what does an american look like?

At the end of June, I visited another volunteer’s site to give a charla (a talk) about Black American Culture. The other volunteers that presented were a Mexican American and a Jewish American. It was so great! A lot of Dominicans think that all Americans are white, with blond hair and blue eyes. I’ve had a lot of Dominicans say to me, “You look Dominican.” And I often reply that they could also “look American.” So the purpose of the charla was to let the participants know about the diversity of our nation.

I told them about the history of Blacks in America, played several types of Black American music (Negro Spirituals, Gospel, Blues, Jazz, R&B, NeoSoul, Hip Hop), did a Stepping demonstration and showed them a step show video, talked about this awesome natural hair wave that’s sweeping Black America and had some of the girls help me read Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman in Spanish.

Preparing this presentation made me even prouder to be a Black American. We have a history of perseverance and fighting to ensure our rights, from us has been birthed music and movements that have shaped the landscape of all of America and the entire world, and those who have gone before us have left us with a legacy of education, innovation and a rich culture. We have room to grow as a community, but I’m so proud of who we are.

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