Well you have reached the last post of my blog, and I hope that you have seen the shaping, and embracing of identity of the African American. They have gone from a slave, being reduced to nothing, bought and sold as property to proud of their identity. Some have shaped the Black identity by rising up and becoming abolitionists of slavery such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, and Harriet Tubman. The African American identity has been embraced by activists such as Malcolm X. First, I will be talking about Oprah Winfrey, one of the most influential, most loved, respected, and valued individuals in television, and in the world. Millions of people tune in to the Oprah Winfrey Show daily, valuing everything she has to say. Oprah was born into poverty in Mississippi in 1954. Her family was divided and she suffered many hardships such as sexual abuse as a child. Being a black woman in society, normally reduced to menial jobs when she was beginning her career, she did not have the greatest chance of success in life. African Americans often had their identities taken from them and their potentials along with it. For Oprah, she made something powerful out of herself and followed her calling. She did not let anyone reduce her to less than she was. Oprah, is a prime modern day example of the African American identity, an identity that has risen out of slavery and out of oppression. In this video clip, on Oprah’s last show in 25 years in television, Oprah is absolutely confident and free to speak her mind, share life lessons and give her opinion and worldview with millions of people to value what she says. On this day, Oprah Winfrey is a leader in America.
This is a portion of Barack Obama’s speech on racism in Philadelphia, during the 2008 campaign. In this speech, Obama acknowledges the roots of African American mistreatment in America. When he speaks of Reverend Wrights caustic comments on the treatment of African Americans by fellow Americans, Obama indicates that the issue of racism has not yet been solved. Reverend Wright, and others of this time, still have memories of the segregated and inferior schools of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Obama goes on to quote William Faulkner who said, “the past is not dead and buried, in fact, it is not even past.” The bitterness of unequal opportunity haunts the black community in America, and fuels racism passed from generation to generation. Though there was much debate on whether the President of the United States should be an African American, “on January 20 2009, Obama took the oath of office as the forty-fourth president of the United States and, for so many Americans, validated centuries of struggle by African Americans” (Gates 442). Barack Obama was elected into Presidency for his desire for change. To change the economy, change health care, change education, and change the face of racism in America, to name a few.
It is important to note that I have included Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama in my blog not to show that black people have potential to be influential leaders of America, but to show that African American people are proud of their culture and their nationhood. For centuries, society has held the false impression that black people should not have equal rights, and stereotypes and prejudices have been passed down from generation to generation about the black race. The Oprah Winfrey Show inspired so many around the world with discussions such as racism, sexual abuse, validation, and much, much, more. The fact is Oprah is a black woman, proud of her culture, who stands firm in her beliefs and does not let anyone tell her otherwise. She stands firm with who she is, and is not fearful of expressing her opinion. Barack Obama was elected into Presidency for his desire for change. To change the United States economy, change health care, change education, and change the face of racism in America, to name a few. Barack Obama, and Oprah Winfrey, have essentially shaped and definitely embraced their identity as African Americans.
Gates, Henry Louis Jr. “Life Upon These Shores”. Looking at the African American History. Alfred A Knopf. New York: 2011. Print.