Editor’s Comment: This article was originally printed in the Nov./Dec. 1993 issue of Destiny Magazine and reprinted in Speak Up America in December 1993 with permission at the time. It was billed as a magazine for the “New Black American Mainstream” (black conservatives). Because it was conservative, it needed to be read by all Americans. The magazine offered a point of view the national media would never allow Americans, especially white Americans, to see. I don’t know when Destiny went out of business, but I’ve lost track of its publisher Emanual McLittle for a while now. He was a friend of mine and appeared on the first Speak Up America, the Television Show back on March 26th 1994.
Still Colored After All These Years
By Anita Wilson, December 1993
About twenty-five years ago people of color underwent one of many name changes. With little announcement the change from being referred to as Coloreds, a name I saw as rather descriptive of our motley crew, who come in skin tones of every hue imaginable, to suddenly being called “black” was traumatic, to say the least. It was like coming home from school as a little girl and finding the house you lived in empty and your family gone—with no word.
In the past two decades I have witnessed many so-called spontaneous changes take place in the colored community, some of which have not been for the better.
The 70s came and with it the dawn of political correctness along with the emergence of another name change to African-American. As before, that same old feeling of violation wrapped itself around me. Like someone else’s coat, it still doesn’t feel right. After all these years I have discovered exactly why.
Historians write that names carry meaning. A name, a century ago at least, was much more than a nice sound. It was usually descriptive of one’s character. When a person’s name changed it was at a time when life changed for them. This bit of historical principal laid the groundwork for the troubling insight that dawned on me when I looked at the time period in which we changed our name.
There was no coincidence that our name changed from colored to “black” in the tumultuous 60s. Far from being a good name change, riots rage-killings, and a tremendous upswing in self-inflicted violence settled in the “new black community.” It seemed that in one year we lost all our dignity. Our modesty was instantly replaced with an arrogance that so changed us that we could now be identified by our walk, without ever seeing our faces. We became proud of broken English, our inability to achieve became a badge of honor and our names went to the top of the pop charts and not over the entrance gates of hospitals or factories. In fact we deteriorated.
Oddly, the imposition of the term “black” was accompanied by a philosophy that was designed to put us in opposition to the dominant mainstream society. From this point on in our history it became easy to recognize the leftist trademark in the “new” principles that now governed us. Looking back, this mysterious new collectivist mindset was their tool to reduce a group of people to an amorphous blob.
We became a prototype to test the political tools that would eventually be used to arrest and take captive the remainder of the country, beginning with subtle name changes.
Never mind that many of our older people, especially, disapproved of the name as well as the inward changes that marked us. When liberalism swung into gear, pulling us as by a political ball and chain, it was all systems go and dissenters be damned. People, including myself, who objected to the change from colored to black were instantly silenced as being “anti civil rights.” It was during this period that Martin Luther King’s presence was strong, black radicals flanked by white feminists were the talk of MacNeil/Lehrer Report, bell bottoms and afro hairdos dominated the landscape. Underneath, however, a rapidly changing moral structure eroded our social sinew. We listened to Marvin Gaye sing to us about the virtues of “gettin it on,” while our political hypnotists conditioned us to think, act, and vote their way—and even to curse those within our own race who dared to suggest otherwise. But this was nothing compared to what was waiting in the next name change.
Every ethnic/racial group has its hypocrisies and conceits. People of color are no different. It was around 1982 when Jesse Jackson and his Marxist cohorts decided that the term “Black” was no longer good enough. Now we would be called African-American. Think again if you believe that this was some upward leap in black consciousness. The modes operandi had not changed. Accompanying this new political attitude was a deep resentment of all things American. The name change to African-American actually ushered in the era of the gang, 9mms, and Uzis. A social bomb hit so hard that we now wink at the number of us killed by us. We did not then nor do we now have the resources to promote this politically correct logo change. It is the very same media, in the hands of white liberals, who continue to promote the name and its hidden ideals on radio, TV, in newspapers, and school textbooks.
The name African American implies some sort of connection to Africa. Yet, we are now mixed with various other bloods and are as far removed from all things African as are Europeans. In fact, we are more European than anything else, and all our phony thrashing to be something else will not change this biological fact. Ruth Hamilton, a professor at Michigan State University said in a recent Los Angeles Times article, “I don’t think we can say that there is any mass-based movement among blacks to call themselves African-Americans.” She is one of many who have seen after more than ten years that the name African-American is strong only among the political elite, media, students and academicians. Most of us have rejected this name change.
Is it not interesting how quickly other ethnics come to America and loose their ethnicity. Orientals would never tolerate being called yellow. One would be asking for a fight to call an Indian, “red.” The American media does not make any attempt to “identify” other groups in this manner. Others quickly become Americans and so it should be with blacks, or African-Americans, or coloreds or whatever.
We simply have too much variety and genetic diversity to be stuck inside Pandora’s box. It’s funny how the “diversity” movement puts so much emphasis on differences between groups while trying to suppress differences within a group. Instead of insisting on an “Emperor’s New Clothes” approach and denying what is obvious to the naked eye, why not simply enjoy the richness of all the colors, sizes, shapes and hair textures that make up our group. Fighting over who is or isn’t black enough is stupid and a waste.
In the meantime, I am claiming the right to define myself by whatever term feels most comfortable. Therefore, I am “still colored after all these years.”