African in America Network

AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM ANALYSIS 2015 – A.i.A

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African in America

Experiencing the African American Museum was a double edged sword, as the depictions throughout the exhibits were both powerful and ironically contradictory to its purpose as an exhibit for African Americans. History is mans parables, and throughout history man has been at war over the preservation and telling of these parables through various impeding concepts: ethnocentrism, ethnocide, colonialism, and war. Displaced Africans through the mass enslavement of the Atlantic Slave Trade have endured many wars: American-Indian War, Revolutionary War, Civil War, and World War II. All in which African descendants had served along side the people who enslaved, and colonize the land that they inevitably against their will would call home for the next 300 plus years. Breaking down these core concepts that have shifted the way parables of African descendants are being depicted are of great importance to the preservation of the displaced African people here in America. These descendants of Africa were stripped of their native tongue, their heritage, and religious beliefs to assimilate towards what today is an African American.

The Willie Lynch letter was delivered to slave owners in 1712, and will hold place as the single most destructive force amongst the displaced African people here in America. Prompting former slave owners towards ethnocide of their slaves would allow the slave owners to further control them, and destroy their people for what was quoted by Lynch for the next 300 maybe thousand years. This letter sent to resolve a matter of the slave owners not being able to control their slaves on the plantations in Virginia, as they where forced to lynch them for wrong doings that began to lose them too much stock as they then labeled their slaves. This letter broke down to the dominant group of slave owners ways in which they could turn old against young, male against female, and strip religion as well as native tongue away from these people so that the long lasting affects would keep them inferior for economic prosperity of the dominant group. What at that time was not realized by these monstrous people called slave owners was through the act of ethnocide how they would destroy an entire displaced human being race of people. The affects of the letter Willie Lynch delivered still resonates deeply within the evolution of the African American even in present day 2015. In reference to the irony visiting the African American Museum here in Los Angeles, you notice what became African history is really American history. Through many wars that could not have been won without the aid of African descendants here in America fighting not as free men, as well as the countless innovations in architecture, inventions, art, all go credited to the impact of ethnocide, and not spawning from original parables in African history. The Root of the word African in the label of African American is only a coating, as the true history of the once prosperous decedents was destroyed as prisoners of war, and early American economic development. What was created out of the horrors serves as the irony of why as an African living in America you cannot confine an ancestry that dates back so many years before Christ as only what was created by that group of people here in America post slavery. Thats like taking such a rich legacy, and depicting it in a two hour Hollywood Film starring Caucasian actors depicting Gods of Egypt.

Through the annihilation of the true heritage of African descendants living here in America there has been the creation of ethnocentrism; which serves as the American standard towards how everything that isn’t about America is scaled and judged. You find this today in what is the oldest human war on the planet between the Muslims and Christian Crusaders. How America interprets Muslims is an act of ethnocentrism, and forms hate towards a culture through media, racism, religious biases, and propaganda with majority of Americans having little to no understanding of Muslim people outside of their own dominant ideology in America as a Christian society. Looking at whats been created in America by the descendants of African people has been astonishing; receiving accolades through hardship of social prejudice. Dealing with the constant revelation that as a person of color you cannot blend in or assimilate into a society of people who have created their own standard of how a person of color should be treated, and once enslaved your ancestors and are living with the guilt that has shaped both social, and constitutional laws that protect their interest over yours. Looking at the evolution of African films displayed in the African American Museum, and learning that in-order for African descendants to display films that are not bias they were solely wrote and produced by African people. That was the only way there could be any true understanding as to what this displace group of people were experiencing in America as the dominant culture would shy away from shinning light on these various oppressive hardships in their films. For example: the film Boyz N the Hood which hit box office in 1991 depicted the struggles of African descendants living in the ghettos in South Central Los Angeles. Depicting gang violence, broken homes, police brutality, gentrification, drugs, and the dream of the only way of escaping this bitter reality was through receiving an athletic scholarship to a University, or having a father in the household. Why this film was so powerful because it was the culmination of a race of people that has not only served this country, but given up so much of who they were as a people only to find themselves in the 90s post crack epidemic living in ghettos in a nation that enslaved and destroyed their heritage. There where no reparations, no economic developments that were allowed to prosper in America for African descendants to be as late as the 90s and still after all the oppression be predominantly cast off as a people within the inner city ghettos nation wide. Growing up on films like Boyz n the Hood, and many others you see how ethnocentrism judges the behaviors of other culture in such an oppressive manner when the truth tends to surface its importance is almost dwarfed by the dominant ideology. The aftermath of Slavery, Willie lynch, Jim
Crow, and Civil Rights all culminated in the creation of a film like Boyz n the Hood. The father being displace from the household, slaves constantly shipped to various plantains destroying the Family structure of these African descendants created the culture that pushed sharecroppers off the Farms and into the ghettos across the Nation with no heritage, economic literacy, langue literacy, and the seed planted by Lynch that had conditioned an entire race of people to live in a dominated sense of surrender to the will of their “Master” being the dominant culture and ideology in America. Why was this Film such an ironic depiction in the Museum? Because, the fact that one of the greatest films ever depicted by African descendants living in America is nothing of truth heritage but the depicting of the destructive aftermath of the dominant cultures oppression over their people, and that is the history and parable they have on display at the exhibit for African American people to be proud of. Being proud of oppression is a burden to bear being so displaced from their true history connected both examples of ethnocentrism and ethnocide affecting African descendants living here in America.

