In very recent news it was stated by a powerful individual that African Slaves came to America as immigrants. The idea that the wooden bellies of slave ships were filled with bright eyed and hopeful Africans ready for their chance at a new life is one of the biggest alternative facts I have ever read. Why must the tragedy of slavery be reduced to being just a small blip on history’s radar screen? Why does it seem that whenever an African American makes a statement about chattel slavery and oppression they are told “oh that was so long ago and look how far your people have come”? Yes improvements are apparent in the state of African Americans in our country. The election of Obama was evidence of that fact. However don’t reduce my heritage to a mere triviality. Others are not asked to forget their heritage but we, African Americans, are expected to toss our heritage to the wolves. The sole utterance of African Slaves being immigrants is an attempt at revisionist history and a ham fisted way of absolving America of its participation in one of the worst human disasters in world history.
I am not immigrant because ancestors were whipped bloody by a master’s whip. I am not an immigrant because my ancestors’ lineage was stolen and sold on the black soulless surface of an auction block. I am not an immigrant due to midnight rapes at the hands of a cold master only looking to degrade the purity of a virgin womb. I am not an immigrant because ancestors were tossed into a watery tomb on the Middle Passage. I am not an immigrant because ancestors built the nation under the harsh hand of chattel slavery. I am not an immigrant because ancestors were stolen and absolutely had no control over their own bodies or destination. I am not an immigrant because of ancestors’ culture being stolen to feed the capitalist ambitions of America. I am not an Immigrant due to ancestors’ bodies decorating southern trees like strange fruits.
I have respect for real immigrants and all they have given our country. However, don’t create new titles for horrible pieces of history, but learn from them, so we don’t travel those dark roads again. We must understand our nation’s rich history and respect the legacies and stories of all races. If we can’t do that then for what purpose did our African ancestors bear the lash?