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Assimilation Print E-mail
Written by Darryl James   
Wednesday, 29 March 2006
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Assimilation
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And poor confused Jones, who spent his entire lifetime as an actor, taking advantage of the divergent Negro sensibilities, took the opportunity to tell the media that there really was no Black culture after all. Since culture was shaped by language, he claimed, our culture was therefore neither African nor Black and he said he felt sorry for anyone who believed otherwise.
How sad did he appear at the end of a brilliant career based upon a culture that he now claims does not exist? At the top of his game, he raised the question of race himself, in an attempt to distance himself from the very thing which spawned his success.

The funkiest conundrum is witnessed in the quest by whites to embrace and appropriate all things hip and cool about Black culture, while silly Negroes seek to distance themselves from it, offering to embrace white America's culture and values, praying to become so indistinguishable from them that they can live in a peace and harmony that was never designed for the sons and daughters of Africa in America.

But yet they try arduously.

Their work is witnessed in the blaming of poor Blacks for their condition as impoverished and oppressed as though they have the singular power and desire to place themselves in the worst possible position in this nation.
And assimilation is not an easy venture. Nor was it during the fifties and sixties, when James Baldwin was in France discussing the issue with African descendants from around the globe.

"It was not a question, on the one hand, of simply being swallowed up, of disappearing in the maw of Western culture," said Baldwin. "Nor was it, on the other hand, a question of rejecting assimilation in order to be isolated within African culture. Neither was it a question of deciding which African values were to be retained and which European values were to be adopted. Life was not that simple."

The true and perfect goal for the African the world over, should be to assimilate into a world African culture that could sustain us and even propel us to the forefront of the world, forcing all other cultures to come to us in earnest for that which they now appropriate by force or by de facto societal standards.

At that point, we would no longer be held hostage by a need to fit into the white world, but by a need to define our own world even if that definition is the universal impetus to no longer be controlled in any way by white culture or white people.

But sadly, some of us are so weak in the mind that resistance is futile.

  • Darryl James is an award-winning author and is now a filmmaker. His first mini-movie, Crack, was released in March of this year.
  • James’ latest book, "Bridging The Black Gender Gap," is the basis of his lectures and seminars.
  • Previous installments of this column can now be viewed at www.bridgecolumn.com. James can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .
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