Do you know where your roots lie? Do you know what your name means or where it came from? Can you trace your lineage back to where it all began? For many people, the answers to these questions are no. For many African Americans, there is a huge void that has followed their family from generation to generation. Without going into an extended history lesson of the African Slave Trade, I will say this: not knowing where you came from makes it nearly impossible to know who you are. In recent years, many people have decided to trace their family roots and complete the Ancestry.com DNA tests. That’s on my list of things to do this year, but as of late, I’ve been on this search to really uncover the person that I am and who my Creator designed me to be.
You may be wondering what any of this has to do with living in the UAE. Well, I’ll tell you. The Emirati culture is incredibly rich and deeply rooted in the fibers of this country. Everything that is done has a purpose from the names that are chosen for children, to the clothing that is worn by the men and women, and even the festivities that are celebrated. Every single girl in all of my classes can tell me what their name means, why their parents chose that name for them, and how their name fits who they are. It’s fascinating. Very contrary to the names that many people bear solely because their parents had an affinity to a specific alcohol or they were fascinated by a particular car.
Since arriving here, I’ve noticed just how I was cheated by being and growing up in America. I’ve realized how ignorant I have been about things relating to this part of this world, and how I seemingly drank the Kool-aide, as did many of my fellow patriots. Don’t get me wrong; I am a proud American (on most days), but the duality of my being both American and Black have a tendency to clash with one another.
Rambling to be continued…