We celebrate Black Heritage this month in schools and colleges all over the country, and yet there is A Girl Like Me . Watch this 7 minute documentary to get a feel of what it means to grow up 'black' in this country.
The documentary confirms that no amount of media propaganda, or the classroom readings about famous African Americans can really make a significant difference in the lives of young black males and females who grow up, still perceiving themselves as victims, or as being inferior to another. Why does that continue to happen, and how does one change that? How do you develop a 'self esteem'? What does it take to feel better, to feel comfortable with who you are? Is it even possible to grow and then nurture a 'self esteem'? Why do some groups have this 'self esteem', and others don't, or if they do, why is it such a fragile commodity?
The answers to these questions would also justify the overusage of the word 'heritage' in this very young nation. Why are we so obsessed with peoples past, their 'heritage'; defined in the dictionary as "something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth; an inherited lot or portion". The past is important in only so far as it lends meaning and purpose to our present. To get fixated on a past that only serves to fragment the present and does not in any way strengthen a people, is a past worth letting go of. This may sound harsh and extreme, but it may still be something worth trying. To lend weight to my argument I'd like to quote Maya Angelou, an African American of respected and proven mettle, who also believes that 'beauty' in a person is directly related to taking accountability for ones present: