Kiss me! I am African-American!

Submitted by lmcshane on Tue, 05/26/2009 - 02:13.

Recently, at an east-side establishment, I overheard an employee get ridiculed by her coworkers for identifying herself as an Italian-American.  Her coworker snickered,"You aren't Italian, you are Black!" But, the woman stood her ground.  "I am African-American and I am Italian-American, and I am proud of my heritage."  It was a heartwarming moment to me. 

The best part of us can often be attributed to the traditions we identify with as our "group." But, it's not a simple die-test.  Cultural pride in a group also transcends nationality--it can be defined by a street, state, city, history, neighborhood, a religion or sexual orientation.   More often than not, we stigmatize groups rather than recognizing the joyous traditions of family, music, art, love and, above all, food unique to each group.  We also forget that we all  belong to the group identified as immigrants.  Every one of us---every one of us.  Our time on this planet is finite and no one owns it.  So, we must make the most of it.  Envy folks who can throw back their heads and can laugh, sing, stomp, and shout out "to LIFE" in any language.

The summer months in NEO, especially, give us all an opportunity to enjoy the wonderful complexities offered by family traditions that transcend nationality and boundaries.   At the same time, we need to keep our languages, music and respective cultures alive in Northeast Ohio by preserving the heritage found in our restaurants, churches, synagogues, mosques, cemeteries, social halls and schools.  Support the parades, festivals and home-day community events that define us.

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Do the Right Thing at 20 years

  Glad I caught this radio program today.  Give it a listen--funny how the commentator mentions how women in the movie were just place holders...fight the power! :)

Fellowship and family

In light of our horrorific recent history, I really hope that there is some joy found in fellowship with family and cultural heritage and traditions. I am grateful that REALNEO has allowed me to tell some of my story here in Northeast Ohio. 

If there is anything that gives me hope, it is a widening and acceptance in the definition of "family" in America.  We can all do better by each other.