No one fits title ‘African-American’

Published 12:20 am Monday, October 1, 2007

The fossil record, DNA tracking, and other scientific endeavors are irrefutably clear — man first developed in Africa. Upon losing most of his body hair and tough hide, it became necessary to protect early man from the intense tropical sun. This was accomplished by producing an abundance of a dark pigment in the skin called melanin. Producing dark skin casts a “shade” upon the underlying tissues and protects them from intense UV rays. Moreover, it protects light-sensitive compounds such as Folic Acid while allowing in enough sunlight to produce Vitamin D.

The record continues: Man migrated up the Rift Valley and Nile River into Egypt and ultimately into Northern Europe and the Orient.

As he migrated from the tropics, sunlight was at a more oblique angle and was less intense. More light was needed to enter his skin for Vitamin D production and it was no longer necessary to protect Folic Acid so stringently in the diminished rays, and he became less dark.

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People who remained in the tropics or who returned there were black. Those who migrated from the tropics became less black (brown). People in Northern Europe became white. This relationship of skin color to sunlight intensity from black, to varying shades of brown, to white, proceeded throughout all people around our planet. It was a slow process, taking millions of years to occur. Rapid transportation and having offspring of parents with different skin tones has given a rapid redistribution of all shades on a global scale.

The word “African-American” is redundant. Since all of us can trace our roots ultimately back to Africa, we are all of African origin. Because no member of my immediate family still lives there, I am no longer an African. Since my family and I live in America, we are simply Americans.

People try to assign their cultural mores to their skin color — it’s impossible. It’s like attempting to be an apple because you’re red. We are black, brown, or white, and we are all Americans.

Because we are of a different skin color does not allow that we impose our culture on others or allow us to live a separate life style. We all must live by the same American rules and teach them to our children. We must all obey the same American laws.

We must all attend American schools using the same American language. It falls upon us as parents (mother and father) to see that our children take full advantage of their school system. We must assist them in making good decisions for this, along with education, will prevent them from living their entire lives in abject poverty.

For those (black, brown or white) in America who insist on showing allegiance to a foreign country by hyphenating their names, I think, should return to the home of their progenitors, Africa.

There, they can live on the open savannahs with the lions and hyenas as their ancestors did and call themselves by their correct cognomen — “American-Africans.”

Ed Field

Natchez resident