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Grow­ing up in the 80’s and 90’s I learned very ear­ly on that being Haitian wasn’t exact­ly the thing to be.  When my fam­i­ly moved to a new town, my old­er broth­er and I sim­ply hid it. Nobody asked, so we didn’t tell. Then it all began to unrav­el. My third grader teacher assigned a fam­i­ly tree dia­gram which forced me to reveal our her­itage  I recall com­ing home from school that day feel­ing dread as I told my old­er broth­er (by two years) that the jig was up. The tears came quick­ly, from both us, as we under­stood all too well what it would mean to reveal that we were Haitian. The teas­ing would be bru­tal, but tol­er­a­ble. Feel­ing ostra­cized was what we feared the most.

But then we grew up, and like most peo­ple, the very thing we were teased about as chil­dren became the thing we cher­ished with the upmost pride. We embraced our her­itage, and slow­ly the larg­er West-Indi­an com­mu­ni­ty began to accept us. Gain­ing this accep­tance, how­ev­er, came at a price. While I had always heard fam­i­ly mem­bers speak with dis­dain about Black Amer­i­cans, it wasn’t until I was a teenager when I learned that this us vs. them men­tal­i­ty spanned across West-Indi­an cul­tures. When I’d hear West-Indi­ans attribut­ing cer­tain stereo­types to Black Amer­i­cans,  I found myself nod­ding in agree­ment.  We were dif­fer­ent, I insist­ed. We  were edu­cat­ed. Our chil­dren were bet­ter behaved. We were hard-work­ing. Our food tast­ed bet­ter. African Amer­i­cans gave us all a bad name, and while we would befriend them in pub­lic, in pri­vate, we’d deride them for being stereo­typ­i­cal.

I car­ried this belief with me to col­lege. I was even proud when white peo­ple would praise me for being dif­fer­ent from what they’d imag­ined. My French last name was also a crowd-pleaser. I ate it all up with a spoon. My false pride, how­ev­er,  came to an abrupt halt towards the end of my fresh­man year when one of my white dorm-mates told me to, “Go back to Africa.” I was stunned. Sure­ly, she couldn’t mean me? I had the per­fect­ly straight hair. I dressed well. I made the Dean’s list. I spoke prop­er­ly. How could she, in a moment of anger, reduce me to being a black face just like any oth­er? I was dif­fer­ent. Wasn’t I? It was a hard lesson, but she woke me up good and prop­er. I’ve nev­er been the same and I’m proud that I did not go into adult­hood car­ry­ing that load of self-hatred with me.

Recent­ly, Huff­in­g­ton Post writer , who is of Cameroo­ni­an her­itage, penned an open let­ter to African immi­grants, urg­ing them to not fall vic­tim to the same belief sys­tem.  She writes:

White Amer­i­cans will say you are bet­ter than Amer­i­can blacks, but please do not fall for this trap. You will be told you behave bet­ter, work hard­er, and are more edu­cat­ed than Amer­i­can blacks. You will be tempt­ed to agree and will some­times want to shout, “YES, I’M NOT LIKE THEM, WE AFRICANS ARE DIFFERENT!” Just don’t…don’t even think it.

The praise of your acquired char­ac­ter­is­tic and cul­ture becomes a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for white Amer­i­cans to per­pet­u­ate dis­crim­i­na­to­ry treat­ments towards Amer­i­can blacks. The­se state­ments of praise have an under­ly­ing mes­sage of, “If Africans can do so well then sure­ly racism has noth­ing to do with any­thing, there­fore, Amer­i­can Blacks are to be blamed for their con­di­tion in Amer­i­ca”. This prob­lem­at­ic line of rea­son­ing sus­tains cul­tur­al racism. I beg of you, refrain from nod­ding in agree­ment when you receive such faulty praise.

Indeed, West Indi­ans, like the African immi­grants described in Seppou’s let­ter, are guilty of the same mis­deeds. In want­i­ng to carve out a place for our­selves in a soci­ety where being black places you on the bot­tom rung, we have per­pet­u­at­ed the belief that we are bet­ter than our African Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts.

Caribbean cul­ture and African cul­ture are dif­fer­ent than African Amer­i­can cul­ture. But when we cel­e­brate our unique­ness, it should nev­er be to shame African Amer­i­can cul­ture.

