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OMG!!!

I love being a person of Black African descent. It is so awesome, because of our culture and cuisine and things like that, but, there are days when I have problems. Most of these come in the forms of stereotypes that are, well, retarded. Just stupid. Honestly, you cannot believe the stupid beliefs people have about Africans. Because my parents (I am not from there, but I always wanted to go there) are from an African country (Sierra Leone) people automatically assume that I am from there.

I am of African descent, so I must run around with a spear and a shield and have bone in my nose and disc in my lip or something. I mean, that is just stupid. I don’t think that most people realize, but there are over 50 countries in Africa, some of them have over 50 different ethnic groups. There are 5 regions: North, Southern, West, East, and Central.

So anyways, I go to this school, and I told a lot of people that I am of African Descent. I am proud very proud of my heritage, and I enjoy sharing it with others. But, I hate it when people make very negative statements. You would not believe the number of people that assume that I can speak a different language. I can only speak Krio, which is a form of English just like Jamaican Patois or Southern Dialects, and I cannot do it well, and I do not do it very often.

Hey, how do you say I like to go to school in your language?

Why?

Just say it, please?

I lek fo go nah school (that is not 100% correct, but its the best I can do…)

How do you say, I have lots of friends

I get boku padi

It sounds just like English!

It is English…

I wanna hear the clicks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m not from that country”

And then the conversation got awkward. Really really awkward…

There are some people that ask really good questions, but a lot just asked questions. And that is so damn annoying! They say things like “What village are you from? Did you live in a hut? Why are there light-skinned people in your family, I thought you all were pitch black? Can you run fast? Why don’t you all wear close? Why do they rape and kill people with albinism in Africa? What war did you have? Why are you all so corrupt? Why are you so poor? Is Africa a nice country?  Can you hunt with a spear? Do you beat women? Do you have AIDS? Do you eat alot of KFC and watermelon in Africa?” I usually say nothing, or say something smart, or let them believe the myth. And then my absolute favorite, “Do Africans have superpowers?” This man was being serious, too! Where did he get that idea.

There are so many stereotypes about Africans. The one that I hate the most is the one that we are all dirt poor. Botswana, South Africa, the Seychelles, Namibia, Angola, and  Nigeria are some of many nations that are not poverty stricken. And not every African person lives in extreme poverty. African immigrants on average have higher income than an average white person in America. No, we don’t all have AIDS. No, we don’t all think less of black people in America.  Some of the countries do have a high crime rate, and the people in these nations know that, so I have no idea were that stereotype came from. No, we didn’t all get left behind while other black people were suffering because of slavery. How do I know? I am a Krio with some Americo-Liberian ancestry. Both of these terms mean that I am an ancestor of freed slaves that returned to the Motherland to create colonies. These freed men and women mixed with the local population, forming their own unique culture. We are all black people and we should unite, not divide. Besides, African American culture has had a big impact in Africa. Just look at the African rappers and how much American influrence they have.

We are not stupid, and that is a fact. African immigrants and their children have the highest graduation rate of any ethnic group. But that really does not bug me. What bugs me are the misconceptions about our culture. Killing people and raping women are not part of our culture. We do not live in huts! And African music does not always sound like Sade or Ladysmith BLack Mambazo (although they both are very talented.) We have African rappers like Naeto C, pop stars like the late Brenda Fassie, reggae stars like Alpha Blondy, gospel singers like Kanvee Gaines Adams and even R & B singers like Bracket (Yori Yori is my song, son!!!) and P-Square. And much mush more like D’banj or Emmerson or Yvonne Chaka Chaka or … something. They are so talented. They could each crossover to America.

So that is it for today. It has been a very long time since I posted something. I sohuld write more…

We have done it

I found this really interesting video on the internet. Its got some good pics and songs and everything and it details the journey of the black people from enslavement to now, whhen we have a black president. But, we all have to remember, we got a long ways to go from here.

Praise Jesus

The Lord has done good to me and he shall do good to you as well. Though you may rebuke him, he shall never rebuke you

It is a Good day

I just feel like prasing the Lord. So I decided to post this

Sorry if this is long, but I needed to get all of my points across.

In Maryland, it isn’t everyday you see someone with albinism. But just a few days ago, I saw a young girl, about 16 years old, with the condition. I had known two people (a Jamaican man and an African-American woman) in my life with it, but I had never bothered to ask them about living with albinism. So, yesterday, after talking with her, I finally did. And I am glad to say that I learned something.

