Originally posted by MBM:

Most African Americans have the surname of their former slave owner. Yes, we've had them for hundreds of years. Yes, they are a reflection of our Western identity. Could they also be considered one of the last vestiges of slavery though? _Are we comfortable with, in essence, honoring the legacy of someone that owned us like cattle?_

I don't know what the alternative is, or what a solution might be. I'm not enamored with the "X" system used by Black Muslims (although I agree with the symbolism behind it). Nevertheless, as I posted in another thread, I am troubled by the fact that my personal identity (name, culture, language, religion, etc.) was stripped from me and that I carry the name of my former slave owner.

How do you feel about this? Anyone else resonate with this? Any thoughts about how we deal with it? The prospect of changing one's name is a pretty deep thing, but so is the concept of carrying around the name of your slave master!



Further, I think the following post also addresses some of your questions.


quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
quote:
Originally posted by Nmaginate:

If "carrying around the name of our former slave-masters" is problematic, what do we say to the other things we are carrying that are not of our own people's creation??



Well, as always you raise a very thought provoking question. IMO, I see a difference between living in a Western culture, and participating in American society, versus having the name of the white man who owned me. I don't mind being in America. In fact, I want to be here. I'd just like to do so more under my terms, able to embrace as much of my stolen identity as I can grasp. I feel real ownership of this country. We all should. Even though she treats us like dirt often, we built this place. It certainly wouldn't be the U.S. of A. that it is today had we not been here to make it so. I just wish I could reflect, in my identity, a bit more of my African roots/real heritage - as do all other "immigrants" here with theirs.




There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life
that is less than the one you are capable of living. - Mandela
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I see almost no conflict in what I wrote initially and what you wrote. Are you saying that because we 'agree' on this issue, that the issue is 'beyond' us both?

What exactly did I write that you deemed 'beyond the issue'? What did I write that you disagree with? So far we are pretty much expressing the same thing. I mean, maybe you a little 'come lately', but the issue of names has been around for decades.

Weird.....
sergeant - you're not interested in thoughtfully discussing this issue, or any other here as far as I can tell. Your entire purpose, and self-concept, apparently, is to be contrary and offensively provocative. You need to grow up, get a life, and find someplace where people more akin to your sensibilities exist - because this ain't it.

You're one of those types that takes unique pleasure in having others think of you as an "Asshole". Cool. We just don't have time for you here.


There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life
that is less than the one you are capable of living. - Mandela
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Sorry mbm, but I don't see what I've written that is 'contrary and offensively provocative'.

Is learning African languages 'offensive' to you? Are african fashions 'contrary' to who we are in your opinion?

Wha?????

Lets take a poll. How many of us 'approve' of children learning an actual 'african' language, rather than always just paying superficial lip service to being the 'african' in african american? I vote 'yes', its a beautiful thing to get serious about learning the languages or customs that interest us. You?
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quote:
Originally posted by sergeant:
Why stop at just our 'names'? Why aren't we 'fluent' in our ancestors tongues and languages? I hardly ever meet an african american who can speak an actual 'african' language. Isn't speaking 'english' also a means of 'honoring the legacy' of someone who owned our ancestors? What about the clothes we all wear, should we strip ourselves of western 'duds' and put on something more tribal?

What if we decide to take a name and later find that the name represents a tribal chieftan who sold our ancestors into slavery in the first place? What then? Change it again? I know many of us take on arab sounding names, despite arabs selling darker people into slavery even today. Is that honoring a good legacy?

Poor, poor Sgt.

You just can't stand it can you. You are just in so much need of attention.

First of all, I'm in favor of all of that and above. So you are not challenging me at all. Unless you are fluent in all the languages of all the countries you so proudly claim to have been to then I suggest you stop trippin'.

Let's use a little common sense. How do people learn to be fluent in any language? No.. No.. Tell me how you became fluent in English??

S C H O O L!!! There you go Sgt. Good Answer!
Now tell me... What school would you, Sgt. B. A. Crab, be in favor of teaching Swahili or whatever African language? NONE! Cause you're a CRAB! Oh and also... What are the official languages in African countries? Oh and how about tell us how many languages there are within the African continent.

Seriously, if you seem to think that at no time not one African-American in this country knows an African language or wears African 'garb' then you are beyond either being honest or beyond any real concern or interest in this area and YES your whole purpose whether you're offering legitimate considerations or not is to be spiteful.

About names...
So-called Arab sounding names are religious in nature and are, as BLAQFIST mentioned earlier (about African names), chosen more for their meaning instead of at random.