I’m a Lip­stick-obsessed Jour­nal­ist and Fash­ion Blog­ger. You can find me over on my blog or youtube chan­nel swatch­ing lip­pies and strut­ting around in 5-inch heels. I’m a also a brand coach, spe­cial­iz­ing in video mar­ket­ing and dig­i­tal brand devel­op­ment. Find me @lisaalamode.

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316 Comments on "How I Learned That Being West Indian Didn’t Make Me Better Than African Americans"

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Sach
There is a com­plex and sym­bi­otic rela­tion­ship between being a black and a for­eign­er in this coun­try. In some ways we are dif­fer­ent in that we didn’t grew up or least made to feel infe­ri­or and crim­i­nal­ized on a dai­ly basis implic­it­ly and explic­it­ly. We still have to deal with the oppress­ing rem­nants of slav­ery and colo­nial­ism like colourism and being oth­er. African Amer­i­cans have fought the fight that has allowed us to get edu­cat­ed in the­se illus­tri­ous US Uni­ver­si­ties, not to have to sit at the back of the bus and many oth­er human rights. Those oppor­tu­ni­ties grant­ed to… Read more »
MyTake305

Great arti­cle. I’m “African Amer­i­can,” born and raised in Miami and I’ve def­i­nite­ly observed this dynam­ic.

Black peo­ple will do any­thing they can to set them­selves apart from what­ev­er they con­sid­er to be a stereo­typ­i­cal black per­son. It’s not only Caribbean ver­sus AA ver­sus African… it’s also a class thing. African Amer­i­cans who’s reached a cer­tain sta­tus will try to dis­as­so­ci­ate with Black Amer­i­cans as a whole. 

It’s so f*cked up and utter­ly sad we can’t take full pride in being a black per­son. That being some­thing oth­er than black is pre­ferred. So f*cking sad.

smartytrousers

You gen­er­al­ized with no exam­ples. What are you refer­ring to when you say this?

JahNikki

Ganado­ra, you can’t be seri­ous, right? His­tor­i­cal­ly, the achieve­ments by Black Amer­i­cans have been gained by just that, Black Amer­i­cans. The hard work, sac­ri­fice, dis­crim­i­na­tion, and such expe­ri­enced by Black Amer­i­cans have paved the way for immi­grants from the West Indies and Africa to be able to come here and flour­ish. If there was no Civil Rights Move­ment, I doubt there would be any Black peo­ple with the achieve­ments they have today — Black Amer­i­can, West Indi­an, or African.

Oh, and I’m 1/2 Nige­ri­an and 1/2 Black Amer­i­can, so I’ve seen both sides of the coin.

