Several years ago, D.L. Hughley earned a Peabody Award for his Comedy Central special “The Endangered List,” where he documented his efforts to get the black American male placed on the endangered species list. Although it was comedy, he was very serious and for good reasons. An unacceptable amount of our brothers are disenfranchised from society due to criminal records, which leads to being unable to find meaningful work to support themselves or a family, which too often leads to fatherless homes, which too often leads to young boys turning to the streets and getting criminal records, which starts the cycle all over again! Not to mention they’re taking each others’ lives and the lives of innocent bystanders at an unprecedented rate. Statistics show more than 60% of people in prisons today are people of color and black men are six times more likely to be incarcerated than white men.
You may be wondering what this has to do with researching your ancestry, which is the main theme of my posts on this blog. Well, it’s easy to blame the system for targeting our brothers. It’s hard to take personal responsibility for their plight and do something about it. I believe if our brothers (and sisters) knew where their ancestors originated and knew the rich history of their people, they would be more likely to value their lives enough to want to do better and demand others do better by them. Believing our history is limited to slave history, can make us look down on ourselves. It’s no wonder other races look down on us and treat us as if we’re nothing. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves on our heritage, so we can educate others.
Be a part of the solution by helping educate people of color in America on who our ancestors were and our rich history (whether they originated from America or from a country in Africa). First you’ll have to research your own ancestry, then share what you learn with your family. I realize it’s a stretch to say this can possibly turn things around, but it is something when nothing else seems to be working.
I also recommend you find and watch D.L. Hughley’s Comedy Central special, “The Endangered List.”