Tag Archives: Def Poetry Jam

Smokey Robinson, American-American

Smokey Robinson’s sentiments, in this Def Poetry Jam piece, mirror what I’ve been blogging about in my posts.  He hits the major points head on!  However, I’d like to bring some clarity to the “Black” reference.  Self-identifying as “Black” does not connect you with a nationality because it is a color (more like a concept) and your nationality is what determines your legal status.  This becomes important if you ever have to fight for your human rights at the international level, which is what our people should be doing.

Black doesn’t even mean what we think it means.  The original definitions for the word “black,” which can be found in the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster, include:  pale; to become pale; to turn white; to bleach; to lighten.  This sounds more like a description of the Europeans who found us here.  At one point, Smokey referred to himself as an “American-American.”  This is how I choose to identify myself.

Know Better:
Here is where I would include a link to the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster so you can see the definition for the word “black,” but the on-line version conveniently excludes the entries I mentioned.  You may be able to get your hands on the hard copy version at your local library, if your interested in seeing it for yourself.  Otherwise, you can view the images from my copy below.

Definition of Black 1828 Dictionary

Do Better:
Find out who you are by researching those who came before you.  Then, and only then, can you truly be proud of who you are like Smokey Robinson expressed in his spoken words.