Sankofa: The Damage That Has Been Done
Black people in this nation are, and have been for some time, in the midst of an identity crisis. They are torn between what they are taught in a white run society and the Afrikan ancestry they know nothing about. Sankofa is an illustration of where this identity crisis began. It is the story of a black model, Mona, who is sent to the past in the form of a house slave named Shola. The things Mona sees are not all that different from what the average black person sees in America today. Themes of the divide we feel between our race and identity, the divide we have between each other and the use of religion as indoctrination and control.
The first thing Mona screams when she is transported to the past and surrounded by enslaved Afrikans is “I’m not an Afrikan…I’m an American...Don’t you recognize me?” (Sankofa) She feels no connection to these people that look like her. She tries to differentiate herself from them immediately. Is this not what we black Americans tend to feel? We are American, or black, or maybe Afrikan American to be politically correct. If a black American were to be dropped in Kenya tomorrow the chances of them feeling as if they were amongst their own people would be slim. At the most they may feel a sense of surreal novelty at the surroundings. There are reasons black people feel no association with their Afrikan counterparts. The systematic division between Afrikans and their culture began with slavery and still continues today.
Step one to the division process was the segregation of the Afrikans slaves into different sects on the plantations. There were the field niggers, the house slaves and the head men. The field niggers did all the back breaking labor in the fields while the house slaves tended to the master and his family in the house. The head men had the worse job of them all. They had to work as assistant overseers. This involved...