One dark body

Jason MacMaster
AFAS 300 Essay #2
February 16, 2000

Two Ideals In One Dark Body
One race, enslaved for hundreds of years and taken away from their homeland, only to awake in foreign territories completely conflicting with their racial and native cultural heritage. The Africana heritage is a deep, intrinsic one with roots tied to the earliest know human existence, but within today\'s society, their ancestry has been created to be multi-cultural and shifted away from their original identity. But identity, with its prismatic and multi-layered dimensions which include racial, cultural, gender, national, and transnational ideals - is a precarious and contested category. The African identity wasn\'t always this perverse or questioned. With the development of America, many different races were formed and rearranged to fit the norms and standards of the new land, which was thought to be superior. Do you think the Africana people wanted to be taken out of their land, out of their heritage, out of their culture, to assimilate within a society not like anything they had ever seen or probably wanted to see? Du Bois, W.E.B., a black American historian and sociologist, put it perfectly when he made a statement on the ambiguity of the black identity: "One feels his two-ness - An American, a Negro, two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings, two warring ideals in one dark body." This is describing the Africana experience within America and expressing an effort that black Americans were attempting to reconcile with their Africana heritage with their pride in being U.S. citizens. The pride, though in today\'s society might hold true - was originally a forced pride in an attempt to declare that this was the land of the free and brave, but hey, for now you are the slaves with no rights.
Africana cinema deals with all of these aspects within the films. Through the films, some express black identity with political struggles to reject racism and imperialism in the United States, as well as throughout the world. Other films might display the heritage within African tribes that have not been strongly affected or diseased by the outer worlds. The tribes might practice female circumcision, and though this might not accepted by your average relativist, this is their cultural heritage. When one conceptualizes Africana ideals, they might even think about the exigency of black power, racial conflicts, and hatred, but these were all concepts that spawned from oppression which the white American people created. That is why all of these aspects of the Africana cinema have recently come out from the depths of the African community. The world needs to view Africana cinema as not literally an art form (i.e. Western cinema), but as an expression of feelings and emotions that have been repressed for so many years which are compiled by African people. Identity depends on the culture to such a great extent that the immersion in a very different culture - with which a person does not share common ways of life or beliefs - can cause a feeling of shock and disorientation. It is time for Africans to manifest this oppressed disorientation. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia99 "Du Bois, W.E.B." pg.1


Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia99 "Du Bois, W.E.B." pg.1