Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Africans and African-Americans, how wide is the gap?

The battle between native blacks and foreign blacks has been raging in blog-sphere and it has been disturbingly enlightening.

Firstly, before coming to America I had heard a little bit about the resentment of Africans by AAs though where I am from AAs are revered for their resilience and survival of a treacherous system.

When I first arrived, I met some Africans in New York who lived in black neighborhoods and spoke of living in fear of being attacked. I recently recalled an incident while in DC on a short course on my first visit to America, a BW guide of the class snapped at me for asking a question regarding a discrepancy in the payments I had to make. The same woman had been extremely courteous to the Russian students that asked the same question. I assumed she was having a bad day. However now that there is more evidence of tensions, I am beginning to wonder about such incidents, and they are not few.

When I ask my AA friends about such incidents, they actually acknowledge that there is a resentment towards Africans and also blame self hatred and the need for one to not want anything to do with being considered African.

There is evidence of this in AA entertainment movies and comedy routines. Some of which I am posting.

( Will keep posting more as I find them)

The big question to the African American is, if you resent Africans and Africa-ness, why maintain the title African Americans? And when I eventually become American , will you be offended if I call myself an African American? I heard one AA say that we become American Africans while another one suggested that we become African (Squared) American!

It is a pity that the situation is the way it is. I had to stop posting at a certain blog because the negativity was escalating to an uncontrollable level. And God knows I love my serenity and sanity. The level of hatred I sometimes felt from fellow posters was not any different what one would experience from a white supremist group.
Following is a link of an extensive discussion I had with one reknowned member in the Interracial Dating Community. though I know she doesn't speak for most AAS, after that particular discussion, my perception of African American attituddes towards Africans changed forever.

I always felt we had the same struggle as black people. Every non black society in the world looks at us as inferior. Different societies apply this concept differently. I see America as the front line of the civil rights struggle whose effects get rippled through out the world. But what purpose is the struggle if members of the same oppressed group are ready to abuse the rights of those with in the same group given the opportunity. Is the Civil Rights struggle still relevant?

In other words why should I fight along side you when you are going to abuse me through your media and also malign me in the work environment because after all you have ‘ownership’ of the struggle?

As an African that has encountered some unheard of racism in this day an age, I have had more support by a few white people, a lot more than AAs that were in a position to be supportive. So then I wonder, if I am to fight for my rights in this country, is it wise to expect support from AAs or should I be open to well meaning people of any race?

I see racism today as a system with a life of is own in which some of the old methods of tackling it are not effective.

The key difference between AAs and Africans is that we do see our skin color differently. Black skin color for a traditional African is not associated as a burden. It just is.

So when I hear an AAs say, “Africans should accept their blackness” what they mean is that we should acquire the burdens of blackness as prescribed by American society.

Sorry to disappoint you, but, No thank you. Just because the rest of the world sees blackness as an ailment, does not mean that we should see it that way. Anyone that thinks that way is free to do so.

So until some AAs accept this basic difference in seeing black, there will always be tensions. And just because Africans do not see blackness that way does not mean that they forget they are black. I know for sure many of us stick to our traditions, the exception is those Africans that stay and raise their children here, even then the culture never completely dies.
And, associating with whites does not mean that we are trying to be white either. That would be extremely comical thinking to a traditionally raised African. A white person is simply that to them, a person that looks different and acts different but is not necessarily better than them or less of a person. Very simple!