C. Lionel Spencer
Who are you? Who am I? As we grow and mature, we search for traits in our character that make us, us. We ask ourselves what is it that makes us unique and separates us from the rest. We realize that we are brilliant in mathematics, or that we have thing for humor, or that we are deeply connected to the earth. Then we look around at our neighborhoods, or immediate families, and began to feel a sense of self. We are like no other, right?
But the idea of being an individual, or breaking away from the norm is a very western idea. In most African cultures religion and professions, among many other things are passed down from generation to generation. As African Americans I believe we embrace being American all too easily, and forget the blood that still runs through our veins. Even with all our changes, from slavery until now, we are still more African than we would like to admit. I believe we are still in many ways a reflection of our families past.
Think about what you believe, why you believe it and how you came to believe it! Consider what drives you and what you are passionate about! Ask yourself, am I the only person in my entire family who’s ever thought like this? Some will justifiably say yes, given that they don’t know much about their family history. But before you once again default on being a unique American, let me first share with you some of my story. Afterward I challenge you to look through your own family history, dead or alive, and find out who you really are.
I am a 26 year old African American man who was raised in the South Bronx of New York. I am a writer and an artist who aspires to become a Creative Writing Professor, because I’m so unique right? Well, about a year ago I found out that music runs through my family like the Nile River. My great grandfather, Henry Scott Sr, was a musician who owned a night club in Georgia, and was a professor at Savannah State University. He played various instruments including the guitar and the saxophone while teaching algebra.
Who would have known four generations before me stood a relative in my family who I share similar passions with. Many of our youth today pride themselves in being so different, that they turn their backs on their own families. Instead of searching and embracing the many similarities that will be found within their history, they remove themselves from it.
So who am I? I guess, Corey Lionel Spencer’s, a piece of Henry Scott in many ways. And I’m pretty sure after much more digging I will be a distant aunt or cousin or brother too.
So let me ask, do you know the men and women that came generations before you? Speak to your mothers and fathers and aunts, because I’m pretty sure if and when you journey back you will find you, maybe a little less refined, but still you.
C. Lionel Spencer is a New York resident and writer, who is devoted to using his talent of writing to move our world community forward.
Check out his blog, an allegory of life, at http://percepperspectnpeople.blogspot.com.