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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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lis

Ignorant….a lot of West Indians look straight up African’….is that supposed to be an insult?….sigh….I’ve had a few run ins with some Africans and tend to keep my distance until I know them better…but I have to say when an African woman is beautiful….there’s no comparison. …perfect skin, features, bodies, even teeth….When African women are beautiful…….THEY ARE DROP DEAD GORGEOUS….so come again.

mmmmm
The issue with this is at you’re all living for the white man’s approval. I’m also Haitian, but I’m tired of people telling me to conform to a standard of “blackness” that is not me. It is not my history. When will all our history’s be told/known? I did date several African men. 2 of them were divisive so I’ve experienced that but I took it as a huge cultural problem which it is. I haven’t been to any African countries yet, when I go I’ll have a better understanding of it. Just like when I came here to the… Read more »
maralondon
The histories are all inter connected anyways. I think it’s silly to see us all as separate entities. When Europeans struck in Africa they were in cahoots with each other over who would get what and where. They didn’t care to keep us together according to our kins people, we were strewn everywhere. Many of us had families who remained on the continent and family members were further removed and taken to different parts of the Americas. Although I live in England with Caribbean parents I consider those in the diaspora lost cousins. We don’t know who we are related… Read more »
Todd Pearson

That’s because American blacks have their OWN Institutions…and have had them for the past century…most American Blacks attend HBCUs. But what’s interesting is why can’t foreign born blacks achieve this in their native countries where they are the majority and run the government and resources. Would love to see an article on that.

Ganadora Loteria

We do and we have achieved these things. Also, ‘American imperialism’ has alot to do with the destruction of many black/brown nations and our governments. Your argument lacks context.

Todd Pearson

Yes all immigrants benefit off the free labor of black Americans…Maybe one day American blacks can get their reparations for giving immigrants the American Dream.

Pepie
I am Guyanese and i share some your the sentiments regarding differences. Having lived in the US for almost 10 years I can relate to everything said on this thread thus far. I believe too, until recent, that a significant difference between West Indians and African Americans was slavery ending early in the West Indies. When slavery ended in August of 1838, Guyana freed slaves bought the first plantation in November of that same year and named it Victoria. In February of 1938 the second plantation was bought and named Buxton; my father’s family are from this village. For more… Read more »
lis
So why so many of you in the us?…bought plantations? From? If you own the country..’no one? love or respect Black Americans’..who is no one?..whites?…because they love and respect you all..right?…please….even when they are in your countries..they do not….believe it or not Black Americans love and respect themselves, inspite of what shitty rap hip hop culture says because i know thats what you all look at…… listen ….slavery ended in the US in 1863./5…on paper….Black Americans had to navigate Jim crow, state terrorism, murder, rape, outnumbered, kept out of every industry/union, kept out of every scheme to provide people with… Read more »
Pepie

Lis, I think you misunderstood what I wrote. I honestly ask you to read my comment over again. I have tremendous amount of respect for African Americans. My comment was to show how different groups evolved out of slavery and colonialism. In my closing sentence I praised your struggles and indicated the world, including West Indians, benefit directly and indirectly from your fight. I am sadden by your response.

Camara

Bitch, we hate you too tf. You’re not shit. You think NY and other places in the US aren’t damn dirty ass slums? Our islands have natural beauty that this ugly country lacks, coon. West Indians are far more diverse than you think idiot, probably even more diverse that American black. No one wants to be you guys. Y’all seriously bring shame to other blacks around the world and y’all do not have any good manners at all you self hating, ignorant bitch.

Cosita

LMAO! You sound just as silly as her. You basicly said to black Americans “You bitches and coons don’t have good manners like we do.” Seriously?? LOL! I think you are both an embarassment to black people. If you haven’t seen natural beauty in the US then you must not get out much.

tracienatural

Just a small reminder: every African living outside of Africa is living on captured land, i.e. land stolen from its natives. So, America, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America–all captured land. Let’s not brag and say “my captured land is more beautiful than your captured land.” How do we sound? Ridiculous, especially since most Africans in the diaspora don’t own the so-called beautiful land in the first place! Come on now, black people, let’s love each other! Ase

Pepie

Very Informed post because it replicate the same issue here in America to a country predominately black.