Anya W
“Why is it that Italians/Irish/British are able to dis­tin­guish them­selves cul­tur­al­ly with­out being crit­i­cized? Nobody tells them that they shouldn’t see them­selves as “Ital­ians” because “at the end of the day white is white”. This rhetoric is unheard of.” That is a bad com­par­ison because you’re com­par­ing white Amer­i­cans — the major­i­ty group that has nev­er had identity/race issues — to black Amer­i­cans — a minor­i­ty group that has had many identity/race issues. It is unheard of because white Amer­i­cans are not neg­a­tive­ly judged by soci­ety sim­ply because they are white, with­out regard to their eth­nic ori­gins. So, you wouldn’t… Read more »
R.Cola
They don’t have race/identity issues because their own peo­ple don’t have a prob­lem with their own cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty. If a white per­son says they’re Ital­ian, the odds of anoth­er white per­son say­ing “Yeah well White is white and being ital­ian doesn’t mean you’re not white” And IMO we have this issue because of peo­ple who believe this state­ment is ok.… “You can choose to iden­ti­fy as Jamaican, Nige­ri­an, or what­ev­er, but black Amer­i­cans know from hun­dreds of years worth of expe­ri­ence in Amer­i­ca that noth­ing will ever negate your black­ness.” What is that sup­posed to mean? Being Jamaican/Nigerian/Dominican etc. doesn’t make me… Read more »
Anya W
Amer­i­ca has exploit­ed black Amer­i­cans far more than it has exploit­ed any indi­vid­u­al coun­try — black, white, or brown — so why you believe it nec­es­sary for black Amer­i­cans to under­stand “how much Amer­i­ca has exploit­ed pre­dom­i­nant­ly black/brown coun­tries around the world” is beyond me. The only group who has been exploit­ed as much by Amer­i­ca are the Native Amer­i­cans. Sec­ond­ly, it’s rather igno­rant to assume that black Amer­i­cans do not already under­stand that Amer­i­ca has treat­ed oth­er nations poor­ly. You seem to know very lit­tle about the his­to­ry of the peo­ple you seem to think you know so much… Read more »
Anya W
Wel­come to race in Amer­i­ca. Your expe­ri­ence is a lega­cy of the one-drop rule. You’d be sur­prised to know that most African Amer­i­cans are actu­al­ly genet­i­cal­ly both African and Euro­pean (some­times Native Amer­i­can, as well, but less so) as a result of the fre­quent rap­ing of black wom­en dur­ing slav­ery, yet we’ve only ever been con­sid­ered “black”, “negro”, or what­ev­er the term was that was being used at the time. This served the pur­pose of ensur­ing that white suprema­cy con­tin­ued in Amer­i­ca, while also pro­tect­ing the “puri­ty” of the white race. The mind­set per­sists today with­out many peo­ple real­iz­ing where… Read more »
Anya W
I guess some­one had bet­ter let peo­ple like Har­ri­et Tub­man, Fred­er­ick Dou­glass, and black Union sol­diers (such as my 3rd great grand­fa­ther) know that they aren’t respon­si­ble for African Amer­i­cans’ free­dom — Haitians are. Your post is a huge over­state­ment. First­ly, the enslave­ment of African Amer­i­cans last­ed for over a half-cen­tu­ry after the Haitian Rev­o­lu­tion and Jim Crow didn’t end until the 1960s. Thus, the Haitian Rev­o­lu­tion is not “the rea­son black Amer­i­cans enjoy free­doms in Amer­i­ca”. The rights that African Amer­i­cans enjoy today are large­ly the pro­duct of our own fights and our own advo­ca­cy (though that is not… Read more »
Anya W
And you do real­ize that none of the achieve­ments of 1st/2nd/3rd gen­er­a­tion Amer­i­cans would even be pos­si­ble with­out African Amer­i­cans hav­ing paved the way in every respect, right? It was the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a law that was pri­mar­i­ly the pro­duct of the work of African Amer­i­cans, which made it ille­gal to dis­crim­i­nate again­st some­one not just based on their race, but also their nation­al orig­in. Amer­i­ca as it is now — a place where a non-white immi­grant can come and make a huge suc­cess of him/herself — is a new Amer­i­ca that African Amer­i­cans have worked hard… Read more »
Sach
You are right African Amer­i­cans have fought the fight that has allowed us to get edu­cat­ed in the­se illus­tri­ous US Uni­ver­si­ties, not to have to sit at the back of the bus and many oth­er human rights. Those oppor­tu­ni­ties grant­ed to us by their efforts can at times make us feel we are supe­ri­or and AA resent­ful that we are tak­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties that are deemed theirs. The laugh­able part is that white wom­en have been the most ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the civil rights move­ment. So there we go again fight­ing over a very small piece of the pie when some­one else’s… Read more »
Tanaquil

I would nev­er see myself as being above Amer­i­can Blacks because I am West Indi­an because at the end of the days, we are all Black. We may have grown up in dif­fer­ent cul­tures, but we should teach each oth­er instead of being divi­sive. I do not think that there is one sin­gu­lar way to be Black just like there is no one way to be White, Asian. Lati­no, African, etc.

Jarrett Guilbe Gaymon
Jarrett Guilbe Gaymon
I’d like to expand the con­ver­sa­tion then as I’m glad you bring up this con­cern about xeno­pho­bia, era­sure and priv­i­lege that you say African-Amer­i­cans have and exude. African-Amer­i­cans do not enjoy priv­i­lege over non-Amer­i­can black peo­ple in the US in any­wise, in fact, we are seen as infe­ri­or and lazy because that is the nar­ra­tive that is ascribed us by pop­u­lar cul­ture here. The xeno­pho­bia of which you speak is not wide­spread, and that of it which does exist is a direct respon­se to the treat­ment we receive by non-Amer­i­can black peo­ple that by and large have the same dis­dain… Read more »
Ganadora Loteria
Although I do agree with you that much of the atti­tudes we have towards each oth­er as black peo­ple in the dias­po­ra stem from a col­o­niz­ers lens, it does not take away priv­i­leges that cer­tain black peo­ple have over oth­er groups of black peo­ple, which also stems from said col­o­niza­tion. When I speak of black/African Amer­i­cans, I am speak­ing of social con­di­tion­ing as opposed to indi­vid­u­als. I assumed this was under­stood. And of course black/African Amer­i­cans expe­ri­ence dis­crim­i­na­tion by non-US black peo­ple, I nev­er stat­ed oth­er­wise. I said, “…let us please add some con­text to this dia­logue” because this was… Read more »
Sach
Thank you for point­ing that some of the the prej­u­dices can be rec­i­pri­cal. I had Affrican Amer­i­cans say things like you are Haitian but you don’t look Haitian. You are not ugly and dark. Or do you prac­tice voodoo since you are Haitian? There is a com­plex and sym­bi­otic rela­tion­ship between being a black and a for­eign­er in this coun­try. In some ways we are dif­fer­ent in that we didn’t grew up or least made to feel infe­ri­or and crim­i­nal­ized on a dai­ly basis implic­it­ly and explic­it­ly. We still have to deal with the oppress­ing rem­nants of slav­ery and colo­nial­ism… Read more »
Osato

We should, but we all know why we aren’t…let’s not play the blame game here though

Ganadora Loteria

I wasn’t play­ing the blame game. I replied to a post that implied that black/African Amer­i­cans are supe­ri­or to oth­er non-US black peo­ple.

Osato

It’s one-sid­ed because it stems from her per­son­al expe­ri­ence

Ganadora Loteria

“Although I rec­og­nize, acknowl­edge and appre­ci­ate this post by Lisa Jean Fran­cois, it is very one sid­ed, which is expect­ed of a per­son­al piece.” — the first sen­tence in my respon­se.

Notice how I men­tioned it being expect­ed to be one-sid­ed because it is a per­son­al piece.

Ganadora Loteria
Although I rec­og­nize, acknowl­edge and appre­ci­ate this post by Lisa Jean Fran­cois, it is very one sid­ed, which is expect­ed of a per­son­al piece. I hope this con­ver­sa­tion is expand­ed to speak about xeno­pho­bia, era­sure, cen­ter­ing and priv­i­lege black/African Amer­i­cans have and exibit towards non-US black peo­ple. This is also a seri­ous issue that is often, if not always, over looked. In the same sense that cis-gen­der black men cen­tre their bod­ies, their strug­gles, their voic­es, their nar­ra­tive over those of black wom­en, black/African Amer­i­cans do that to non-US black peo­ple. Just like cis-gen­der black men have cer­tain privilege(s) over black… Read more »
Just saying!!
This is awe­some! As an African-Amer­i­can, I have often expe­ri­enced dis­dain from Caribbeans, and i believe black immi­grants have prob­a­bly had their share of expe­ri­ences being crit­i­cized by African-Amer­i­cans as well, but I was always of the belief that it is the “divide and con­quer” men­tal­i­ty. It only ben­e­fits one group of peo­ple for us to con­stant­ly be try­ing to fig­ure out who the bet­ter slave is (sort of speak). I’m so glad you chose to no longer be a vic­tim of that men­tal­i­ty. Whether we like it or not, all of us around the world have been impact­ed my… Read more »
Ron

But don’t African Amer­i­cans have more his­to­ry and achieve­ments far more than any oth­er group of blacks I think you would have to com­pare all the oth­er blacks around the world to equate to wait African Amer­i­cans have done

Outlaw Star

by whose stan­dards?

Ganadora Loteria

First of all, no you don’t have more his­to­ry and achieve­ments far more than any oth­er ‘group of blacks’. And, you do real­ize that many of the his­to­ry and achieve­ments that black/African Amer­i­cans have are by immi­grants and 1st/2nd/3rd gen­er­a­tion Amer­i­cans, right? 

Also, Amer­i­ca, the coun­try, has more resources and black/African Amer­i­cans ben­e­fit from those resources (which are most­ly exploits of pre­dom­i­nant­ly black and brown coun­tries and labour), so you should be ‘doing bet­ter’ than any­one else.

Connor Meyer

HAITIANS ARE NOT WEST INDIAN. You should do your research before spread­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion. Again, HAITIANS ARE NOT WEST INDIAN.

Bigg King

Bleh, they’re caribbean so it doesn’t mat­ter

Connor Meyer

So is the case for Puer­to Ricans, Cubans and Domini­cans. It does mat­ter. There is a big dif­fer­ence between Caribbean and West Indi­an. It only doesn’t mat­ter to the next gen­er­a­tion filled with anti-intel­lec­tu­als, anti-ratio­nal­ists and oth­er proud-to-be-morons. Haitians are not WEST INDIAN, they’re Caribbean.

Fixer

um, West Indi­an is the group of peo­ple from or inhab­it­ing the region of the West Indies. if you didn’t know, the West Indies are the Caribbean, before you talk about “anti-intel­lec­tu­als” do your research before you make a bold claim. Car­ribean peo­ple have dif­fer­ent labels thanks to dif­fer­ent names given to the region and what­ev­er they go by does not mat­ter as long as you know their the same thing.

OnPace

My ex-hus­band is African and his dis­dain for my peo­ple and our cul­ture was always a point of con­tention. My own daugh­ter once referred to me as “you peo­ple.” Don’t wor­ry I quick­ly set her straight remind­ing her, “Any­body could be yo dad­dy. It’s for sure I’m yo mama.” Our sons have also expressed to me that he speaks so bad­ly of Black Amer­i­cans that they’ve had to remind him, “Dad, we’re your kids too.” The real­ly sad thing is he’s obliv­i­ous to the fact that he’s just a pawn. He real­ly thinks he’s bet­ter.

Coolbean
God, I’m real­ly sor­ry you went through that. And it doesn’t sur­prise me your daugh­ter said that to you. I’ve heard sto­ries from friends (I’m Soma­li BTW) when the civil war hap­pened in Soma­lia a daugh­ter telling her own moth­er “It’s our turn now and we’ll get our day in the sun”. Mind you her father’s tribe was slaugh­ter­ing her mother’s tribe. And She was nev­er raised by her father’s tribe but her mother’s. I Think Africans are stu­pid. Not all but some. And their stu­pid­i­ty some­times is hered­i­tary. I love African Amer­i­cans. I feel that we need to come… Read more »
JoAnn Gardner
After I read the book, King Leopold’s Ghost — I knew with­out a doubt how the game worked. Once upon a time I worked for a law-firm, and met a young-lady from the Con­go. She bare­ly spoke to me, and chose to spend all her time with “Amer­i­cans”. It took time, but I final­ly became acquaint­ed with her, enough to rec­om­mend the book for her read­ing plea­sure. I chose THIS book, because it was writ­ten by an “Amer­i­can” (which car­ries more weight with some), and because she was from that region. I advised her, that IF, she read it, she… Read more »
Coolbean

Thumbs up a thou­sand times. I’m gonna read this book.

Nissi
Wow, what a relief, thanks for this! Now I know that I am not crazy and final­ly have expla­na­tion for what I have been expe­ri­enc­ing. It’s not just me and my imag­i­na­tion. With­in my wor­ship con­text of what has become a major­i­ty Caribbean / West Indi­an pop­u­la­tion, I as an African Amer­i­can have been liv­ing the phe­nom­e­na in your arti­cle and found this to be a pro­nounced and yes, painful, issue for me. Expect­ing every­one to come togeth­er spir­i­tu­al­ly in the name of Christ the Lord with an open heart and “kum­baya” togeth­er (since we’re all of African descent), and… Read more »
Sharon Equality-Now Johnson Mi
Sharon Equality-Now Johnson Mi
This is ter­ri­bly annoy­ing to pre­sume the civil rights strug­gle was sim­ply rel­e­gat­ed to African Amer­i­can Natives. The civil rights strug­gle was car­ried out by all black peo­ple in the USA and the Caribbean! Being Black in Amer­i­ca, doesn’t mean your ances­tors were only locat­ed in main­land Amer­i­ca. Slave own­ers moved slaves between their plan­ta­tions in the USA and Caribbean. I can trace my ances­tors to gen­er­a­tions of Amer­i­can Native born, to their broth­ers and sis­ters in the Caribbean and back. It’s so ridicu­lous that peo­ple make the­se igno­rant state­ments. Black peo­ple of all ‘stripes’ fought the civil rights move­ment… Read more »
Sharon Equality-Now Johnson Mi
Sharon Equality-Now Johnson Mi

