thought i was done with this but that one line really got to me.
where did we as africans ever say that we don’t want those who share our ancestors? have you been to africa and seen how african americans are treated? have you? because a lot of them have the red carpet rolled out for them and are treated much better than someone like myself. in a country like south africa, black americans are treasured by the white population here.
if there’s anything i’ve learnt from travelling through africa it’s that in africa, no one cares that you’re africa. yes, we have identity issues and african unity still remains a forgotten concept that was birthed in post-colonial africa through pan-african thought, but swiftly died with the passing of its ideological founders.
enslavement did not just happen to african descended people living in the americas. believe it or not, that shit affected those of us living on the continent too. you don’t think we weren’t displaced too? you don’t think that our ancestry isn’t the slightest bit fucked from that? not to mention the arab slave trade that came before and decimated much of the culture of east and north africa. yeah, believe it or not, the arab faces of north africa aren’t the indigenous faces of that part of the continent. sometimes, considering the barabic erasure
yes, i may have the comfort of knowing that i am ‘yoruba’ but even that gets fuzzy when i try and piece together my ancestry beyond my grandparents. i have questions of complex identity issues to. such as, how come (before european colonialism) my father’s side of the family practiced islam as opposed to yoruba spirtuality (which has resulted in me not knowing ANYTHING about this part of my history because non-African religions have taken precedence over our own)? at what point did they convert and for what reasons? are there explanations, beyond the natural developments of genetics, that can account for the varying skin tones in my extended family? was that one family member actually serious when he said that members of our ancestral family had come to nigeria from sudan?
yes, even africans deal with these sorts of issues - i’m sure mine aren’t even half as complex as others out there.
i just don’t like this idea that simply because someone knows certain specifics about their ethnic identity/history/geographic ancestry that it’s all sorted from there. talk about over-simplifying african politics! it’s not easy for any of us, no matter where fall on the multi-layered scale of continental african & diasporan african identity. we’re all dealing with complex issues.
but from own perspective, all i can say is that yes, those of us who are locked into the african continent are very sensitive about our cultures and identities considering how much we’ve been exploited and the extent that they have been violently and forcibly erased. so if there is anger, it is not meant as a personal threat. if we are defensive, it is coming from a place where we feel that we need to be protective. because africans have never been given a good reason to trust people from the west and sadly, that includes people with more or less the same amount of melanin. not because we see african-americans and european-americans as one in the same, but we realize that a certain kind of western mentality has permeated even black people living in the west. and this is where the real ‘divide’ comes. this is when people starting referring to other black people as ‘oyinbo’ (as i myself have been called). we are not necessarily denying you access to what we share historically, but rather, we are recognizing the differences that lie between us and the more you acknowledge those differences, the easier it is to move on. just realize that not everything is yours for the taking by virtue of shared ancestry. you have a privilege that we do not have - recognize that, even it makes you uncomfortable. our experiences are vastly different. where your main oppressor may not look like you, ours do. and even within spaces that concern continental africans and those descended from africa, there is still a layer of privilege that sits between us as this discussion has shown (with af-ams being the dominant and authoritative voices).
one thing we as africans from all over the continent realize, and i’m not even talking first gen here, is that we operate at the bottom of the global privilege scale. we have no alternatives besides what our countries offer us (which is often nothing) or what we carve out for ourselves. i’m not saying other people are not oppressed or do not have struggles of their own, but there’s nothing quite like being oppressed by people who look just like you, on top of everyone else. it is probably this type of oppression that most links africans to each other. gather a group of africans together and what are we most likely going to talk about? our corrupt governments, the wahala we face because of our respective national politics, and such. to us, this collective experience is probably what serves as the best binding factor in what i believe makes us african.
*I apologise if any of this is politically incorrect. abeg, i dey try o.