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Oppression in Tradition?

The African American Journey

By Chris RicksPublished 3 years ago 5 min read
Photo by Rui Silvestre on Unsplash

There are many old traditions including, superstitions, tall tales, and myths passed down through the generations. At some point during their creation, they held value and substance. However, as time passed on, these traditions turned into campfire stories, then bedtime stories and eventually the true meaning becomes lost in translation.

Within the African diaspora, there are many traditions that were lost to the seas that separated families, friends, neighbors, communities, villages and even countries. These seas hosted much of the pain and anguish the early enslaved blacks faced as they awaited their fate in the hull of a European vessel.

The black people taken by force from many different countries across the continent we have come to know as Africa and its collective people known as African lost their identity once the shackles were placed on their hands and feet. Their names were wiped away, their linage interrupted, and people who were once great in their own nations became the property of others.

Among all that was lost, their heritage, traditions, languages, and relationships. They were bred to create the greatest strongest slaves and their lives were little to no value. They were easily sold or destroy if the owner no longer saw their worth.

The religions, traditions, and names were passed on to the owner’s property and they were forced to adopt it. This continued for hundreds of years until finally, the owners saw that ownership of slaves wouldn’t be valuable much longer, so they decided to free the Africans.

Free them to fend for themselves in the society that they built free of charge. Set free and have to survive in an economy controlled and owned by their previous owners who hated their very existence. Yet they were resilient. With no education, or even the ability to read, these Africans, once referred to as Negro, colored people, and now African Americans endured a barrage of psychological warfare highlighted by segregation and the Jim Crow laws, beatings, lynching, murder, burning of their homes, churches and places of business, they still endured.

After all the ashes blew away and we sit and reflect on the past. We notice something very noteworthy, young African descendants wear a head tie on their head. It’s a tradition passed down through slavery where black women were made to cover their heads to hide their beauty and not to offend their white slave master’s wife or children. Overtime the tradition of wearing a scarf to cover the head is a symbol within the black community as a necessity to keep their hair from becoming damaged.

Young black men are raised to become athletes as a way to help their families out of poverty. The young black man does not have the slightest idea that the gifts and talents that he possesses are things that was actually manufactured by white slave masters. Slave masters bred blacks to create strong health workers for their fields and other focus areas.

Their great vocals, rhythm, and musical gifts are all things that were useful to slave ship captains and crews to keep the slaves in better spirit and also seen as a form of exercise as they were transported and dispersed around the globe. The same way blacks were bred to become strong and fast; these talents were passed on in that process.

These gifts of music, song, and dance were all used as a way to communicate with one another. Now we can African style of drums and dance in almost every form of modern music.

Once you complete your song and dance, there is nothing left to do but to eat. The enslaved people were given the undesirable parts of the animal to prepare for themselves while masters and overseers took the quality portion. These scraps were turned into delicacies that people enjoy around the world. We have come to know this as soul food.

During Thanksgiving, a tradition that was forced onto slaves and now adopted into the black community, black people serve their very best recipes of chicken, (including dishes with the feet, neck, and gizzards), pigs feet, pigs tail, chitterlings or pig intestine, cow feet, oxtails, collard greens and many more dishes that have become a huge part of the black culture and traditions.

While uneducated and free, blacks took on the role of slave master within their own families and treated their spouse and children just as slave masters treated them. This was all they knew and the tradition of whipping their children and wives were passed on. Today, we see this played out in many black families as discipline, they often quote the very Bible that was forced onto them that if they “spare the rod, they spoil the child.” Over time, whites have strayed away from that form of punishment and labeled it as abuse or domestic violence.

This domestic violence became central in the black family separation tactic. When enforcing a domestic violence call the officers are not there to mediate an issue. They are there to make arrests. The victim? Black men. The justice system continues the separation tactic by ordering or trying to force the black woman to testify against the black man. Keeping him locked away and separated from his family.

With the father gone, the children become swallowed by the streets. Mother becomes overwhelmed and depressed because she has to maintain the home by herself and depression leads to the use of drugs or other abusive relationships. She can’t call the police this time because this new man will be locked away. And so, the cycle begins.

Chris Ricks-

A veteran of the United States Marine Corps with a bachelor’s in computer science, and minor in business administration, and 98% complete with a master’s in psychology is the president of PCGAMERBOYS,INC dba GAMESTATION Located in Queens, NY. He has been writing articles for several years with many published articles and one published book ( The Adventures of Randy Dugan) which is available on Amazon. You can Chris Ricks on Instagram @chrisricksauthor. If you enjoyed this article please support by leaving a tip, share this article, and read some of my other articles.


About the Creator

Chris Ricks

Father, writer, activist, motivational speaker. God first. Follow me IG: @chrisricksauthor Twitter: @chrisricks FB:

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