Black. Regard­less of whether you’re Afto-Ital­ian, Afro-Indi­an, etc. Afro means black. Be proud of it.

Sharon Equality-Now Johnson Mi
Sharon Equality-Now Johnson Mi
I think you miss the point that even Africans dropped off in the West Indies were also stripped of their cul­ture. As Africans in the new world how­ev­er, we cre­at­ed our mem­o­ries of our home­land passed down along the way. Go to the south and you will see, feel and hear taste the rem­nants of our African ances­try enmeshed into the cul­tures of the new world..This became our African Amer­i­can cul­ture. It’s as much our African Amer­i­can cul­ture as the Caribbean peo­ples who cre­at­ed their own based on their geo­graph­i­cal influ­ences.. The Black Dias­po­ra is very cre­ative, regard­less of our… Read more »
Pepie

Great point. I am West Indi­an and I know for a fact there is a AA cul­ture. I will start with great food, Music, Arts, peo­ple, etc. I once dat­ed a AA from down south, maan I was called the most dar­ling of pet names. Love you guys.

Anya W
It is true that Caribbean peo­ples have been able to hold on to more of their African cul­ture when com­pared to African Amer­i­cans. Caribbean nations were black-major­i­ty nations, despite being ruled by Euro­peans. This is not the case in Amer­i­ca, which was made up of set­tler colonies and has always been over­whelm­ing­ly Euro­pean. Blacks were inevitably influ­enced by Euro­peans in large mea­sure due to those fre­quent dai­ly inter­ac­tions with them.  It is no coin­ci­dence that African Amer­i­cans who reside in the Low Coun­try (a region made up of iso­lat­ed South Car­oli­na and Geor­gia islands that are inhab­it­ed almost exclu­sive­ly by African… Read more »
Newslord
The name of the game is divide and con­quer. In real­i­ty black is Black. Yes, Some wht­es in pow­er (and blacks too) will make a dis­tinc­tion between Black peo­ple of the Car­ribbean and South Amer­i­ca vs. Blacks from Africa vs. Blacks from the USA. Ulti­mate­ly the same dis­crim­i­na­tion applies in job hunt­ing, get­ting a mort­gage, salary inequities, etc. Ulti­mate­ly black peo­ples of the world have more in com­mon with each oth­er than they do with the Whites.  Each per­son regard­less of his/her cul­tur­al back­ground has tal­ent they have as indi­vid­u­als and steer clear of cre­at­ing ene­mies. Don’t hide your orig­in.… Read more »
christinanolanXD

The hypocrisy of whites is so preva­lent.

Take Rihan­na and Bey­on­ce.

I’ve seen racist com­ments by whities on Beyonce’s insta­gram, call­ing her a mon­key, say­ing that her daugh­ter looks like an ape.

Rihan­na gets noth­ing.

joan pike

I see AA say­ing the same about Blue and J. Sad

christinanolanXD

I’m British African and I used to think like this (a tiny bit). I’m 15 now but I’m glad I’ve stopped.

mocha87

I get it on both sides. My moth­er is trinida­di­an, and my father is jamaican. I was born and raised in amer­i­ca and i feel i dont fit in with my car­ribean roots. They treat me like an african amer­i­can even though my roots are car­ribean. I have been on the side of the fence where i hear my fam­i­ly talk­ing aboit black amer­i­cans. And ive been on the side where im treat­ed like a reg­u­lar black amer­i­can. Its sad but thats the way it is.

