Law School Discussion

African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America

redemption

Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2006, 12:12:04 PM »
Quote
My suggestion is that we drop the concept as color altogether as a marker for identity. Culture is a more reliable indicator of who is alike and who is not. Working backwards from similarities in coloring will lead us to a dead end. Working forwards from differences in culture looks more promising, at least to me.

That would be great if the whole world didn't seem to believe that African genes are of an inferior composition.

This is not about what white people think about "black" people; it's about what "black" people think of each other. Ask any African and they'll tell you that they can tell at a glance the difference between a Senegalese and a Bauole. Why should this ability to reognize and distinguish be necessarily constrained in America rather than in Africa? Both places are of and in this world. (This is a trick question)

Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2006, 12:13:22 PM »
Regarding this issue, my take is this---> If it weren't for the state of affairs in America, Africans and African Americans have absolutely NOTHING in common, other than the fact that African Americans were taken from Africa!!!

Have to get some work done, but I'll update pretty soon!

Stencilasnusky

Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2006, 12:13:28 PM »
Thanks redemption, I like the way you are looking at this but I think you may be going in a direction that I did not intend. I'm not saying your point isn't important, but I'm trying to limit the boundaries to Africans and African - American relationships in light of the big white elephant in the room..the lingering effects of slavery and segregation. Culture is important, but I think here in the US, skin color is a more direct and stronger ID than culture. I'd love a color blind take on our relationships and I don't want to be accused of stifling it by talking about race relations. But I'm just curious as to how it is that that the same color issue is still the basic line in the proverbial sand that causes self selection and self identification. Culture seems too porous a trait to use..I can see it as valid in Africa since everyone is black and so there is no there there. But here, its the first hurdle on introduction and I'm not sure if Africans are dealing with it as appropriately as we should. Not saying the burden is on  Africans alone, but its without question that any and all advantages enjoyed by Africans here can as a direct result of the labor of African Americans. See where I'm coming from/going to?

Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2006, 12:14:30 PM »
Stencil you might want to correct some of your language. Collor still IS an issue in certain African countries.........

Quote from: Stencilasnusky
I can see it as valid in Africa since everyone is black and so there is no there there.

crazy8

Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2006, 12:16:41 PM »

It started to sound like just a more hardcore version of Barbadian dialect. That freaked me out for a while, but then I was like, "why should I be suprised, that's where my people are from". Anyhow, this is my take on your question.




I thought you call yourselves Bajan?  Just a curious history lesson.

redemption

Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2006, 12:18:30 PM »
Thanks redemption, I like the way you are looking at this but I think you may be going in a direction that I did not intend. I'm not saying your point isn't important, but I'm trying to limit the boundaries to Africans and African - American relationships in light of the big white elephant in the room..the lingering effects of slavery and segregation. Culture is important, but I think here in the US, skin color is a more direct and stronger ID than culture. I'd love a color blind take on our relationships and I don't want to be accused of stifling it by talking about race relations. But I'm just curious as to how it is that that the same color issue is still the basic line in proverbial sand that causes self selection and self identification. Culture seems to porous a trait to use..I can see it as valid in Africa since everyone is black and so there is no there there. But here, its the first hurdle on introduction and I'm not sure if Africans are dealing with it as appropriately as we should. Not saying the burden is on us but Africans alone, but its without question that any and all advantages enjoyed by Africans here can as a direct result of the labor of African Americans. See where I'm coming from/going to?

I do see where you're coming from, and I'm trying to be direct in addressing your question. I am saying that it is because Africans and African-Americans somehow believe that color should be a tie between them that the misunderstandings and mutual condescension arise in the first place. Ther is no way that I can see around addressing that assumption that both underlies your first post and that underlies African American / African relationships.

Maybe I'll sit on the sidelines a little bit and see where this thread goes.

Stencilasnusky

Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #26 on: March 01, 2006, 12:19:21 PM »
Stencil you might want to correct some of your language. Collor still IS an issue in certain African countries.........

Quote from: Stencilasnusky
I can see it as valid in Africa since everyone is black and so there is no there there.

How so? I mean I know of South Africa and Darfur but by and large, color is not a divider. Do you have an exmaple you'd like to share?

Stencilasnusky

Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #27 on: March 01, 2006, 12:21:36 PM »
I have some quibbles with the OP's post - a bit too much generalizing and emphasis about Africans as a category (or even, for that matter, "Nigerians"); and patrilinearity, etc. Nevertheless, this could turn out to be a very interesting thread.

