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Published by chrisgabrielis, 2019-05-18 03:10:47

AFRS 515 Individual Project

AFRS 515 Individual Project

Written by Christopher Gabriel





T​his​ is my first time being away from you all for so long. This is a dedication to you; my family as I 

show you my journey here at SFSU. Mom, Dad, Mona, and Joe I hope this gives you a better understanding of 

Thank you.  

Table of Contents: 

1. Who I was 

2. Perception 

3. Relationships  

4. New Meaning of Family 

5. TLC 

6. Start of Something New 

Who I was 

As I enter the final days of my first semester at 
SFSU, I look back and reflect on my long journey. 
Through my young adolescence I lived life through my 
brothers shadow. At times I felt like a nuisance to the 
ones close to me. Growing up as the only black kid 
amongst my peers made me a target. I struggled to find 
my place on this earth and to find value in life. I 
internalized the phrase “survival of the fittest” believing 
in order to be successful I had to be better than everyone 
else. Whenever I came up short I kept my head down. 
The failures, those times I didn’t stand up for myself all 
took a toll. I struggled to ask for help because I was to 

worried about their perceptions of myself as a man. It’s 
like I carried this boulder over my shoulders for years, 
bringing it wherever I go. Before I took African families 
I subscribed myself to a lifestyle where my self image 
always needed validation from others, where I had no 
real sense of community. Through my trials and errors I 
grew up relying only on myself. In order to pave my own 
way I believed distance from my parents and siblings 
would be best. I was wrong. Because I never really 
understood the meaning of community, I had a hard time 
fitting into one. I used to walk this earth, a lone wolf 
searching for myself and a community to belong to. 
Turns out my search was unnecessary because my 
community is my home; my family. It took a long time to 

get to the feeling I’m at now, even though I still haven't 

figured out who I am and that's ok. What I’ve learned 

during my time in this class is that its ok to still search 

for one's true self. I will get there.This book is made for 

you, my family and to show my personal growth as a 

member of our community.   




Selections from the Yurugu written by ​Marimba 
Ani,​ interrogated the way I saw life. I like many others 
in the class were challenged on how we perceive the 
world around us. I never considered a view from a 
different social lenz until after reading the selections 
provided. Our very thoughts, behaviors, and logic were 
all shaped and molded by a culture foreign to us. We 
were nurtured with the eurocentric ideals of how we go 
about life. It’s kind of crazy when you think about it. I 
started to question the lifestyle I subscribed to, my 
mission, and how I want to go forward with life. I was 

provided a deeper meaning to myself as a member of the 

Africana family. 






The concept of the prince charming really changed 
how I look at myself as a black man. It’s the eurocentric 
perception of what a man has to be in order to secure his 
dream girl. That sounds nice, but in reality it enforces 
the patriarchal standard where the male has to always 
be on top. This concept has been ingrained in my head as 
a young man as media always portrayed every male 
protagonist as a type of prince charming. Also the prince 
charming role can also be seen at home, through you dad. 
In this household you are the provider, the absolute 
leader, someone who set the standards of what a real 
man is supposed to be. Because I didn't have these 

qualities of a prince charming I had zero confidence 
when it came to women. Although I got over this hurdle 
I still felt like I was less of a man because I couldn't live 
up to those standards. As I dug deeper into the readings 
I’ve realized that don't have to live by these standards in 
order to be consider a true man. After I grew some 
confidence in my self image, I began dating women 
hoping that it will fill in what I’ve been missing. I used 
to believe that in order to be truly happy I had to have 
someone by my side. The years spent searching from one 
partner to the next made me believe that my soulmate 
was not out there. Most relationships were based on 
flesh connection where in these partnerships I lacked 
intimacy. After reading a selection from Patricia Dixon 

I started to comprehend that maybe a relationship is not 
what I needed. I’ve been seeking to be that provider for 
someone, to be their source of happiness but in reality 
that drains the intimacy. How could I make someone 
happy, when I struggle to find happiness myself? 
Relationships should be formed when two completely 
happy individual can be together with or without each 
others presence. That is why I’ve decided to take a step 
back from dating, and to work on where I want to be in 




New Meaning of Family 

Relying on myself distanced me from my you all. I 
solely believed that I can be strong without support from 
a family. With distancing myself, I also excluded my 
presence in a welcoming community. Meaning I 
personally decided not to keep in touch with aunties, 
uncles, cousins, and family friends who were there for 
me. The decolonization of my mind forced me to rethink 
the meaning of family and community. In reading Wade 
Nobles “Africana and Black Family” the text provided 
me with a deeper meaning on spirituality within the 
family and embracing my community. In the text Nobels 
states “The family existence is more important than the 

individual existence”. This quote in a way redefined my 
purpose in life as a member of my community. It changed 
my role from “the lone wolf” to more 
interactive/supportive role. My community even though 
I neglected their presence, always wanted me to strive 
and be happy. My new purpose within my community is 
to provide that same support that was always there for 
me, to our younger generation. I’ve also realized how 
much of a role spirituality plays in the connectedness of 
this family. Even though we’ve been miles away from 
each other for some time the bond that we share is still 
strong and it’s only getting stronger as I progress 
through this journey. The pursuit for my goal became less 


TLC (Talking and Listening with Care) is a form 
of effective communication that I should practice more 
often. For our family to prosper communicating with 
respect and honor, no matter the type of conversation is 
key for a stronger relationship. I’ve learned in order to 
effectively communicate I must see you all as an 
extension of myself. Value must be placed on opinions 
offered to me, and the same should be in return. 
Communicating the way my thoughts, and emotions will 
help you better understand me, and will also make me 
feel better. By practicing TLC and understanding how to 

effectively communicate we can resolve any issue, 
strengthening our unity.  






Start of Something New 

Although I still have troubles figuring out myself, 
the tools presented in my Black Family class makes me 
feel optimistic about my future. I understand that I 
don’t have to be alone. With the support of my 
community and family I don't have to carry this boulder 
by myself anymore. You will help me no matter the 
problem, and I the same. I promise to do my part as a 
member of this family and spend the quality time you 
deserve. Maybe you can help me figure out me? In order 
for me to grow I need to drop my barriers and let you all 
in. I will not minimize your love no more by distancing 
myself, Im here. Joe, Mona; I am your brother. Mom, 

dad; I am your son. You all are a reflection of me. I love 

 you all. Thank you for reading. 













Works Cited
Nobles, Wade W. A​ fricanity and the Black Family: the Development of a Theoretical Model.​

Institute for the Advanced Study of Black Family Life and Culture, 1985.

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