For those that don’t know, albinism is caused by 2 recessive genes. These are different from the genes that allow the body to produce melanin, the dark brown pigment in the hair, skin and eyes. This pigment prevents the skin and the eyes from sustaining damage from the sun. The genes that cause the condition cannot make a significant amount of pigment. Thus, the skin is very pale, the hair is fair (ranging from white to reddish blonde) and the eyes are very light (most often ranging from blue to hazel shades, they do not have red or pink eyes). The lack of pigment in the eyes can lead to various disorders, like nystagmus (uncontrollable rapid movements of the eyes) strabismus (cross eyes) poor vision and sensitivity to light. The lack of melanin also leaves the skin susceptible to sun damage. In some cases that damage may lead to melanoma.

Anyways, this girl was very stunning, to say the least. She had full lips, thick hair, light blue eyes, and white skin.  Another thing that I really liked about her was how comfortable she was with having albinism. She barely cared about the several people who were staring at her. She had been called names throughout her life, but now, she rarely cares. She didn’t even refer to albinism as a condition but rather as a blessing. She thanked God everyday for her condition because, in her own words, it gave her a unique beauty.

However, the world does have various views about albinism. People with albinism are sometimes the victims of teases and stares in our judgemental society. They are subjet to names like “albino”. I even thought that “albino” was a term they embraced, because I nevr knew about the negative context. And being a person of color with albinism can carry a tremendous stigma. And this stigma can be see around the world.

Let’s take a quick look at the Caribbean, particularly Jamaica. While that area of the world is seen as a sunny, laid-back paradise, growing up with albinism is certainly tough. Up until recently, albinism was seen as a curse from God. This myth led people with albinism to be treated as lepers, especially in Jamaica.

In Africa the attitudes range from the extremely tolerant to the extremely dangerous. Although many with albinism face several problems, the most severe is skin cancer. The lack of pigment increases the amount of damage done to the skin by the blistering African Sun. And, because most Africans do not need much protection from the sun, skin cream is very expensive and hard to find. Skin Cancer can develop during Adolescence and often kills people with albinism before age 40. Society’s views on albinism are also a major issue. Myths are the maor contributor to these problems. In countries such as Nigeria, Cote D’ivoire, Sierra Leone and Namibia, staring, teasing, and superstitution because of albinism rarely occur.

Girl with Albinism

 But in many regions, these myths can be dangerous. People believe that albinism is a curse or that it is a contagious disease. They are seen as ghosts(zeru zeru in Swahili) or as immortal beings. In Zimbabwe, a myth that sex with a person with albinism can cure HIV/AIDS has led to outbreak of rape and sexual harrasment towards women with the condition. During the apartheid era of South Africa, people with the condition were rejected my whites and blacks, and, to this day seek, there place in society. In Ghana, albinism is an invitation to a pariah status.

Until recently, nations like Ghana and South Africa could be seen as the worst place to have albinism in the world. In Tanzania, a witch doctor started a rumor that people with albinism are not humans. Instead, they are magical beings. And in their flesh, blood, bones, eyes hair, even genitals is a powerful magic, or juju. And if one could harness that black magic, they could have good luck and wealth for life. This is the end result:

People with albinism are being hunted down like animals because of their condition. So far, 50 people have been killed, and only 2, a young girl and a  28-year old single mother, have survived.  The government in Tanzania has been working extremely hard to fight the killers. Something that is certainly difficult. Many Tanzanians trust witch-doctors more than regular physicians. Even members of the government. The government has even appointed a woman named Al-Shymaa Kwegyir with the condition to the Parliament. The killings have spread to Burundi, where moire than a dozen people have been killed. Reports of killings for body parts and blood have been reported as far Benin.

In a world that has claimed to hav evolved from bigotry, it is surprising that people of color with albinism are treated so poorly simply because they are different. But, that doesn’t mean that they cannot succeed. They often do.

Burgess Harrison quickly comes to mind. And, models like Connie Chiu, Diandra Forrest and Shaun Ross are changing the perceptions of beauty.

And people with albinism have had a massive effect on music, from rap (Krondon) to cabaret (M Nahadr) to African Gospel (Jeffrey Zigoma).

