Separate But Equal: Tweets Re-Spark The Black America Vs. Native African beef


Southwest / Texas 105 Views

by Tyler Doggett


Adjective. A derogatory word from the Yoruba tribes of Nigeria that can be equated to the equivalence “Nigger” as a reference towards African Americans and/or culture by native African decedents. Base definition: wild animal

A tweet from New York Times Best Selling Author Luvvie Ajayi sparks a heated discussion about the division of African American and African culture.

The African-based celebrity blogger let out a tweet discrediting Tevin Campbell that quickly escaladed into her prior accounts of African elitism and African American slavery slander.

Almost checked immediately, the situation in its entirety opened a unique avenue to talk about one of the biggest plagues of our community: the dissonance between Native Africans and African Americans and the relationship our culture has with African immigrants around the world.

But, we must reach a conclusion that Blacks will never be African again; the two have become separate entities and Although we are descendants of slaves with a rich African root, strong traditions and unquiet cultural practices. Over time, we’ve cultivated our own identity within the country that forced immigration onto us.

“A shared complexion does not equal a shared culture, nor does it automatically lead to friendships,” Kofi Glover, a native of Ghana and a political science professor at the University of South Florida said in a Yale report on Africans vs. African Americans, “Whether we like it or not, Africans and African-Americans have two different and very distinct cultures.”

These cultures seem to clash more than they do blend, pitting our equally black skin tones against each other which results in years of ridicule from both sides. Black American culture is unified by slavery; an understanding that Africans don’t even teach as a part of their history.

In Ghana, Tampa poet James Tokleysays, “we did not experience white domination like the Africans in Kenya, Zimbabwe or South Africa. We do not understand the whole concept of slavery, or it’s effect on the attitude of a lot of African-Americans, mainly because we were not exposed to it. To read about racism and discrimination is one thing, but to experience it is something else.”

Not to mention, what most see as an unforgivable act that Africans sold their kin into the slavery system that produce the long-term effects within the community they are ignorant to today, still harbors a lot of animosity within the black community.

So when Ajayi used rhetoric like Akata, “epic slave cry,” and how she’d never encourage her children to go to an Historical Black College or University because she’s an “Elitist African” as a joke when discussing African American culture within past conversations on social platforms such as twitter, insulting is kind of an understatement.

As far-fetched as she sounds, Ajayi shares a common belief amongst most of the African community and although we are in some of the most progressive times in American history, philosophies like this still linger amongst the older generations.

“When indigenous African people come to the United States, they adopt an attitude of superiority … about individuals who could very well be of their own blood,” Tokley says.

But millennials on both sides of the ball are quickly realizing that ethnicity in America has nothing to do with origins or heritage; the only thing that matters is the color of your skin.

With movies like Black Panther, the conversation between the difference is becoming more open within both communities. Coogler told the Washington Post recently, “T’Challa represents … an African that hasn’t been affected by colonization. So what we wanted to do was contrast that with a reflection of the diaspora. But the diaspora that’s the most affected by it. And what you get with that is you get African Americans. You get the African that’s not only a product of colonization, but also a product of the worst form of colonization, which is slavery. It was about that clash.”

Ultimately, Being black in America is hard enough without adding the more division amongst our people. If I’m pulled over, the officer isn’t going to see a “African” or African American” all they see is another victim of the criminal justice system.