Guest

Very true indeed. African American lack of family structure plays a big part in this matter.

Pepie

My friend, you can’t just make such a statement without citing your source like the person you’re responding to did. Statement is bias without proof.

Todd Pearson

And what comes in to play with foreign-born blacks not being able to achieve this in their native countries when blacks are the majority, run the government and control the resources. If they could achieve this in their native countries they wouldn’t have to migrate to America, England, Canada or France.

maralondon
Although you have majority blacks in the Caribbean it is the Americans and other Europeans pulling the puppet strings. You will find that the political and even the education systems are based on models introduced to the people by former Colonisers Many of the Islands have tourism as it’s economical force. This industry is heavily invested by Asians(mainly Indians) and Europeans alike. I have yet to learn of any African Caribbean with a chain of big hotels or owning those inclusive holiday complexes which foreign people like to go to. There isn’t that much that we control in the Caribbean… Read more »
Anya W

Wrong. American racism and white supremacy is as much the reason for problems in the black community as European imperialism is the reason that Caribbean and African countries lag behind the rest of the world in every measure.

Guest

“African American lack of family structure *plays a big part* in this matter.”

**–meaning it plays a part, but it’s not the only part, and it’s not the whole part, just plays a big part within the whole.

Hope the additional descriptions helped.

Leese
I grew up in a West Indian household and oddly I never heard the us vs them until I was much older and people complained to me ( mostly AA). I didnt get it arent we all African americans or just simply black ?( which I prefer to be called its more inclusive to me) .The majority of my family resides in the islands and growing up i spent ever summer with them. They use to call me “Yankee” I dint know it was an insult until my 20s. Especially when the same cousins often wanted what I had, my… Read more »
LW

The Huffingtonpost writer hit it on the nail…its the divide and conquer method best believe racists don’t divide West Indians to AA and AA from Africans as long as your skin has any melanin I don’t care if its a light cream to the darkest blue black if you from Aruba to Argentina to Egypt you are a ninja to them.

If only we could realize and accept that and all join together we would be so powerful.

bbygirl

I’m very confused, can someone tell me why it’s ‘shameful’ to be Haitian? My cousin is Haitian and she doesn’t like to tell people, either. I think its something one should be proud of.

lis

Right…..Haitians have a proud history.

rainbow

They were the first black people to free themselves from slavery. White supremacy taught other black people to hate black people who are against white supremacy. Non Haitian people discriminate against Haitians.

Ta Juana TJ Burley-Robinson
Ta Juana TJ Burley-Robinson

It’s the dreaded lies of systematic massagany. Haitians are considered in alliance with the devil because they fought off slavery and oppression of the French. Good Christians say the sold their souls to the devil with their voodoo. When Napoleon left he took their lumber (sacred trees) and blackballed them from outside commerce. The Dominican Republic right on the other side of the island is revered for their mixing with their Spanish captors. We should be praising Haitians for their strength and bravery instead of perpetuating the stereotypes and I’ll will.

Kaygee.Allah
Hairltians catch ridicule because American whites started the campaign of negativity against them after the slave revolts that resulted in the French being exiled from the island. Although America profited greatly, by obtaining the Louisiana Purchase, the Haitians are still black, and the French are still white. This seeped into Black American culture because it was feted that if we knew we were the same people, we would revolt, as well. So, the equation of African spiritualisms (voodoo) with devil worship began. The same campaign that led us to believe that we’re different was spread throughout, and all who came… Read more »
LD

I can speak for myself as a Haitian but around where I grew up, it wasn’t cool. And the “uncool-ness” came from African Americans shaming us. Also, during that time there was a lot of the Haitian refugee talk going on and we were “boat people.” Not all African Americans are this way of course but I’ve noticed, a lot of African Americans talked crap about any black person from any other country because it was “weird” to them.

