Tuesday, April 28, 2009

African vs. African Americans

I was recently engaged in an online discussion posted on The Black Snob regarding the hostility between Africans and African Americans, “Why Can't We be Friends?” The Snob mentioned that conversation came out of last week’s annual Harvard Kennedy School Black Policy conference that took place in DC that she opened up for larger discussion on her website. The stereotypes if you’re not familiar are that African/ Caribbean people believe African Americans to be uneducated and lazy having no concept of the world outside the US borders and African Americans view Africans as aggressive, pushy and living in jungles (uuuhhhm ok). I find this debate fascinating and absolutely ridiculous at the same time but more than anything sad because it only reveals that we have so much more work ahead of us. One commentator wrote:

Black folk are the TRUEST Americans..

because we have fought FOR this country. I just don't mean in every military conflict from the Revolutionary War on..

I mean, at the root of progression in this country, over the course of centuries - to live up to its actual creed, is a pile of Black bodies.

And, after Black folk did all the heavy lifting, here comes everyone else, to get the benefits, including Black immigrants that have the audacity to look down on American Black folk.

Hmmmm, now where does this commentator think the Black bodies came from? This is why folks like this be killing me- loud and wrong. We will be the first to bring up some “We shall overcome” and quick to remind white people of their historical discrimination against us but won’t call each out when we do it to each other. Having all shared a common thread of our enslaved ancestors you would think we would be more unified but that’s the irony of slavery- we are so broken from each other and riddled with self hate. You know what they say when you say something hateful about someone else it usually means you hate yourself- and too many hateful comments in our community exists whether it’s about wearing natural hair, someone’s big lips, round nose and or skin tone.

On a different note I sometimes wonder if people of color are even meant to be unified. Thembi from What Would Thembi Do? made a great comment on the blog that it's assumed we all fall within one category because we are of color. However as a result of our ancestry being broken up, languages lost, culture forgotten and spirituality tested and depending on where we landed we’ve had to put our selves back together as individuals and therefore have too many conflicting ideas of how we should exist as a race. It’s just too bad that we still have too many of our own plagued with the “self hate” syndrome to handle these differences progressively. Let’s just face it as Chris Rock says the war on Black folks and Niggas continue.We probably just have a few more generations before the ign’nt are gone and the progressive can thrive …and then who know maybe no more Tyler Perry, Madea movies! (Okay that last part was extra but valid)

What do you think about this war on our selves? Please share some hope.

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1 comment:

  1. Yeah, this is definitely an interesting issue. The problem is that in search of racial diversity, and perhaps even the reversal of prior discrimination, the doors of opportunity at the top are open for blacks; especially in the realm of education. The problem is that black Americans don't step up to the plate, and these spots are subsequently flooded with African and Carribean immigrants and their children. What I've come to realize is that we can't blame them for stepping up to the plate. A black African/Carribean face is better than no black presence at all. Really, the jig is up for us black American who would rather complain about our "environment" or "racism" or whatever else, rather than taking the albeit-difficult-but-certainly-possible step to achieve more than our circumstances dictate.