Lifestyle · Personal

Mirrors

Gazing at the mirror examining my features I see a heritage that boast of a myriad of races.

By: Nicole Bedford

© 2013

In my mind’s eye I peer at the reflection of my ancestors and an echo marches through time. Who am I? I am a child of a continent that I have never seen? Is my identity intertwined with this mass of land that my ancestors were born of? Or, is it more fitting to say that I am a mirror image of mother earth herself, because my skin is the color of earth? Gazing at the mirror examining my features I see a heritage that boast of a myriad of races. How then can you say that I am only what my skin says I am?

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If I gaze hard enough and project the lens of my eyes to mirror the fine focus of a microscope I can see the hint of other races in the shape of my eyes, the line of my jaw and the roundness of my face. I suppose you would say that I am a traitor to my race if I do not pledge fealty to Africa, because it is the land of my ancestral fathers and mothers? However, has history, paleontology, anthropology, and genetics not taught us that all humans were birthed in Africa?  That the very inception of Homo sapiens grew out the womb of that great mother. If we hold this to truth then why are Black people in the Western World so egotistical about their origins in Africa? Is it because the scattering of our race to the Western part of the world was not voluntary? If we had migrated to the Americas of our own merit in hopes of a new life, would our loyalty to our ancestors have been so pertinent? If slavery did not happen would our reflection in the mirror hold a different meaning to us?

Slavery has always been the crutch of black societies in the western world, and the plight of Blacks centuries after has been blamed time and time again on the very institution.

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Slavery has always been the crutch of black societies in the western world, and the plight of Blacks centuries after has been blamed time and time again on the very institution. It would be remiss of me if I did not say that the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was one of the great atrocities in Human history, or that Plantation Slavery in the New World did not leave catastrophic implications in its wake that has reverberated throughout the centuries since its abolition. However, the concept of slavery predated the 17th– 19th Century events that occurred in the Americas. It is quite interesting that we forget that our own ancestors sold us into slavery. For we were a free people, and when the Europeans came the Tribal chiefs sold their people without a backward glance. For who was more notorious for slaves than the Ancient Egyptians? It seems that this problem of racial inequality was spawned from within ourselves. We were sold into shackles and chains by our own people, and through the fighting of people outside of our race we found our freedom. So why centuries later are we still being held in bondage by the color we see when we look in the mirror?

When I look at my reflection in the mirror, I see a woman that is more than just the pronouncement of melanin in her skin.

I feel privileged to have grown up in a society and a time where being black are not a bane to human society. I have always been proud of my heritage and like many of course I empathized with the woes and tribulations that were placed upon my ancestors that were slaves. However, though I may empathize with them, I could never fathom what it was like to walk a day in their shoes. Nor will I forget the significance of slavery, the ramifications thereof or the parties that were responsible. I do know that the people that aided and abetted slavery were Africans and Europeans alike; and those people have long transcended from the world of the living. Therefore I refuse to allow the shackles of yester year to hold any purchase on my thought processes. For it is one thing to be free, and know you are free and another to be free but held captive by either self-imposed mental slavery or societies.

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I am a multifaceted sentient being with a spirit and soul encased in an earthly covering. Racial parameters will not define me.

When I look at my reflection in the mirror, I see a woman that is more than just the pronouncement of melanin in her skin. My eyes behold an individual with boundless possibilities, a myriad of talents and a healthy sense of self. I do not wish to be a person that is controlled by the parameters placed on them by Society’s mirror image of who they are. Black is not who I am. African is surely not who I am. My nationality is not who I am. These things are only labels used to categorize me into a box that only holds aesthetic value. I refuse to view myself as such, and I will not allow others to view me based on what they see. I am a multifaceted sentient being with a spirit and soul encased in an earthly covering. Racial parameters will not define me.

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When I look into the world’s mirror I do not see what they would intend for me to see. I only see the reflection of what I intend them to see. More importantly when I look in to the mirror in my mind’s eye I see an amazing woman that can be anything she wants to be. A woman that lives with passion, confidence, optimism, imagination, and without abandon. When I look in the mirror forged by lightning and sand I see me.

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