Note: He/she noted that most Americans with European derived names most likely could not tell you what their names mean or where they are derived from. I will add that American families also stress lesser importance on transmitting the importance of a specific name chosen and emphasizing the meaning as to inspire/encourage adherence to the principle(s) embodied in the given name.

So for Muslim and African names adopted by those who are devoutly committed to their religious/cultural tenets those names have meaning and transmit a loving and inspiring message which have nothing to do with a people or persons in history. English names, however, and surnames in particular - absent the sanctity of chosing them - not only do not transmit some desired meaning but cannot be separated from the history that we are by proximity and birth intimately linked to here.

There's a difference.

If you think that a naming consideration is that superficial then, from my own personal experience/consideration, you are mistaken.

But it's nice to know that you really care SGT. And like always, it's the thought that counts!
quote:
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?


James 2:18-20

I believe that applies here both to the truth of Sgt.'s statements and also to his the nature of truth coming from those who (like Sgt.) have no interest in the truths they speak to as to challenge others.
I don't understand why people are missing the point. MBM says, Nmaginate says, and I say, this is an issue of personal choice. Few things scream out "ME" the way ones name does. You are no slave just because you retain a name of European origin. You are no pro-black crusader just because you adopt an African name.

I do disagree with the whole issue of how the name impacts your job prospects. OR, at least, I disagree with the idea that this should impact ones decision. Especially Kevin41, who's in academe; if there's any field where an African name doesn't matter, it's there (depending on what school and what subject, I guess...) But I really think that if there's a sense of disconnect between a black person and his/her Euro name, and a sense of connection between them and an African name they discover, then that is the point where a name change should happen. But see, the dynamics of this process I just laid out show how personal the decision is. The last thing I'll do is change my name just because Blaqfist thinks it's selling out not to.
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:

But I really think that if there's a sense of disconnect between a black person and his/her Euro name . . .


To be clear, the issue that I raised is not that our names are "Euro", per se. It's a bit more complex than that. There seems to be an extraordinary conflict that we live with. On the one hand we rightly hold positions against the horrors of slavery and discrimination and racism and every other ill that our community has suffered here at the hands of white supremacy. On the other hand though, we essentially honor our slave master (in perpetuity), the primary person who inflicted the greatest harm against us, by carrying his name - and even giving that same name to our children. The tension between those truths is deeply troubling to me.

I'm reminded of the scene in Roots where Kunta Kinte is forced to accept the name Toby. That's an extremely painful scene to me because of what is happening, and also because of all that it represents as well.


There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life
that is less than the one you are capable of living. - Mandela


[This message was edited by MBM on September 21, 2003 at 12:37 PM.]
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Is "blackness" really the issue here? I don't remember anybody saying that unless you reject your "christian/euro" name you are still colonized.

I thought this was about wholeness or perhaps completeness. Isn't this one of the psychological stages of development in all humans? Becoming actualized at the point where what I say I am actually represents Who I am?

Does "Melissa Baker" aptly identify all the elements of a black woman?

Does "John Wilson" represent an african descendent with accuracy and integrity?
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Without regard to how you personally feel about this, let's think about solutions for a moment. The NOI created the "X" surname. Is that the best way to address this?

What other solutions could there be? Generally we don't know the ethnicities of our personal heritage - we don't know language etc. That would seem to make "picking" a name problematic. Or does it? For those that care to, maybe choosing any African name is "better"/more ethnically correct than our current names.

What do you think? What could we do, that would make sense, to utilize our names to more closely embrace our heritage?


There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life
that is less than the one you are capable of living. - Mandela


[This message was edited by MBM on September 22, 2003 at 10:31 AM.]
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"My "blackness" will be measured by my mindset and my track record in terms of how beneficial or detremental I was to the race." (kevin)

I agree with kevin on this one. However, I also respect the right to be called as one sees fit. But I won't feel more 'african' just because I pick some name out of a book.
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quote:
What do you think? What could we do, that would make sense, to utilize our names to more closely embrace our heritage?


Create our own language!!!!!!! winkgrin

I think there may be some who have done that to a certain degree. Lest I mention the much maligned Afrocentrist.

*----*----*----*----*----*----*----*----*----*----*----*
S A N K O F A : Return & Fetch It!
Learn from and build on the past. It is not taboo to return and fetch
what you have forgotten. You can always correct what went wrong.
In the past, you find the future and understand the present.
I recently began Nelson Mandela's autobiography. He talked of his African name and of acquiring his Western name when he began school. A teacher gave him his name Nelson, for example. He embraces both names.

Perhaps that model presents a somewhat elegant solution to this conundrum. Perhaps African Americans could also take an African name - in addition to the one that we have been born with.

