Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Family Tree Project 2005

I have been overwhelmed with emotion!!! I have discovered that my Maternal Ancestry originates with the Tikar People of Cameroon!!!

My last two weeks have been a monumental moment in my life. I received the results for the family tree project I was doing and discovered my Maternal Roots! My DNA shows that I come from the Tikar people of Cameroon which is in West/Central Africa!!! All weekend I have been doing research about my family and I have found some very interesting facts that give me insight into why I do certain things today. For instance, I love plantain and banana’s which is one of the major exported items along with palm oil, ground nuts, yams and other things. The country is right by the Congo (Tropical Jungle) and at the base of Mt. Cameroon and there are all kinds of animals and plant life that are native there like Gorillas, Elephants, Lions, Cheetah’s (which happens to be one of me and my daughters favorite animals). I have been collecting and sometimes making statues or dolls out of wood or other natural items that I find and my people are world renown for their craft making, especially dolls and masks that represent our ancestors. It’s like a profound sense of closure and understanding of intuitions and ideas and that I have been expressing since my birth! It’s something I cannot truly put in words.. .

When I looked at my results I just started crying because it meant so much to me! Even though my Parents have taught me things about our "Continental" homeland and tribes throughout Africa’s 52 Countries, I always felt a sense of emptiness not knowing the "actual" place that my ancestors came from and being able to truly identify with our cultural view of the world. It’s like for the last 450 years, most black people have been like "adopted" children to America. And just like adopted children in general, you see a marked difference in attitude and sense of identity between them and a child who grows up knowing and living with their "real" Parents. This has forced many of us to adopt a compromised sense of identity that was given to us by those people who have lied to us the most. In reference to what I’m saying, El Hajj Malik Shabazz (Malcom X.) once said, "If a cat crawled inside an oven and had babies, just because she had her babies in the oven it doesn’t make them biscuits!" You can see that historically many "non-white" people have collectively failed to understand this simple analogy. Make no mistake about it, there is a profound sense of insanity going on inside of women who go out of her way to identify with being a man, fair skinned so-called Latino’s trying to be accepted as a white people with permanent tans, black women burning their hair strait and wearing blue contact lenses, and black men using their best clown antics to be accepted as "honorary" white men. Most non-white people in this society have been conditioned to feel as though they have to be "humble" about their culture because it might make white people feel insecure, threatened or uncomfortable about themselves, and obviously there is a reason it does. You see, when you reaffirm your culture in the presence of white people, it simultaneously reveals their historical and present relationship to you.

This brings to the surface not only our historical relationship to eachother, but also our present day attitudes and beliefs that are derived from that history, either positively expressed or negative. Basically, you can still have the same slave/slave master or male/oppressed female relationship that existed hundreds of years ago simply because people haven’t seriously talked about these issues to analyze their impact upon human life. The impact that continues to benefit some and disadvantage others! It’s nothing wrong with discussing anything but put it in the proper context and consider the things that "shape" that discussion and what goals that discussion has and will achieve. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some wonderful things about American Society and American Culture because it is a conglomerate of many different influences. I’m just saying that we should never disregard the totality of our cultural identity in order to be "included" or try to "make it" in this Society. America has a way of directly and indirectly telling non-white people that you must drop or extremely modify your identity if you want to live in America. In just the last two years alone you’ll be surprised at how many people from Arabia, India and other Muslim and Hindu countries have changed their name to names like Bill, Betty, Mike and John in order to try and be accepted, non-threatening, not offensive and comfortable in American Society! What can they tell their children about integrity, truth, faith and cultural awareness?

To conclude, I just had these things on my mind and I’m sure you can appreciate where I’m coming from. Being involved in this DNA Project has heightened my cultural sensitivity and has given me a stronger sense of pride in my Heritage, literally, not just in the spiritual sense that I have always identified with my homeland. Now I can go back home and actually get citizenship in Cameroon!!!

My daughters were very, very excited too and we are already making plans to go there in 2006. For my Family Tree Project I also offered 19 other tests to other families besides my own. It is my hopes that through this Project, they will be able to develop the insight to understand their present-day context in American Society and adjust their world-view to culturally serve their best interest. There were a few people who discovered that their ancestors are the Mende People of Sierra Leone who’s world renown for their "Diamond" mining industry! Think about what type of impact that this knowledge has on a person who has only knew poverty, and who has only been taught that their ancestors were slaves. Not only will "Diamonds" never look the same to them again, but they will be "forced" to psychologically view themselves with a different self worth!

Post a Comment