Kyoko Sakata

I feel sim­i­lar­ly to you. My father is African Amer­i­can and my moth­er is Antiguan, I didn’t strug­gle with terms of black, African Amer­i­can or British West Indi­an though I tried to iden­ti­fy through each one and I nev­er found the sweet spot. In my house hold we nev­er derid­ed West Indi­ans or Amer­i­cans who are black. There are mind­sets that are remark­ably dif­fer­ent but nev­er to the point of us vs them. In my house were are us AND them.

Sugabelly

Yes but why do we care what the racist per­son sees or thinks though?

Sugabelly
I get this in the­o­ry, but the point I was mak­ing is that we sim­ply don’t think this way. Amer­i­cans might not know this but you CAN tell Africans apart just by look­ing visu­al­ly. And we grow up doing this all the time, so when I see some­one, I might come inside my house and say some­thing like “There’s an Edo wom­an and two Yoruba men stand­ing out­side.” We sim­ply don’t grow up reach­ing for “black” as the first descrip­tor for a per­son so it’s very hard to shift into that mind­set even if you move to a new coun­try.… Read more »
Cosita
Inter­est­ing. Makes sense. I see dif­fer­ences in appear­ances in dif­fer­ent African eth­nic groups but many times I can’t pin the fea­tures to a speci­fic group. Well I can usu­al­ly tell some­one is East African but Nige­ri­an I usu­al­ly get from accent. The same way if some­one from an African coun­try far from Nige­ria came to your door you might not imme­di­ate­ly know their eth­nic­i­ty. Most of my close friends are either immi­grants or the chil­dren of immi­grants. I don’t get what the “issues” are between peo­ple. I know my friend from Argenti­na told me he hates Dom­in­cans and Puer­to Ricans.… Read more »
STOP

“Im not sure how I feel about the tone of this arti­cle. It sug­gests that
car­ribean and african cul­tures are more syn­ony­mous than african Amer­i­can
cul­tures vs african/Caribbean cul­tures.”

Exact­ly! I picked that up too. This post is thin­ly masked buf­foon­ery and self-right­eous­ness being passed off as some out­stretched olive branch. Chile, PLEASE!

STOP

TRUTH.

STOP

PLEASE stop with this masked self-con­tempt and melo­dra­ma.

Precious

Wow. That’s what you took from her com­ment? Smh

Kim

Any­body else think it’s cool that her name is Lisa Frank?

Dana Nero
Ive always heard that Africans did not like African Americans.As i got old­er, trav­eled abroad and met dif­fer­ent peo­ple, i came to believe that all black peo­ple loved each oth­er and that that was just a thing we had been told to keep us seper­ate. Hon­est­ly, they try to play the same trick on us in amer­i­ca. They show us starv­ing chil­dren in Africa, mass mur­ders or makeshift rafts filled with Haitian peope wash­ing up on us soil;only to be pushed away and refused entry . we hear noth­ing of the mod­ern cities and beau­ti­ful cul­tures. This is the 2nd… Read more »
Kyoko Sakata
You hit the nail on the head. Peo­ple with dark skin col­or are just used to make mon­ey and enter­tain­ment. Fat jokes, football/basketball, singers and per­form­ers, ser­vice indus­try workers…it is okay for blacks to be that but if you try any­thing else you are not accept­ed even to the point that some blacks will ask, “Why are you sell­ing out to the man?” This great­ly sad­dens me that every­one can CLEARLY see we are human but idiots let skin col­or dri­ve stereo­types, hate and every­thing else dic­tate how a man or wom­an is going to be treat­ed. This is world… Read more »
joan pike

They did not own every cor­ner of Africa, ask the Ethiopi­ans about that ;-).

YolandaYRT

I’ve always love being Black, African Amer­i­can. I’m mys­ti­fied by self hatred because of skin col­or. I was taught to research true his­to­ry of Africa’s Great Black Civ­i­liza­tions from birth. I know Euro­pean and Amer­i­ca pro­pa­gan­da BS lies so can dis­pute and chal­lenge BS of stereo­types. The his­to­ry of my African Amer­i­can ances­tors here in Amer­i­ca who shed their blood for the human and civil rights huge­ly ben­e­fit­ted all peo­ple of col­or and wom­en. They are rea­sons West Indi­ans oth­ers enjoy free­doms in Amer­i­ca and the oppor­tu­ni­ties to suc­ceed.

