There was a point in time, here in the United States, that having one drop of African blood meant that you were considered less than. It also could mean enslavement, little to no opportunities, being victim to the whims of any White person that came across your path.
African descendent, Negro, Negress, Nigger, Black, Black American, African American, etc. so many terms to describe the descendants of African slaves here on this side of the pond. So much history of brutality, oppression, attempts of erasure, racism and theft from an entire group of people for the profit of others. This is the truth of being Black in America, a truth of several hundred years and now, in the year 2018, the advent of commerical genetic testing has given people all over the world a glance at where and from whom they descend. There is a subset of people within the greater spiritual community that have discovered that they have one drop and in some cases, far more than one drop of African ancestry. It is this discovery coupled with the generational and subconscious belief of entitlement that have a few believing that they have a right to claim, use, alter and pimp African religious traditions and technologies (Native and Asian traditions as well) for their own edification and bottom line.
A recent podcast that I heard left me shaking my head at the comments of the host’s guest as he spoke about his right to practice indigenous traditions because his DNA showed he had some Black too. Some Black… Black that more than likely entered his bloodline within the past 7 generations. Black that probably didn’t come about because of love but, because of rape and bondage. As I listened to this podcast, I scoffed at the arrogance of a man and, those that think like him, that feel because they have African ancestry they have “user rights” to ATR/DTR traditions while not realizing that they are continuing with the very same behaviors their forefathers and mothers exhibited. Just like their white ancestors, they are justifying the use of their privilege but in a 21st century manner, flipping the one drop rule on its head.
I’m certain many will feel some kind of way about my observations but that is yet another facet of having inherited privilege no matter what your current socio-economic status is. The privilege of thinking that you can do or have access to something because your DNA test said you have some central or west African ancestry. I am fully aware that no one person or group has exclusive rights to any religion, God is God and the blessings as well as, help from the heavens is there for everyone but, perhaps the attraction to the ATR/DTRs by people who are not descendants is the need for appeasement to the African ancestors whose lives were forever changed by the slave trade that made the Western World what it is today.
I long for a time when the color of one’s skin is not a factor in whether one is or is not. I also long for a time when people are honest about their why’s for doing what they do. Until then, I will keep on working on doing and being a better human being while navigating the waters that is this life.