Are we African American or just American?
In my idealistic younger years, I held fast to the belief that there was a common blood shared between the American-born blacks and those from across the Diaspora, including Africa, which would ensure an instant kinship under the moniker of the Red, the Black and The Green.
But nowadays, as I have become more attuned to the intra-racial struggles, I’m not so sure that there is or will ever be a unification of our people.
My most recent disenchantment centers on an NPR piece about how many African-Americans no longer feel a connection to the continent and therefore have opted to drop the hyphenated “African” from African-American.
I have known personally of some deep-rooted, and often unspoken, prejudices against Africans within the African American community. Likewise, I have known of flat-out disassociation, and in rare instances loathing, from native-born Africans, who too relay a lack of kinship to the black community. In each instance, the collective “we” often reduces each other to ill-conceived stereotypes and caricatures, which are often played out in ridicule, separation and in some rare instances, violence.
Much in the same vein of the whole light-skinned, dark-skinned issue, the African vs. African American issue is a complex matter; just because we might share the same pigmentation does not guarantee a shared solidarity.
So are we, as blacks in America, too far removed from the Motherland to feel a connection with native-born Africans?
Most American Blacks are descended from Africans, who were brought here hundreds of years ago through no will of their own. Having their cultural identities stripped away, the descendants of these Africans have vague – if any- social and historical perceptive.
Without first-hand knowledge of their roots, many American Blacks can only shape their views of Africa based upon what has been said and written in both the media and distorted history books, which tells us of a continent full of war-torn countries, starving people and corrupt leaders, who continue to profit from the betrayal of its people.