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A representation of colonialism in Africa is depicted on the walls of the African American Museum in Los Angeles, CA – 2015

North America as we all know once served beautiful tribes of people living in harmony off the land for many many years before European settlers ever got lost at sea and discovered the land. Colonialism did not only impact their once peaceful land, but created a cancer that lead an invasion and ultimately a genocide on an entire race of people known today as the Native Americans/Indians. The 13 Colonies under the control of Great Britain post revolutionary war, and ultimately Great Britain’s defeat lead to the construction of states and America was born. For the European settlers this conquest, invasion, and revolution is the make up of what most Americans pride themselves on when that flag is held high and the singing of the National anthem brings them to tears. However, colonialism has the blood of the story’s alternative on its hands. The alternative being the dark horse associated with all those who suffered from the expansion of the ideology of what colonialism does to the race of people who inhabit a given land before they experience this dominant ideology. Today, globally colonialism is practiced by America in the Middle East, and by Great Britain, France, Italy, and Portugal in Africa. America has invited themselves into combat by overthrowing the ways in which other races of people live abroad with America imposing colonial ideology through democracy, economic systems, religion, cultural dominance, and territory which has created groups such as ISIS in opposition to Americas unjustifiable dominance over the world. Forcing people to worship a religion that historically that has created a lot of blood shed, and a failing economic system with root based on enslavement, and cheap labor only benefiting the corporation . Historically you also notice their has always been revolutions against colonialism both in Africa, and in America. How ironic for America to post blame on ISIS for opposing colonialism, as they once did to great Britain in-oder to acquire North America. The double standard shows the arrogance of the once majority Caucasian settlers, and now yet another war is on the verge over what is such a destructive and dominating ideology known as colonialism in the Middle East. While visiting the African American Museum the fact that they blended African Colors with an American flag as a depiction on display served as the irony associated with colonialism and its place in the history of America, as well as its place still in Africa that keeps people enslaved and unable to revolt for their independence as a country like many have already done for example Ethiopia gaining its independence from Italy in 1941.

In conclusion, each concept we’ve mentioned can all be tied together in efforts of conquest. You destroy, you judge, and then you dominate. Ethnocide, ethnocentrism, colonialism, and war all serve as a double edged sward as their has been monumental gains; at the cost of plenty of blood shed and destruction of entire races of people for the dominant ideology to gain. It has been said for many to live well off, there needs to be many poor, and in a system with a struggling middle class that concept seems to resonate more today than ever before. Such ranging inequities globally has created parables told predominantly by the dominate culture keeping most too fearful to seek the truth, and their perspective is confined to what they’re told to believe about even the history of their own ancestry; as well as whats on display at your local museum. Oppression is more psychological than it is physical. As Lynch stated in his letter, “Keep the Body. Take the Mind”.(Willie Lynch Letter) The experience at the African American museum gave me without a reasonable doubt the understanding that most African Americans believe their history is American history, and as a descendant of African heritage that is a burden we must all bear to reshape how our culture is depicted and how our parables are told to the next generation as that will serve as their foundation and ideology either crescendoing their future or keeping them subservient to the current dominant ideology. African in America

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Richard “Dick” Gregory – [OCT 12, 1932 – AUG 19, 2017] – African civil rights activist, comedian, and Entrepreneur

Richard “Dick” Gregory – [OCT 12, 1932 – AUG 19, 2017] – African civil rights activist, comedian, and Entrepreneur