Law School Discussion

African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America

Stencilasnusky

Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2006, 12:28:54 PM »
Electric..my comment on "white" was meant as foreign not racial. In Nigeria, Obruni would be transalted to Oyinbo and although we don't have as many Dutch/Portuguese etc descendants we have Brazillian quarters in Lagos but don't look at them differently since in our view, the only left for a short time before they came back. They have names like DaSilva, DaCosta, Fernandez etc

Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #31 on: March 01, 2006, 12:30:04 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?
Well you have Zimbabweans and 1 or 2 other countries from that region....Uganda I'm guessing, not completely sure!

petitschoque

Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #32 on: March 01, 2006, 12:34:01 PM »
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.
I totally agree with you, Redemption. It has been my experience that many African Americans expect me to see them as long lost siblings and be closer to them than I am to non-blacks. This is based on the expectation of black solidarity and is an egregious mistake because my worldview works in terms of Nigerian first, African second, then all other people in the world fall in strict order of how they treat me. Unfortunately, when I am reticent to embrace them and treat them as I would any other stranger, they become angry and then come the labels and insults which make me angry and cause a divide that can't be bridged (because I will hold a grudge if I feel I am unfairly attacked). If the unfounded expectations weren't there in the first place, then feelings/pride wouldn't be hurt and we could get to know each other as people and maybe even find some commonality after all.

Some Africans do feel an instant affinity to African Americans but it is not something that should be expected of all nor it is a prerequisite to being black.

I do feel an affinity for Caribbean people but that is because I have found them consistently kind and respectful of my perspective. I guess it helps that we actually do have a lot in common as I found when I went to Jamaica and kept lapsing into Yoruba because I just felt as if I was in Lagos. Their clothing, food, personalities, mentality are just so similar so I feel as if there really is a connection as opposed to just blackness and a shared experience of oppression (which I do not consider valid reasons for solidarity in and of themselves).

Stencilasnusky

Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #33 on: March 01, 2006, 12:34:32 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!

Hmmmmm..on the face of it I would have to disagree. Had we not had slavery and segregation but colonialism, you don't think African-Americans would attempt to identify with Africans somewhat. How about Jewish Americans who've never been to Israel but raised money, arms and political pressure in 1948 to secure a Jewish homeland. The absence of unpleasant history on one end of the equation does not eliminate self-identity.

jnc18

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Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #34 on: March 01, 2006, 12:34:42 PM »
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)

Except the essence of African American culture is thoroughly dependent upon its context as an underclass in a white-dominated society.  

Anyway, I agree with and understand much of what you've been saying.  But I think there should be discussion about the connection between different groups of African decent that involves culture and experience (beyond the concept of purely racial ties).   Wish I had time to give more attention to this discussion.  Got to do my job...

Victor

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Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #35 on: March 01, 2006, 12:36:18 PM »
Good discussion.

petitschoque

Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #36 on: March 01, 2006, 12:39:10 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!

Hmmmmm..on the face of it I would have to disagree. Had we not had slavery and segregation but colonialism, you don't think African-Americans would attempt to identify with Africans somewhat. How about Jewish Americans who've never been to Israel but raised money, arms and political pressure in 1948 to secure a Jewish homeland. The absence of unpleasant history on one end of the equation does not eliminate self-identity.
The fact that Jewish Americans feel a connection to a place they've never been and people they've never seen isn't any reason for Africans to feel the same. I agree with Andromeda.

Stencilasnusky

Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #37 on: March 01, 2006, 12:39:55 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.

Please don't do that..I'm hoping for a good discussion here...please. I think BP's point about color AND experience is what I had in mind. We see color first and then we try to understand cultures and hopefully support one another for the greater good. Sounds great but anyways, I'm a hopeless progressive. Its not an easy thing to break down but I'm really looking for folks to comment on their observations and experiences...it won't turn into a WAR ZONE I promise hope

jnc18

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Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #38 on: March 01, 2006, 12:43:16 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!!!

I hope someone can refute this, because I think it is way off.

_BP_

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Re: African Americans and Africans in Majority-Minority America
« Reply #39 on: March 01, 2006, 12:45:00 PM »
As I say, there seems to me no reason to expect any more sameness between Africans and African-Americans than there is between Europeans and White Americans.

Redemption, my point is, even if we take your suggestion and drop the concept of color and focus on culture, there are tremendous cultural links that would give us a reason to expect more sameness between Africans and African-Americans than between Europeans and Whites imo.  The strength of African culture and itís ability to survive through colonization, forced religion, and slavery cannot be overlooked.  When you see Voodo still being practised in Haiti and America and Obeah still being practised in Barbados, or dialects being so similar, or children still being raised on Anansi moral stories (I only recently found out that these werefrom Ghana) you can see that many elements of the culture has stood the test of time and persecution.  With the survival of those cultural elements, one would then expect to see (and do see) many similarities between African blacks and American blacks.  So if your premise is to hold,the question becomes: Are the elements to European culture that have survived to this day in America as pervasive (for lack of a better word) as the elements of African culture that have survived?


BTW Mdlaw, we do say Bajan, but I said Barbadian so more people would know what I'm talking about;) Yeah Stencilasnusky, bajan dialect can be tough to understand.