I remember I tweeted this on July 4th, white Americans Independence Day, because you know, on that day, Africans were still enslaved. I said “Native Americans should be called Americans & white people should be called illegal immigrants 🤔 Non-Happy illegal immigrant Codependence Day 🙄”
Why did I say this? Because, when history is told from the Eurocentric standpoint, they’ll always look like the founders and the hero’s, and the other parties will look like they have not contributed to anything. Why should the people who were here have to change their names while everyone else gets to call themselves American? Oh, because it feeds the narrative that america was founded. Founded by whom? It was here already. Therefore, when you enter someone’s home, you share an experience, they teach you about them and the ways of their home, not the other way around. They teach you their names, you don’t get to name them. You’re never superior in someone else’s home, if anything, they name you! The European experience is codependent, it is not independent outside of the cultures, customs, and resources that should have been shared and exchanged for goods, but instead stolen. The same thing with the enslavement of Africans, we were enslaved and violated, we were not slaves. We have been renamed at least 7 times since being forced into America, and each name is not our original name. Even when the Europeans came to Africa, they forced Africans to change their names to go to particular schools, that’s why in my dad’s era they had English names. Thank Ala I was given all Igbo names in this here america.
We need to start taking ownership of our names and words. We need to start taking ownership of our practices. Listen, again, Europeans claim to find things and name them, but renaming what’s not yours is actually not to be celebrated. We’ve just come to claim these titles and not question it. Why go to Africa, European, and start calling something an African mango? It needs no prerequisite in Africa, it’s a mango. Even in Africa, being forced because of colonialism to have 2 weddings, and calling the original, “traditional wedding”, a wedding is a wedding; the white dress wedding is a tradition, of the British, so should we call the white wedding a traditional British wedding? I’m going to start doing that. I’m not, for sure, going to keep changing the name of everything that’s mine every time the Europeans bring their version, or not even their version 99% of the time – it’s just their name based on their interpretation.
Speaking of interpretations, my favorite European misinterpretation is the Egyptian book of the dead. It actually, in Egyptian culture, translates to the Egyptian Book of Life. The Europeans did not understand the ways and practices seen in the book, therefore misinterpreting. That is why gatekeeping is so important, we have been thinking for hundreds of years that the people who enslaved us were genuinely interested in our cultures, however they have always, without fail, misinterpreted our cultures to the world. The biggest one being the renaming of Africa, you think all those countries and languages existed? They did not, they were divided according to the territory of the colonizer. To be a Nigerian means nothing, I am Igbo and will no longer claim European borders on Africa. Through our renaming all over the world, especially where we’ve been enslaved, our culture has been robbed from us and trying to the world to not represent the fullness of our traditions and who we are. Twerking anyone? I won’t even get into twerking, but I tell you this, whatever Miley Cyrus was doing wasn’t twerking, and whatever the origin of twerking is, is not sexual, but you wouldn’t know that because you let Miley teach you; I leave you with Miley’s teachings.
You want to know the real? Come to the next Decolonize Your Mind class on Monday, August 9th!