I understand that DNA testing is now both available and affordable that can determine where in Africa one comes from. Perhaps this could be a first step in trying to identify an ethnically accurate name that black folks could adopt along side their Western name. Taking on an ethnically African name could be a meaningful first step - opening the door to an awakening that has probably been long coming for African America.

Thoughts?
Naming isn't a shackle of slavery. Having to look for a name is clearly a consequence of slavery. The "need", or the "feeling of need" to look is a shackle of slavery. There is that additional drive to achieve accuracy.

If DNA can provide accuracy, surely there is nothing wrong with that. But accurate to what? Tribe? Region? Geographical section, as in North Africa, East Africa, South Africa, or West Africa.

By the way, has anyone ever wondered why there is no North Europe, South Europe, East Europe, or West Europe? I think it is the application of politics to others not like one's self. Just a thought.

I've thought about Mandela's name many times. Nelson is clearly the result of Christian missionary effort. He has simply become comfortable wearing it. That is his choice and right. It should be noted that many, many African American-Americans choose to change their names to reflect their adoption of a new religion. Some even abandon the name of their of family as did Kweisi Mfuma for example.

Adding an "African" name, or even replacing your given name can be a way of demonstrating African ancestry. I am currently inclined to the choice of adding, but just as a matter of philosophy. I am not contemplating doing it.

For me, abandoning my family name is to dishonor those now, as well as those historically.

PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:

For me, abandoning my family name is to dishonor those now, as well as those historically.



As I have said much earlier, it amazes me at how we can talk about history yet ignore the vast majority of ours. Just because we have no memory or knowledge of the thousands of years of our families' existence prior to coming to these shores, doesn't somehow magically detach itself from us. With all due respect and affection, if nothing else, our skin color should remind us of that. brosmile

quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:

Naming isn't a shackle of slavery.


We can choose to look at it however we like. The fact remains that for 99.99% of us here, our Western names are a product of the slaveholders that named us when we were their property. Just because we have gotten comfortable with those names over the generations doesn't erase the genesis of how we got them, nor the symbolism of us carrying the names of our masters - people who thought of us as animals and treated us worse. The reality of that is disturbing to me.

quote:
Having to look for a name is clearly a consequence of slavery. The "need", or the "feeling of need" to look is a shackle of slavery. There is that additional drive to achieve accuracy.


How do you rationalize your unique naming convention (African American-American) based upon the above?
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quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:

For me, abandoning my family name is to dishonor those now, as well as those historically.



As I have said much earlier, it amazes me how we can talk about history yet essentially ignore the vast majority of ours. Just because we have no memory or knowledge of the thousands of years of our families' existence prior to coming to these shores, doesn't somehow magically remove that history from us. If nothing else, our skin color should remind us of that. brosmile

quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:

Naming isn't a shackle of slavery.


We can choose to look at it however we like. The fact remains that for 99.99% of us here, our Western names are a product of the slaveholders that named us when we were their property. Just because we have gotten comfortable with those names over the generations doesn't erase the genesis of how we got them, nor the symbolism of us carrying the names of our masters - people who thought of us as animals and treated us worse. The reality of that is disturbing to me.

quote:
Having to look for a name is clearly a consequence of slavery. The "need", or the "feeling of need" to look is a shackle of slavery. There is that additional drive to achieve accuracy.


How do you rationalize your unique naming convention (African American-American) based upon the above?
Just because we have gotten comfortable with those names over the generations doesn't erase the genesis of how we got them, nor the symbolism of us carrying the names of our masters - people who thought of us as animals and treated us worse. The reality of that is disturbing to me.---MBM

It disturbs me too. I don't feel that I have the latitude to ditch my family name. Regardless. I'm not the only one bearing the name for one. All my children bear the name for two. When contemplating such an action, it occurs to me that I have a responsibility to my children. Abandoning the family name does not jibe with that responsibility.

That reality is disturbing to me.


How do you rationalize your unique naming convention (African American-American) based upon the above?---MBM

It is must easier to resolve. My parents had no idea of their identity. They had very specific concept of family. Their conception of commonality of all others who shared their experience was that all were 'Colored.' They also accepted 'Negro" as identity. There was nothing about 'black" they claimed as good.

So, for my family declaring myself an American who is African American was very easy. My greatest conflict came in reconciling all other who are not American, but are of unknown African ancestry. Ultimately, that too fell into place easily and with logic.

I see the remaining "shackle" of slavery being embodied in what Dr. DeGruy-Leary dubbed "Post-traumatic Slavery syndrome. Our inability to claim identity divorced of color is a part of that manifestation.

The failure to realize the personal authority to declare ancestral nationality is the bottom line of that phenomenon.

I remain confident however that we will get this corrected.


PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
You seem to have no problem in passing along your thoughts about the term 'African American-American' to your children. Why would this be any different?


There is no precedent to deal with. My wife and I have never told them otherwise. My oldest child wanted to wear a mop like the Beatles. When he was two his favorite song was "Hey, Hey, Paula." He graduated wearing a 'Fro.' Proudly. I didn't tell him to do any of those things. My wife and I lived as 'Negroes.' After having lived as 'Colored,' I might add.

We didn't teach our children they were 'black' per se. We simply became 'black' people. We lived, and referred to ourselves as 'black.'

Claiming African America as my ancestral nationality was difficult. It becomes easier by the hour. You will note I didn't include my wife in this claim. That is because it is personal. She shared conversation with me while I was resolving the issue with myself. Sometimes with 'high energy.' It is for her as it is for me. She is who she says she is.

Consider that we have about 90 years of "African American Studies" née "Black Studies." Those 'studies' have yet to produce the reestablishment of ancestral nationality for the descendants of all those people taken out of Africa. In fact, those 'studies' STILL embrace the euphemism of 'Africa', a continent, for the substitution of ancestral nationality.

You may recall that Harriett Tubman said, "I could have saved a thousand if they knew they were slaves." When you haven't seen the true fullness of freedom in anyone who 'looks like you", who is of your experience, it hard for the mind to conceive of the circumstance.

The hard part of this claim of identity is HOW to pass it on. My children have children of their own. That's why I a wrote a book "The African American Ethnicity." I didn't want to fail them again. I told them in writing. This gives them the same answer to the same question, every time. All the significant issues/challenges to the claim of African America is addressed in the book. I simply gave them the book. I have yet to sit and discuss it with any one of them.

They will read it when they want to. If they want to.

I followed that with another book to tell them how to do it. This had to be addressed as a separate issue, because self-empowerment had to be understood as key to survival.

The book is: "Manumission: The Last Bondage of America's Chattel Slavery." Again, I simply gave it to them.

By the way, I also gave the book to my grandchildren. My responsibility is the same to them as to my children.

Thanks for the opportunity.

They know they are because I am


PEACE

Jim Chester
Given the meaning of the word 'shackle', can someone please illuminate how our Euro names are 'shackling' us? In other words, if my name is 'Mfume', have I freed myself from the shackle of the name 'Wilson'? Which name, if any, would you say serves us better in our lives?

Let me demonstrate thru example what I'm talking about. If I used to be named 'Wilson', and have changed my name to 'Mfume' are those I meet from then on going to then say to themselves 'Geez, your origins in the west were obviously not thru the vestiges of slavery with a name like that.'

I'd like to hear some concrete talk on specifically how and why our euro names are 'shackling' us, and how changing these names produces this 'un-shackling' effect, (and use examples to demonstrate this), as the topic insinuates. (or was 'shackle' just an inappropriate choice of words for the discussion at hand?)
If the concept of integrity, and the reality of history, are at all important to anyone, then the discontinuity between our ethnic and genetic identities with the names that we currently associate with them in this country is profound. JanesT, instead of starting from scratch on this topic, why not just go back and read from the start of the thread? Bottom line - our names are the product of probably the greatest crime against humanity in the history of the world. We can either choose to continue to honor that crime and the very person that perpetuated it on our families, or not. It's up to us.
I asked why the term 'shackling' was used here when there is no example or demonstration that 'shackling' is the sure fire result of using the name our own parents had.

If you are asking me whether assuming an African name is somehow 'honoring' some long gone ancestor, I'd say its lip service at best, and more than likely out of vindictiveness than any true sense of 'honoring' a culture or 'negating' slavery in any way. If one hasn't taken the interest of knowing african languages or african customs, and live by them, then what is it we are supposedly actually 'honoring' by doing this?

You can call yourself Mfume, and still have exactly the same history, exactly the same issues, and be exactly the same person inside.

So, why did you choose the word 'shackle' when at most you mentioned 'honor'? Have you yourself changed your 'label' yet? If not, then why?
The names that we carry with us through life are not necessarily indicative of our mindsets. Just because your name might be euro in origin does not mean that you are 'shackled'. For example, Bobby Seale was instrumental in started one the most powerful Black organizations in this country (Black Panthers). Malcolm X kept the name Malcolm (pre hajj) while making his greatest impact on this country. There are people with African names who could not have been further, mentally, from Africa - and some of them, like Mobutu,lived there.

If you want to honor your ancestors, do it not only by your name, but also by your deeds.

On a related note, do we dishonor our ancestors by naming ourselves/our children with Afro-centric names and then getting a perm, wearing colored contacts, wearing a weave, etc?

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