They want us to forget that millions of our ancestors claimed a homeland. The motherland. Then placed in chains, forced to undergo chattel slavery. They don’t want us to remember that no one else can speak of a taintedness like this. A forced migration. They ask, why do we still bring up the past. Yet presently our outward appearance still angers them. They needed us to not look so dark, so loud, so strong, so nappy. They want us to fit in the way they visualize the “American Dream.” They want us modernized because they see us as undeveloped and uncivilized. What’s our dream?
Undeveloped and Uncivilized Abroad
Every slave ship didn’t land in North America. We can’t ignore that many of our ancestor’s ships landed on the shores of Brazil. Yes, many Brazilians and Columbians are embracing their African ancestry. Our skin tone, and our natural hair.
Does that embracement flood over to Argentina where several slave ships landed also? It doesn’t seem so. When asked by several Argentinians, you will even hear that no black people live in Argentina. How can this be? Before the 20th Century Blacks accounted as a large number in Argentina. Buenos Aires happens to be known as one of the cities that housed a large population of Africans. Now described as the whitest place in South America.
Where did we all go? Slavery in North America supposedly ended in 1865. In South America, Brazil the last country to “free” all their slaves, ended in 1888 over twenty years later. Many black men died in our Vietnam war. Many say that during this war officials chose the black men first to stand on the frontline. In the Argentina war of 1865, similar actions took place. Black men also fought on the front line of this war. A lot of historians believe the death during the wars lead to intermixing and a major reason why no Africans exist in Argentina any longer. Now only one-third of the population account as black.
Getting Rid of Our Essence
Leaders such as ex-president of Argentina Domingo Sarmiento (1811-1888) and Juan Bautista Alberdi (1810-1884) argued that the republic was at a crossroads in the 1840s. In order to progress, Argentina had to let go of barbarism and welcome civilization. In order to do this, they stressed the need for European immigration in order to make Argentina a modern country………..Sarmiento encouraged miscegenation. He argued the mulatto (mixture between black women and white men) would incorporate the brute force of the African and the intellect of the European and slowly rid the population of “African blood.”
They want to tame us, put us in the background, and recreate us! Why. Are we undeveloped and uncivilized? We must be because every time they use the word modern it isn’t to describe us. In school they want us to wear normal hairstyles. But in who do we judge normality. They want us to be ashamed of our Ebonics! Yet, language is powerful among its people. As we forget they will steal and claim our essence as their own. Argentina may have one of the whitest cities now, but it had one of the biggest black populations before. We are gone but not forgotten.
Tango a dance that still stands in the culture of the country is ours. A dance that formed from the slave people, meaning closed space in West Africa, shelters our sorrows. Morocha! Is what they may yell at you queen as you walk the Argentina streets. Keep your stride. Hold your head high. Tango away and dream your dreams.