Till You Walk In Their Shoes
A friend of mine forwarded an article about the stereotypes held by Africans of Africa about African-Americans. I might add that simlar stereotypes exist in other black groups such as those from the Caribbean. In the interest of disclosure, I was born here, of jamaican parents and run with an African name. Every now and then I don some West African clothing and go about my business. So long as I do not open my mouth, I can "pass" enough to be approached by "native" Africans in whatever native tongue or I can be rudely treated by an African-American who has a "sold us into slavery" chip on their shoulder.
I'm not stupid enough to take these things personally as i know that in many cases there is an educational deficiency on the part of the party's involved. It goes without saying that there are great cultural differences between newly arrived Africans and those of us who have been here a few hundred years. What I say to the newly arrived is that your kids and grandchildren will by and large identify with the "ex-slave." It would be in the interests of all involved to understand that globally, we look like jackasses when we discriminate against each other in ways that haven't been done to us by others in decades. Yes there are African-Americans whom the sterotypes fit. There are also Nigerians, Congolese, Kenyans, etc. who fit stereotypes too. The negative stereotype game only causes more negative stereotyping.
There's one other thing I must say about the article. The author wrote:
Nevertheless, it would take me more years, and hours of watching "Oprah," to comprehend the black experience in America. As Oprah interviewed proud and successful black American women—Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Condoleezza Rice—who wore their blackness like empresses, I began to feel racial pride
Condoleeza Rice, though black in genetics, is no black person to be proud of. One of the "racial games" all of us need to learn quick is that doing the evil of white men and women is not success for us. Dr. Rice does not honor Dr. King in her capacity as National Security Advisor. Yes she is bright, Educated, but she is far from the moraland historical standard set by those like Amy Jaques Garvey, Sojourner Truth, Betty Shabbaz, and countless other black women who stood against the kind of imperialism that Dr. Rice stands for (however thinly veiled). Further comment on this will be reserved for an upcoming piece on Leadership.