Monday, October 17, 2011

Coffee and Rape: A Matter of Complexion?

my hands by rainwriter jones


I recently had a conversation with an elder who I've known for several years. As we talked, she spoke of her travels to Antigua, and the beautiful, dark skin of the residents. I watched her eyes glaze over as if revisiting a past she was never a part. She spoke of rape: Rape of females by many different ethnicities which caused our Black skin to be the hue it is now. She also spoke on how we as Blacks have forgotten what it was like; the atrocities we suffered as a people.

Are ethnicities of blended races created by centuries of rape?

This conversation was very troubling to me on many levels. Why would she bring up this topic at this late juncture in her life? Why does she speak like this, and then associate with those she deems as the oppressor? Is she correct in her assumption that as a culture, we were created from acts of violence?

This isn't the first time I've had conversations with elders who seem to fixate on the past wrongs of history. The old folks recall things not only from their past, but that of an entire culture. Maybe they're venting years of pent-up frustration in their own circumstance: Trying to "clear the air" so to speak, before their own demise?

I do believe that the further removed we are from slavery and outright racism, we have a tendency to "forget" the miseries of antecedants. In a previous blog post you may recall my watching the characters across the street that hang out without purpose. It is quite clear they haven't a clue, nor a care, as to what happened 400 years prior. But these are not the only kindred which I feel have lost their way. It's as if there's an ancestral genocide in progress. Our fragmented roots being further broken by not only distance, but time. I met an African several years ago who told me that American Blacks don't remember their past. I have a tendency to believe him.

So what are my thoughts on this topic? I feel as though we were created not only by the violent acts of a few, but through mutual consensual encounters. Not downplaying the rape aspect by no means, but not using this sordid fact as the sole means of our existence.

But we all have our own opinions, our own way of viewing life. Looking at it with a skewed perspective serves no purpose, but creates this negativity that I can better do without. I'm from this time, and not that of those who have come before me. Their experiences greatly differ from mine. I know the people who raped our ancestors are long since dead, and not to make these abuses the primary focus of the present.

Remember, be humbled, and continue your journey...

rainwriter jones