To many, cultural identity is a vague concept. We easily overlook its impact and effect in our lives. While its presence may be difficult to recognize or touch, its absence creates problems for which we may never understand the cause.
While African-Americans have been in America for as long as 400 years, we have been African for more than 4,000. That heritage still carries the greatest influence and deepest impact in defining who we are.
Men of a Fanti Family - Cape Coast 1910 - courtesy Smithonian Institution Archives
We are unique among the people of the world. Unlike others, we have suffered the trauma of the forcible separation from, and loss of our ancestral cultural identities. We have been named as a color rather than a culture, and too often we have come to identify ourselves as nothing more than this color. Negro, Black, or worse. Tags affixed to us by others for their convenience and our manipulation. Our cultural identity has been hidden from us for centuries. This concealment was done so well that many of us do not realize that it occurred.
Nana Kwesi Agyeman