So during the Christmas holidays, BET (Black Entertainment Television) annually televises Alex Haley’s Roots. The highly recognized drama gives an account of his (our) ancestors’ existence in Africa and their subsequent life in the United States as slaves. It’s a generational account from a somewhat historical standpoint. Lost in the story is how people of color began studying Christianity. Prior to being brought to the Americas, people of color worshipped their own deities. It wasn’t until they were stripped of the language, culture & names, were they forced to adapt to their new lifestyle. One of these adaptions was being introduced to religion. Religion was a method to placate slaves and used as a means of control. In some instances, when the “labor force” was taught the ability to read, the first publication they were introduced to was the Holy Bible. Hence forth, that sometimes overlooked aspect of the television series, as Kunta Kinte AKA Toby would pray to Allah as opposed to Jesus Christ, would now prove to be the linchpin that holds a race in place.
How did you become a republican or democrat? Was it of your own doing by learning the democratic process in Social Studies or American Government? How did you choose your religion; Baptist, Methodist, Islamic faith, whatever? Was it your idea to begin attending church or Sunday school at a young age? I pose these questions to show that many of the beliefs we have, whether political, spiritual or following a sports franchise, aren’t consciously made by us using rationale. They’re made for us generationally. Long after slaves ships arrived on the banks of the Southeast Atlantic region, from great, great, great grandmothers to the present, whatever religion they believed, you also believed. Whatever political party they were aligned with, you had to register and do the same. An example of this would be that people of color use to be republicans until the mid to late 60’s. It could have been a result of Lyndon B. Johnson signing Civil Rights litigation; or Richard Nixon’s implementation of “Southern Strategy”, from that point forward, an entire race became Democrats despite the issues or the intent of the candidates in the election process; interesting to say the least.
The point of this is at birth we’re all born atheist. We have no concept of religion, racial disparities, political affiliations, anything until it’s taught. All of the results thereafter are learned behaviors. Some people can step outside the box and use all the information available to make conscious decisions regarding their faith, marital views and interactions. Those people go against the norms of society and use rational thinking and logic. So if they chose to practice a particular faith based on their research of the other religions, I respect that. If some choose to align themselves with one political party or be an independent based on their research, I’m cool with that. However, I can’t accept someone being a part of something or feeling a certain type of way based on the fact that, “It has to be! That’s the way I was taught or that’s all I know”. Just like with people, if you don’t know their entire story, how can you judge them based on appearance, speech or hearsay? Who religion is the best? Is it Christianity because we leave in America? Is it Islam because their residency in the Middle East? Is it Hindu or Buddhism because they reside in another part of the world? Wars have been fought over religion and political views since their advent! Make decisions based on your own thought process as opposed to those passed on by others. It’s ok not to swim with the school of fish; be your own person. “We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)
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