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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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325 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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