Ganadora Loteria

And the Haitian Rev­o­lu­tion was the first free coun­try in the west­ern hemi­sphere, which lead to ‘free­dom’ for all oppressed peo­ple. So this is the rea­son black Amer­i­cans enjoy free­doms in Amer­i­ca.

John Thompson

Excel­lent point.

Sharon Equality-Now Johnson Mi
Sharon Equality-Now Johnson Mi
Your last two sen­tences illu­mi­nate your lim­it­ed research. Had your depth and breadth of research been as com­pre­hen­sive as you sug­gest, then you would’ve elim­i­nat­ed those com­ments. Hav­ing stud­ied World his­to­ry, I know the his­to­ry and strug­gles of African Amer­i­cans and Caribbean Amer­i­cans. We must also include the strug­gles of Africans in South and Cen­tral Amer­i­ca. Sim­ply because they’re not in the text­books you’ve cho­sen for your research, doesn’t mean they should be negat­ed. Mar­cus Gar­vey was Caribbean. Tou­s­saint L’Ourture from Haiti and many more. Haiti fought for and received their free­dom before Amer­i­ca did. They were asked for their… Read more »
John Thompson

Anoth­er excel­lent point.

So Raya
CORRECTION: It was not just African Amer­i­cans who fought on behalf of black peo­ple in this nation. Begin­ning in the 1500s when the Spaniards first land­ed on North Amer­i­can soil bring­ing their west indi­an human prop­er­ty here as “slaves”, Afro-Caribbean peo­ple have made many sac­ri­fices on behalf of black peo­ple in this coun­try. The Civil Rights Era is one of the best exam­ples of how black peo­ple from all walks of life came togeth­er to fight a com­mon cause dur­ing the 20th cen­tu­ry. Many Civil Rights activists were of Caribbean her­itage (par­tial) or were born in the islands before migrat­ing… Read more »
Felina Femenina

There were numer­ous peo­ple instru­men­tal to the Amer­i­can Civil Rights Move­ment who had West Indi­an nation­al­i­ty or her­itage. Mal­colm X, Har­ry Bela­fonte, and Stoke­ly Carmichael, Nina Simone, Shirley Chisholm, for starters.

tracienatural
Emjay Man­gual, was it racism or prej­u­dice? West Indi­an immi­grants don’t have pow­er or con­trol of sys­tems in this coun­try, so they can’t real­ly use their prej­u­dice to impact your life (although they may have done so, to a lim­it­ed extent, in your exam­ple). There were two West Indi­an wom­en involved in this inci­dent, right? There are millions–let me repeat–MILLIONS of West Indi­an wom­en in this world, quite a few of which live in the NY tri-state area. You can’t stereo­type mil­lions of peo­ple off of one inci­dent with two wom­en. Unless, you just want to, because you can. I… Read more »
Tracienatural
Yes, DreaMLC, I know about Queens (father’s side of fam­i­ly lives in Queens/Long Island),because I used to vis­it almost every week­end as a teenager. I try to explain the­se things to peo­ple out­side the tri-state area but I guess you had to live it to under­stand. My fam­i­ly mem­bers were in Eng­land, too. When I was in school they called me British, teased me about my prop­er speech, dif­fer­ent attire — Eng­lish rib­bons and patent leather lol. I think at that timthis is di were strange/different to African -Amer­i­cans; they prob­a­bly just didn’t under­stand us.  In my opin­ion, some of the… Read more »
Pepie

Why red, black and green. The PAN right? I like the Red, Gold and Green (ights, gold and green as we call it back in the Caribbean LOL)

DreaMLC

Final­ly, some­one who under­stands!

tracienatural

*at that time we were strange/different

Charlotte

This hit home with me. Being of Indi­an descent and half black. My moth­er is Indi­an from Trinidad and an African Amer­i­can father. I learned quick­ly though as long as you have black in you in America.….baby you black.…not African black, not haitian black not, Jamaican black, heck even when your black and white your still black

Phoenix Starr

Geo­graph­i­cal­ly, nei­ther is Guyana…

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