A puzzling question for me: why is there the initial assumption that Africans and African-Americans would share similar cultures? There does seem to be that assumption because otherwise there wouldn't be a surprise about the differences (broadly-speaking) in family structure, attitudes toward education, reggae vs rap & R&B etc... How are the differences among Africans and African-Americans any more surprising than the differences between Swedes and Minnesotans, Scotsmen and Kentuckians, or Poles and Chicagoans?
That - essentializing color rather than experience - is what causes the friction between Af Ams and Africans (and, to a lesser extent, caribbean folk). It sets up expectations for sameness that neither side can meet. It leads to confusion, to frustration and, sometimes, to acrimony.

I think it's color AND experience rather than color vs experience that leads to the expectations of sameness.  This works for the Caribbean blacks/American blacks comparison.  Slaves in the Caribbean and slaves in America largely had the same experience and many of them came over sitting next to each other on the same slave ships.  It's just by the luck of the draw that some slaves were sold in ports in the islands while other slaves were sold in the Carolinas and in other ports on the Eastern Seabord. American slaves picked cotton, while Caribbean slaves harvested sugar cane.

Using your Swedes/Minnesotan example,  If Minnesota were largely populated by people who were brought from Sweden just a few generations ago, why would anyone not expect there to be similarities?  Most white people in Minnesota did not arrive here from Sweden, but every descendant of a slave here in America can trace his/her roots back to Africa.  With the strong African cultures it is not surprising that people would expect to see similarities in culture, religion, language, hairstyles, music etc. that survive to this day in Western Blacks.  I mean there are some things that cannot be taught/brainwashed or assimilated away.

Quick story: I was watching a documentary on the child soldiers in Sierre Leone.  This child soldier was speaking in a regional dialect (the documentary was subtitled).  After a while listening to this child speak, I started to understand a lot of what he was saying before I read the subtitle!  It started to sound like just a more hardcore version of Barbadian dialect. That freaked me out for a while, but then I was like, "why should I be suprised, that's where my people are from". Anyhow, this is my take on your question.





Excellent comment BP...please share some more. On the other hand, I have a buddy from Barbados who went to college with me and I used to have extreme difficulty understanding what he said (when he spoke Bajian(sp?))...I know I'm not deaf but damn that thing is hard!!

Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2006, 12:25:14 PM »
Thanks redemption, I like the way you are looking at this but I think you may be going in a direction that I did not intend. I'm not saying your point isn't important, but I'm trying to limit the boundaries to Africans and African - American relationships in light of the big white elephant in the room..the lingering effects of slavery and segregation. Culture is important, but I think here in the US, skin color is a more direct and stronger ID than culture. I'd love a color blind take on our relationships and I don't want to be accused of stifling it by talking about race relations. But I'm just curious as to how it is that that the same color issue is still the basic line in proverbial sand that causes self selection and self identification. Culture seems to porous a trait to use..I can see it as valid in Africa since everyone is black and so there is no there there. But here, its the first hurdle on introduction and I'm not sure if Africans are dealing with it as appropriately as we should. Not saying the burden is on us but Africans alone, but its without question that any and all advantages enjoyed by Africans here can as a direct result of the labor of African Americans. See where I'm coming from/going to?

I do see where you're coming from, and I'm trying to be direct in addressing your question. I am saying that it is because Africans and African-Americans somehow believe that color should be a tie between them that the misunderstandings and mutual condescension arise in the first place. Ther is no way that I can see around addressing that assumption that both underlies your first post and that underlies African American / African relationships.

Maybe I'll sit on the sidelines a little bit and see where this thread goes.

I am about to get jumped on here but this is my take on why there are misunderstanding between African Americans and Africans.

African Americans were here earlier than Africans. I feel like African Americans might be threatened by the prescence of Africans for the little resources and opportunities that they had fought for during the civil war. However, at the same time, African Americans are not as hard working as Africans who come here with one thing in mind that acts as a driving force--->I need to improve the situation for my family back home<--- and as a result, Africans push harder, work harder and strive for the highest positions available, for the betterment of not just self, but also extended family. As a result of this, Africans Americans do tend to feel some sense of insecurity that in turn becomes some sort of hate!!

I know hate is a strong word, but I have heard it said that African Americans HATE Africans, whatever the reasons may be.

Like has been discussed already, the two cultures are glaringly different, different histories, value systems etc, there is no tie between the two aside from the fact that the two peoples (AAs and As), have to survive in America as minorities, hence it comes back to the color of the skin. but even when it comes down to the color of the skin there is still some animosity there between the two groups and rightly so!

Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #29 on: March 01, 2006, 12:28:20 PM »
I agree that color is still an issue in Africa.  Skin lightening is very prevalent in Ghana, as is marrying certain races to have lighter skin and mixed children.  This I think is a result of colonization, the concept that white is right, and definitely parallels colorism amongst African Americans. 

Also BP, pidgin English which is spoken all over Africa in various forms is very similar to patois and dialects in the caribbean in that it was formed as a way for locals to communicate with the white masters, colonizers, and traders.  I think this is why reggae is popular in Ghana, people understand every word said.