4/07/2005

Chasm between Africans and African Americans?

This entry was precipitated by a conversation with an African American who simply asked me "Why is it that Africans do not like African Americans?" I think it is not so much dislike, i think part of the reason for this,is perhaps ignorance or a lack of knowledge about African american history. Lets' see, i do not recall learning about the underground railroad or Hariet Tubman in school, i came to learn about it when i came to the US. It is a large body of work and African American culture cannot be summarized by the images you see in the media, or the rap videos. It is a wonderful culture all its own, which i am not qualified to even attempt an analysis. The same case about lack of knowledge about African history can be made for some African americans. It doesnt appear that we had a confluence point for the two cultures. I think in the 60's there was dialogue between the black leaders in America and leaders in Africa, as we were all struggling for civil rights, just on different continents. African Americans wore dashiki's, and i dont know to what extent American culture permeated Africa at the time. (If there is a blogger with insight about that, please post)Well, point is, i think there was some dialogue with the leaders on both continents. (I know i have to support this assertion with specific facts, i will add that later, send me links if you have some, this is more of a thought)Moving along...I do not recall a major initiative by African leaders to reach out to the black community here, When African leaders visit the US do they speak to the NAACP? I dont know, i could be wrong about this.There is an author whose upcoming book will look at this question, amongst other immigrant experiences that he shares in his book Check out his website here Disclosure: The author and his wife are dear friends, i actually read the manuscript for the book.
Song of the day: Pimping Around the world by Ludacris(Believe me, listen to the song!)Why is it the song of the day on a Kenyan blog?? Because of this line towards the end of the song...
"...ain't no need of even askin brah, the best women all reside in Africa, and that's real"
Need i say more? Peace.
*This entry may contain generalizations, look at it as more of just a thought...
Update: Do check out The Desert Warrior's take on this issue link

17 Comments:

Blogger The Desert Warrior said...

Great post. I talked about this same issue on my blog too checkl it out. This is a topic that needs to be explored and discussed more for sure.

4/08/2005 9:25 AM  
Blogger Afromusing said...

Hey Desert warrior! Thanks!I just checked it out, i have included a link to your post, because i think you looked at it more in depth, which is great! maybe we should do a follow post on the baby steps that we can suggest to bridge the gap, i have a rough draft that is kinda silly, will send it to you to have a look.

4/08/2005 4:31 PM  
Blogger Mama_JunkYard's said...

LOL I was about to refer you to Scentiments post...I had no idea she had undergone a name change..

Getting back to this post. I still maintain that while some of it stems from a lack knowledge some of it also stems from the damage that we as black people have suffered at the hands of white people.

I am not saying that they are still to blame but our black history was changed by white people so most of not only don't know enough about ourselves but even when we try to learn...we end up using sources that were written by those who hated us.

Even the identities that we rely upon now, that we use to distinguish between each other. The entire language of race is based on past white thinking.

I am not sure how to proceed from here.

I can't wait to read the follow up.

4/10/2005 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Irene said...

Hi afromusing! Great post...This will be sheer speculation, but here is my take on the perceived clash between african americans and africans: During the slave trade those many years ago, the white buyers of slaves relied heavily on africans to bring their fellow africans to be sold as slaves. White people did not necessarily go out and capture slaves themselves; they got major help from african "middlemen". Therefore, traditionally, the would-be slave resented the africans left behind because they were responsible for his/her fate. Unfortunately, to a large extent, the resentment is still alive and well...

4/11/2005 10:53 PM  
Blogger Memoire said...

I've heard loads of Kenyans say that they perceive the hostility as coming from African-Americans, and I'd imagine that - given the way we idealize black America in Kenya - Kenyans might be in awe of them to some extent? I've never been to the US, so I don't know, but for real blacks should unite.

4/12/2005 11:11 AM  
Blogger Afromusing said...

@MJY,i feel you on not knowing enough about ourselves, since our history and traditions were definitely suppressed.
@Irene, i thought the middlemen were arabs,but i dont know for sure. we will probably need to look that up.A mix of factors perhaps?
@memoire, its quite interesting how that works out when kenyans idolize african americans. Perhaps the perception that they are living in the 'first world' and are really living it up. Reality is, we have so much in common in terms of our struggle to make it, to achieve the proverbial 'american dream', perhaps we are in need of a 'kenyan dream'.That's a whole other discussion...
...working on the follow up.

4/12/2005 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Ms K said...

Hey, the middle men were actually in most cases Africans. When I was in Ghana I made friends with a guy who had an odd European, Dutch actually, sounding name and turns out one of his ancestors was a slave merchant.

4/14/2005 9:24 PM  
Blogger Black Ambition said...

I notice that there is a huge chasm between Africans and African Americans in the United States

In my opinion it has to do with a few things: (1) involuntary immigrants v. voluntary immigrants, (2) cultural destruction in the black American community and the way it has lead to dysfunction, (3) lack of historical/political understanding on both sides, etc.

In America:
I think that voluntary immigrants are the most hard working people. I am the child of West Indian immigrants. If a person leaves their homeland to come to the United States it is usually to achieve something for themselves and/or their family. I think that many Africans come to America and they do not understand why blacks are poor, cannot understand the culture, do not know black american history and therefore look down on blacks in America. Black Americans are involuntary immigrants. They must remember this. Again, this is a generalization, but this is what I have gathered from talking to African friends over the years.

Africans must understand that black americans went through alot of psychological trauma during slavery, segregation, etc. The negative affects of these things are still present in black American culture. Therefore, African immigrants may notice some dysfunctional tendencies in black culture and think there is something wrong with the people, without understanding HOW this culture developed.

I also think that black americans do not know enough about Africa (myself included), it's history and how we relate to it. The same negative stereotypes that the western world feeds to its white masses, it feeds to its black minorities. Many black americans have ignorant views on what it means to be African. Eurocentric education has us believe that Africa is not capable of modernity, is backwards, inferior (the same stereotypes many whites have about blacks in general) which leads blacks to be less enthusiastic about forming an African-related identity.

A college professor I once had, who is originally from Ghana, once told us that in order for us to see each other as brothers and sisters, we have to make the other proud. I'm never sure what he meant by that. Self improvement on both sides?

4/17/2005 8:33 PM  
Blogger Afromusing said...

Black Ambition, your contribution to this conversation is greatly appreciated. It is eye opening and very interesting. I agree that we would have to see the best of each other in order to appreciate and reach out [to one another]

4/22/2005 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

eni hosted a student from nigeria we learned much from each but a few things that disturbed me was that she thought we came here to have a better way of life an that some of us acheived it and never came back. she also called us niggers because we didnt dress in kenta an from the sterio type of rappers r rich an used the word nigger much. I bought her a pair of sneakers she put them on an said i am a nigga mow, she had know knowlege of the pain behind the word.so i let her watch roots she recognised her language when some of the slaves spoke realised we are there people does not use the word nigger an said when she goes home shes going to tell everyone.

10/01/2009 9:05 AM  
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I think I will have to disagree with that statement. I have met several African fellows and I never felt like discriminated or anything. They've treated me with respect and love.

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