"Habari Gani and welcome to Black Perspectives" That used to be the opening greeting to every presentation of our program. But what is "Black Perspectives", what does it mean to look at the world with a black perspective?
Almost every citizen in America can claim two backgrounds; one based in ethnicity and another in nationalism. We are Americans and something else. Most of us, especially newly arrived immigrants to these shores look at our lives with a purpose guided by dual experiences. Some learned elsewhere, in a different cultural tradition, some gained after a time absorbing particular pieces of our unique American culture.
African-Americans, many of us, vaguely contribute our ancestral beginnings to "some place in Africa". Not sure exactly where but assured that the continent itself is home to us, and further back in time, to the rest of the world. Our
traditions as African-Americans are already a compilation or mixture, if you will, of every aspect of traditional American society. What we have done, as a people, is chosen those usable, to us, aspects of the society and re-worked, re-fashioned and hopefully, improved upon the society through its cultural
traditions. In such traditions such as
music, literature and Poetry our success
is undeniable. We have read and heard
the poetry of Walden, Longfellow and
Joyce and then produced Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks and Sterling
Brown. We learned to read and write
with a Black Perspective! We heard
Stephen Foster, Vaudeville and Cole
Porter and brought forth Duke Ellington, The Harlem Renaissance with
its Jazz and Nat King Cole. We learned the scales and created with a Black Perspective! We saw Humphrey Bogart,
Clark Gable and Katherine Hepburn, Bob
Hope, et al and then we producedSidney Portier, Lou Gossett, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis and Bill Cosby,
et al. We climbed the stage and claimed the screen with a Black
Looking at the world with a Black Perspective enhances our enjoyment of life. We hope that our contributions to the culture adds enjoyment to the lives of others.
That said, here's something else. Just as there are many separate
and disparate opinions by members of other groups, so it is with African-Americans, or Black People. We are many shades, our beliefs multi-faceted - different. We are not all democrat and liberal politically. Some African- Americans are conservative and Republican. All of us are not college trained, yet we are not all illiterate. Not all of us are financially safe and secure for our later years. We have children who have done well. Some children who have not. We love, we hate. We are loved, we are not. We can be obstinate, confident; shy and humble. We aspire to greatness; we succeed and we fail. In short, without going further(although I could), We African-Americans are like every other group in the mix we call America......
.......some of us accept with pride that we are a part of today's America......
......some of us lament the fact that we still are.