Winston Foster (born in 1956 in Negril, Jamaica), or as he is often called “King Yellowman” became the first international superstar of the Dancehall Genre of reggae music. The singer was abandoned by his parents because of his skin color and grew up in extreme poverty. He was separated from society and was subject to cruel names like dundus (patois word literally meaning ghost-man). Christening himself Yellowman  and donning a golden yellow suit, he made full use of the uniqueness that accompanies albinism to become one of Jamaica’s most talented toasters(reggae’s version of a rapper). In 1979, he won a prestigious talent contest and his career took off. His cocky attitude, his powerful flow, and his penchant for witty, funny, and sexually risque, or “slack” lyrics made him a headliner at concerts. Yellow constantly reminded his fans of his sexual prowess, and this led to Yellowman being seen as dancehall’s rudest singer, and its greatest sex symbol. Although he won his share of enemies because of his explicit lyrics, the Original King of the Dancehall gained even more fans. His 1983 hit song “Zungguzunggugguzungguzeng” established his skill on the mic, and has been sampled by rappers like 2Pac, Biggie Smalls, KRS-One, Talib Kweli and Mos Def. In 1984, he became was the first reggae artist to be nominated for a Grammy He soon became the only singer in history to have 7 songs on Jamaica’s reggae charts at one time. He is also the only reggae artist to ever chart better than the legendary Bob Marley.

“The Golden Voice of Mali” Salif Keita was rejected by his family, but managed to achieve high levels of fame in Africa and Abroad. He is a direct ancestor to Sundiata Keita, the founder of the Emperor of Mali. But despite being an aristocrat, he was treated horribly because he was different.  His rise to fame would have looked impossible, after all, his family went broke and had to live on the streets, and his older sister, who also had albinism, died in her 20′s from skin cancer. He was rejected from becoming a teacher, his lifelong goal, and instead became a singer. His crossover came when he performed “Tomorrow” from the soundtrack of the movie Ali. Now, he spends his time working with up and coming Black Parisian Musical Acts. But his true passion is assissting the lives of people with albinism across Africa through the Salif Keita Fund. He even has young child, and a niece with the condition.

So, that is pretty much it.

Arizona’s New Law

Would it be wrong to say that the new law in Arizona will push the state into the Dark Ages? Probably…

Also, would I be exagerrating if I said that the law is as Draconian? Probably…

When a person really thinks about it, they are just concerned for their safety. Citizens do need to be safe. Now that I think about it, the desire to feel protected isn’t at all draconian. It is the method of gaining it that is.

What so many people are asking about this law, that would allow police to arrest anyone they reasonably believed to be an illegal immigrant, is a very simple question that is very hard to answer. That question is this, “What does an illegal immigrant look like?” Illegal Immigrants can be of any race. They can be Canadian, Mexican, Chinese, Angolan, Irish, Lebanese, Australian, Bolivian etc. Any person that enters this country, and is not a citizen, or does not have visa, is illegal. How can you be so sure that that young Latino is came here illegally? That young man from Nigeria that lives across the street might not be a citizen. That young woman that moved from Russia might not be here legally. My parents are immigrants, and they definately aren’t Latinos.

Picture this scenario. You are a Latino of Mexican ancestry. You are a naturalized citizen. In every sense of the word, you are perfectly American. Now assume that you decide to take a jog around the block.  Are you  necessesarily going to take your I.D. with you? Probably not. That could cost you. If a police officer assumes that you are doing something criminal or suspicious, you could be harrassed.

Many people, from both parties, say that this law was a carefully drafted bill designed to protect people from immigrants that could be commiting crimes. That might be true. It probably is. But, what about the people that have to enforce this bill? What will stop a policeman from harrassing Latinos indiscriminately. Nothing. This bill gives police officers the power to discriminate, whether purposefully or not.

There is something that so few people have spoken about. Immigrants (whether naturalized, illegal, or seeking asylum) are less likely to commit a crime in America than a person that was actually born in the US. In fact, the Numbers have decreased, as immigration has increased. According to the FBI’s own statistics, the number of crimes from 2005-2008 went down by 1,500. That may not seem like much, but considering that over the same time period, Arizona’s population grew by 600,000, there is some significance.

A much more serious problem is this. What will Latinos who have seen their family, friends, and neighbors being harassed think of the police? Will they necessarily be willing to cooperate the police. If anything, the police will be seen as the enemy. Could that make the situation of illegal immigration and crime worse? Once Again, probably…

The impacts will be seen over the next few days. But, what do you all think about the new law?

Hi, just doing a little test to see if this really works…

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