THE TRUE RACIAL IDENTITY OF AFRICAN AMERICANS:
THE UNFINISHED LEGACY OF AMERICAN SLAVERY
Dr. Joyce Watford, an Educator and a Descendant of America’s Slaves
August 20, 2016
What is the definition of African American? Who is African American? Where do African Americans come from? Where is their real Motherland or Fatherland, for that matter?
These are some of the questions that keep recurring, haunting, and confusing a people who have a distinct look, but whose appearances are as varied as the variations of flowers one would find in a vast flower garden, and who reside in the United States of America. They are called African Americans. Although the term “African American” can include other peoples in other places of the Americas, the focus of this discussion is limited to the United States of America, because it is here that the most confusion of racial identity resides and has been so problematic.
From the time that the African ancestors of the so-called “African Americans” entered the American (and European) slave ships bound for the Americas, the name-calling and name-confusion began. The African ancestors underwent an immediate transition from “African” to “Slave” when they stepped aboard the American (and European) slave ships.
At that moment, the captured Africans ceased being Africans (and human beings!) and instead became the property of their white American and European captors whose business it was to provide black laborers to work for free in the “New World.” The captured Africans were transformed into chattel slaves and by design were maliciously characterized as non-humans and/or sub-humans, before they arrived in the Americas. By the time they reached the Americas, having already become chattel slaves for the Americas—they had become and were regarded as America’s slaves (not Africa’s slaves!)—They were America’s property—not Africa’s property! In other words, make no mistake about it! They were America’s commodity or merchandise—for America’s profit and prosperity! Not Africa’s commodity or merchandise, for Africa’s profit and prosperity!
Because history has glossed over, covered up, and destroyed much of what transpired in slavery and during the deplorable slave trade, what we know and what we are programmed to know about slavery and the slave trade have been selected and/or very controlled and whitewashed because slavery as chattel was really a crime against humanity. Slavery was an ungodly, shameful business that no participants (and their descendants) would want to have all of the sordid details of slavery known about today. So the question of whose slaves the Africans on the slave ships became is often overlooked by design when we talk about or think about the Africans and their transition from Africans to chattel slaves. The question often does not enter our minds because it is not in the best interests of the perpetrators to have the blame and shame associated with slavery and the slave trade revealed and, consequently, to have the abhorrence of slavery follow them throughout history. So by design, the blame and shame of slavery have become a shameful cover-up and/or have been shifted onto convenient scapegoats. Unfortunately, African Americans have been and still are a convenient scapegoat.
“How so?” you may ask.
Because some African Americans have a lot of displaced shame about having ancestors who were slaves, they become willing participants in the identity cover-up. They would like nothing more than to forget slavery in order to try to rid themselves of the “black” ancestral mark—the defect, the stain— in their ancestry and then to be able to move on without looking back. But they cannot really move on or choose not to look back because of the “color” factor which is a tell-tale sign of who they really are and where they came from. Now this brings us to the crux of the problem and the solution to the name-confusion of African Americans.
Norris Shelton, founder and President of American Slaves, Inc., and Descendants of American Slaves Inc., of Louisville, Kentucky, says it is time for African Americans and the United States of America to stop hiding behind the shame, blame, and name nonsense of who African Americans truly are as a race of people. That most African Americans are the descendants of American (or America’s) slaves is indisputable, he says. Yet, they have been given every possible false name under the sun to hide their true identity. Why? Let’s think about it:
1. African Americans, as they call themselves, are not Africans. They were not bred in Africa, and ninety-nine percent of them have never set foot on African soil.
2. Their African ancestors were severed from their African homelands the moment that they entered into the bellies of American (and European) slave ships, bound for the Americas. Once inside of the slave ships, the captive Africans became America’s human cargo (and not Africa’s) to be enslaved and sold as chattel to white America—white people who could afford to purchase slaves, such as aristocrats and founding fathers, religious refugees, and plantation owners, etc., who were in search of wealth and a better life for themselves in the “New World.” America’s slaves were stripped of all ties to Africa, which also included having their languages and cultures taken away.
