Kwanzaa: Dictating My Own Terms

Myth 150Habari gani?

Today is dedicated to the concept of Kujichagulia, or Self-Determination. That means that those of us in the African diaspora have a responsibility to define ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves. Obviously, given where I’ve come from and my experience this is one of the Seven Principles that means a whole lot to me.

It’s a busy day here friends. The brother of my dearest husband is getting married today, and my husband is a groomsman. We’ve got a lot to do to get ready, so this entry will be a little brief.

First, my personal definition as it stands right now. I’m a gay Buddhist black man, and also an online rabbit. I’m proud of each aspect of my definition, and when my mind isn’t being overruled by fear (something that happens often, sadly) I’m open with all of it. I understand that’s a little unusual and that’s fine. I have a unique perspective in my place in the diaspora, and I’m excited to share it.

People are, of course, more than their labels. But it’s important to understand that people are going to find a way to label you simply because that’s the way we’re wired. We need organization, and part of the way we remember each other is by boxing people in with certain definitions. Those definitions will have a number of associations — some positive, some negative. Even though we’re so much more than the words that define us, it’s important to know that those definitions are one of the biggest ways we relate to others. In addition to accepting the way that other people choose to define ourselves, we need to take some consideration into how we define ourselves and the associations that’s likely to have for the people around us.

So…how would you define yourself? How do you think other people define you? What does your definition mean to you, and what associations do you think other people are going to draw to it?

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