An Open Letter to My White Stepmom

My Thing Is: My political ideologies have been categorized as quasi-militant and fully radical. I want everyone in my family—of any ethnicity—to understand where I’m coming from. I’m not a bigot. I just care about my people. 

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I'm doing this because I feel I have to. You see, the Afrikan in America is disenfranchised and highly marginalized. We do not have an abundance of community-based institutions that protect so many of our most vulnerable from having our human rights violated. It is for this reason that in many urban settings, Afrikan people have been viciously targeted for economic exploitation. And I don't mean subtle economic exploitation; I mean overt and inarguable economic exploitation.

Under my worldview, I am committed to thinking of "we" before me. My friend is not my friend; he is my brother—and I am my brother's keeper.

And speaking of Afrika, you are probably wondering why I have been spelling it with a "k" and not a "c." Simply put, I believe the name "Africa" is an affront to the indigenous people of Alkebulan (the region of the world now commonly referred to as "Africa"). The word "Africa" comes from the name of a Roman general named Scipio Africanus. I refuse to knowingly adhere to this colonial relabeling.

History has shown that pro-Afro sentiment is often skewed and presented as anti-white. 

To some, this thinking is controversial. As I mentioned before, I have been receiving backlash for some of the information I post in our blog and social media forums. I've even been called racist. That's to be expected. History has shown that pro-Afro sentiment is often skewed and presented as anti-white. It's a tool of the right and those who would oppose equality and "justice for all." You have never implied that I am a bigot, but I don't want you to worry that I am.

For me, self-determination is truly living with the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—not just nominally. I will work for this and I will live for this. My efforts will help further a world that does not perceive Afrika as a resource to be exploited, a world that does not see young men of color as potential slaves for the prison industrial complex, and a world where the transmission of Afrocentric ideas and blogs is not stifled by the fear of compromising one's employability. As your stepson, I want you understand, and I hope I can count on your support.

Hannibal Pace blogs at Free Breakfast Apparel, where the original version of this piece appeared.

We want to hear your story. Send pitches for My Thing Is, a forum for personal narratives by The Root’s readers and contributors, to MyThingIs@theroot.com.

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