3. They were raped and bred for profit, even by their white slave masters, who regarded their own offspring as a way to have “more property and more profit.”
4. The raping and breeding of America’s first slaves in the slave business created a unique race of people, fathered by white America (and others), explicitly for slavery on American soil (in America, not in Africa!).
5. Africa, per se, had nothing to do with the raping and breeding of a new chattel race of people to carry on the business of slavery, on American soil, by America, for America. Although the name “African American” weakly alludes to the historical, geographic, and biological origin of the offspring who were created by the raping and breeding of America’s first slaves, it covers up too much of the history involved in how the offspring of America’s first slaves came into being.
6. The offspring of America’s slaves are the true and direct descendants of American slaves. Therefore, the true racial identity of African Americans took place in America, for America, and by America. The descendants of American slaves were and are American-bred and American-made, and are, biologically speaking, the first “true Americans”!
True African Americans were neither bred in Africa, for Africa, or by Africa nor were they made in Africa, for Africa, or by Africa. This insight should put the African American nonsense to rest—by acknowledging that the descendants of American slaves are not Africans and they never were or have been. They are Americans and are the only American-bred, American-made offspring in this country whose very existence is the result of orchestrated rapes and specialized breeding by white America. They are America’s first biological and historical offspring! With that said and understood, it is time now to put the real shame and blame where they belong—with our white fore-parents who fathered and bred a people into existence to be exploited into slavery without any regard that these same people were their biological offspring.
7. Our white fore-parents were incestuous, deadbeat dads of the worst kind; and what is even more shameful is that the neglect and abuse of their one and only American-bred, American-made offspring continue to this day!
8. For that reason, African Americans need to drop the “shame and blame name-games” and understand that they are the true descendants of American slaves and the first true Americans, American-bred and American-made, and they need to start calling themselves by their true name in order to claim their true birthright in their own country. The name, “African American,” makes it too easy for white America to forget and/or to deny the true progeny of African Americans. The true progeny is the only progeny that really matters in the history and survivability of a neglected and abused people. Deadbeat dads, by law, are held accountable to the offspring they sire; but, first, in all fairness to them, deadbeat dads have a right to know who their offspring are so that they can position themselves to do the right thing by their offspring. Therefore, it is very important for deadbeat dads and their offspring to know each other by their real names so they can lawfully and rightfully claim each other. There should be no doubt in their minds about who they (each other) are. The name, “Descendants of American Slaves,” leaves no doubt.
9. African Americans need to understand once and for all that there is nothing for them to be ashamed about in their historical, biological, racial, geographic, and national origin because they are not to blame. They are not the perpetrators and/or progenitors! They are the offspring, for God’s sake!
10. As a matter of fact, there is much in their origin to be proud about. They truly are the original Americans by virtue of the fact that they are the only racial/ethnic group in this country who is completelyAmerican-bred and American-made, on American soil, for America. They carry in their bloodlines the blood of every racial and ethnic group who makes up who the American peoples are.
11. Also, they are a unique group of people because there is no other group of people in our country whose very existence is the result of rape and specialized breeding, on American soil.
12. They are the first true Americans and the only American-bred, American-made offspring of one of the wealthiest and most powerful countries in the world today, all because of the free labor their Americanslave ancestors provided which laid the foundation for the wealth, development, and prosperity our powerful country is known for today.
13. African Americans can know and should be able to accept now their true racial origin (descendants of American slaves); their birthplace (America and/or the United States of America); their birthright (their heritance and rightful inheritance), and their true racial identity (Descendants of American Slaves). Having all of this information about who they truly are should also convince them now that they are not Africans. They are the first and only original Americans, who were American-bred and American-made in America, for America, and by America.
