Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I had a conversation with an old friend about the significance one's Name. He has decided to get one of those DNA tests done to pinpoint his beginnings- his African beginnings. He says it is time to re-name himself in his own language, his own image and let go that of a slave.

Years ago, I had attended a conference on African Genetics and Geneology. The subject, of course, was the significance new advances in DNA technology and how they could impact the African American's understanding of Him/Herself (I say America because the conference focused in on the United States, however I feel that this discussion encompassed Africans across the planet displaced by the slave experience). What can DNA tell us about ourselves that we do not already know? Can our Africaness be changed, altered, diminished, emboldened by the advances of Western technology?

Name carries so much meaning; it ties us, binds us, holds us up to Creation. I am glad he is thinking about the roots of is existence, taking what belongs to him; the Truth. I begin to think of how my own name has helped me find my way.
My father chose my name at a time in his life when he was also seeking out Truth - my birth, he says, triggered the need to rid himself and his children of a slave identity, and so he made the decision to bring my brother and I up out of out of this debasement by reclaiming our Name... and so I was given a name that comes out of the dreams of my Father and the mouth of my Mother. It has and continues to be my sword and shield.

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