“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey.
This morning, I woke up to an article that someone had emailed to me, that I found a bit disturbing. Ravene Simone, who played Olivia on The Cosby show, did an interview with Oprah where she spoke in depth about rejecting labels. This is what she had to say;
“I don’t want to be labeled ‘gay. I want to be labeled ‘a human who loves humans.” She continued, “I’m tired of being labeled,” she says. “I’m an American. I’m not an African-American; I’m an American. I mean, I don’t know where my roots go to,” Raven explains. “I don’t know how far back they go… I don’t know what country in Africa I’m from, but I do know that my roots are in Louisiana. I’m an American. And that’s a colorless person.”
When Oprah gave her the opportunity to clarify her statement, remarking that she would likely receive a blacklash on Twitter, what she went on to say didn’t help her argument:
“I don’t label myself. I have darker skin. I have a nice, interesting grade of hair. I connect with Caucasian, I connect with Asian, I connect with Black, I connect with Indian, I connect with each culture.”
While I respect Raven’s right to define herself as she see fits, I find her comments problematic. With no hesitation I define myself as a ‘Black Girl In The Ring’. I weep for those that think acknowledgement of their race and culture, and the privilege and/or prejudices that comes with it, will stifle their individual growth and worth. The two should not be seen as mutually exclusive, they actually work in tandem to mold thought and action. Social consciousness allows you to see others for who they are while affording you the opportunity to embrace the human similarities that exist. That is where you find ‘oneness’. Tell me readers, do you share Raven’s view, are you ‘colourless’?