14. Let’s reiterate. The true racial identity of African Americans can be traced to America’s first slaves, not Africa’s first slaves. Therefore, African Americans are the direct descendants of American slaves, not African slaves. Consequently, the proper name of most African Americans whose ancestors were American slaves is “Descendants of American Slaves.” There is no shame in that nomenclature because we are taught to believe that the shame and the blame that may accompany the birth of an offspring should not be placed upon the offspring who is not responsible for what their progenitors did or continue to do. If there are any shame and blame, they belong with the progenitors. But in the unique circumstances of how the descendants of America’s slaves came into being, the shame and blame belong only with their white American forefathers, who raped and bred their American slaves in order to create a new race of people for slavery. Let us not forget that the new race of people were the rapists’ very own offspring, who were also raped and bred to further the business and prosperity of the slave economy.
15. To argue that African Americans are not Africans is not to deny their kinship. African Americans and Africans are obviously biologically and genetically connected. However, African Americans who descended from American slaves were bred by America to carry multiple bloodlines, and not exclusively just African. Therefore, they differ in racial, geographic, and national origins; cultures; and native languages. Thus, “African American” is a false name given to the descendants of American slaves, American-bred and American-made, for slavery, on American soil. This is not the history or biology of Africans, or of African immigrants and their offspring who live in America and who are the real, true African Americans.
Mr. Norris Shelton has written six books about the racial identity of the Descendants of American Slaves who, by no uncertain terms, are not “African Americans.” The term, “African American,” he says, implies that African Americans are immigrants, which they certainly are not. They were born and bred on American soil. Here is a case in point: Although President Barack Obama was born on American soil to African and American parentage, he is not a descendant of American slaves. He is an African American whose father was an African immigrant, not an American slave or a descendant of American slaves, and his mother was a white American who descended from European immigrants. On the other hand, First Lady Michelle Obama is a true and direct descendant of American slaves. First Lady Michelle Obama then is not African American; she is a Descendant of American Slaves, American-bred and American-made.
Mr. Shelton says that it is imperative for our misnamed African Americans to collectively recognize and accept their true racial identity in order to collectively address the plight of America’s one and only American-bred, American-made offspring residing in their birth country, the United States of America.
Mr. Shelton wants it known that he is, first and foremost, a businessman and not a social activist, because slavery was and still is a business and is not social activism. In his books, he addresses slavery as a business, as well as the plight of the Descendants of American Slaves as, likewise, a business. Because of his business perspectives and perceptions, many readers may take offense with some of Mr. Shelton’s positions. But he says he is simply telling the truth as he sees it. “It is the truth that shall set all of us free. Business is business,” he says, and that is what he is all about. He says nothing is personal in his books, when he appears to be on the attack and is accusatory in message and tone. The truth, he says, is not something he dreamed up; therefore, what he says in his books must have a reality out there somewhere; and it is that reality (or those realities) that must be addressed and changed in order for the Descendants of American Slaves, as a collective group, to be able to realize their long overdue birthright in their birthplace.
When we look at how quickly some immigrants who come into our country are able to realize the American Dream in a relatively short time, compared to how elusive the American Dream is for the collective group of Descendants of American Slaves, who have been in their birth-country for more than four hundred years, we cannot help but see and know that there are huge problems among the Descendants of American Slaves and in how they position themselves in pursuit of the American Dream as a collective group. Mr. Shelton’s six books are a “must read,” but two stand out as manifestos delineating the state of affairs among the Descendants of American Slaves. They are American Slaves, Inc.: The Renaissance Plan—The Next Step Forward and America’s Little Black Book, to be readin that order. If you can read them without being offended by what he says and can remember that “business is business,” you will come away with your eyes wide open and your mind, too. If you can get over being offended, you will be able to get inside of Mr. Shelton’s head, as well as the head of Carter G. Woodson, who wrote The Mis-Education of the Negro, over seventies years ago. Every Descendant of American Slaves and every American, un-raped, un-bred, and un-American-made, owe it to ourselves and to the posterity of our great country to rise to the occasion, to stand up and be counted, and to do the right thing by the original Americans who are America’s one and only true Offspring, American-bred and American-made, on American soil.
Mr. Norris Shelton can be contacted online for more information about a Movement in the making which is long overdue.
Dr. Joyce Watford is a Descendant of American Slaves, an educator, and Editor-in-Chief of VISIONS: An HBCU Transitional Education Journal.
© 2010, 2016