Sigma_Since 93

If West Indians understood from molasses to rum to slaves, they would know we all came over on the same boat. The only difference was the exit

I'land Gyal

I’ve been preaching this for YEARS…

leuqarila17

You made some very valid points. I’ve always felt like we black people in America we’re one of the first cultures to be “Americanized”. We still have bits and pieces of African culture, albeit unbeknownst to us. We are like magicians in the sense that we have a way of turning what was/is considered undesirable to the new “it” thing. We are brilliant!

kb

It’s really weird, how other blacks come here to the US, only bc African-Americans have made it palatable, and still look down us. Strange indeed

WebGarv

This is a massive point. I lament that perhaps because of the continued “adversity” between Black Americans and whites, Black Americans are distracted and can’t capitalize on their huge power. (I am from the Caribbean.)

Anya W
Your statement is very backwards, as it assumes that black Americans are the creators of race problems in America, and that if we would just be quiet, black Americans would be successful. No. That is not our heritage and it is not who we are. We have always been a politically active group – the most politically active minority group in America – and being politically active is precisely what has brought us as far as we’ve come; it’s also what allows black immigrants to this country to come here and be accepted into America. We continue to highlight race… Read more »
Ganadora Loteria

‘Americanism’ (which black/African Americans also actively participate in) is shoved down our non-US black throats. I wish black/African Americans understood how much America has exploited predominantly black/brown countries around the world.

Jimx16
We all came from one man and one woman, that’s Adam and Eve. We are in the 21st century and we should know better and do better. I am West Indian from Trinidad with a mixed heritage of African, East Indian and French decent. I will never deny none. Lets celebrate our cultural differences. I we are all one people that God but here on this earth. So long as Satan rules this earth there will be division, but when Christ comes back to rule this earth all of this division will be done away with. I am beautiful. that’s… Read more »
vwlover

At the end of the day black is black. No racist person is going to look at me and say, “Since you are Ghanaian you are okay. It’s the other black people I don’t like.” So yes it is silly to be divisive and ALL groups have been guilty of this (Africans, Black Americans, Careibeans, etc).

R.Cola
I agree with your second statement, but I have to disagree with your first point. Non American blacks do NOT share the same cultural identity as black Americans. Similarities? Absolutely. But we are different, and IMO “different” is good. Growing up as a Jamerican, I often didn’t fit into either side of the spectrum. I wasn’t black enough for the black kids, and I’m not white…I ate “foreign food”, I spoke differently than most AAs, I had different perspectives of diversity, among countless other things. I appreciate differences in all people, and I love Sharing culture, but I don’t want… Read more »
vwlover

Yes, I agree there are differences. My experience as a Ghanaian-American ( I refer myself as Ghanaian) is different than that of an African-American, Jamaican, Haitian, etc. My point is to a racist person there is no difference. You will never hear a racist person say, “I don’t like black people but I sure do love Bahamians.” That’s what I meant by at the end of the day we are all black. I hope I made sense.

Sugabelly

I don’t think we should have to be forced to identify ourselves based on the way racists and oppressors think about us.

What a racist thinks about me is really none of my business and I shouldn’t have to conform my sense of self to their own thoughts or ideas about me.

OXxo
Your comment shows you know nothing about European colonies and slavery in other parts of the world. West Indians, Hispanics and even Africans have last names which are the name of some white master. So a black person having a French, Dutch, Portuguese, Irish or British sounding name whose family isn’t AA and they have had that last name for known history has either slavery or some form of exploitation in their family history.* The difference with a Black person with family from elsewhere is they can claim another country and culture when they settle in America, yet some of… Read more »
V.
Not entirely sure what you are trying to get at here, but you kind of proved my point. Being black means something different in america than it does in places with predominantly black populations. Like Iman said in an interview “Where I’m from everyone is black. It is redundant to state that. I identify as Somali”. So yeah, of course a black american is going to cling on to being black because they don’t have a country to claim. I never said pick a random country in Africa and start identifying with their culture. Black americans have their own rich,… Read more »
DLB

Black Americans do have a country to claim, which is America; just like Blacks who come from other countries in the Caribbean, countries in Africa, Latin America, etc. can claim that country. Blacks from Somali, Ethiopia, Panama, Colombia, Trinidad, etc. can claim their country, but when you go to a nonblack country, you are going to be called Black. I’ve lived abroad to see this.

CocoaGoddess

Ignorant little girl. It’s good to be straight up African, means you know your heritage ?. You seem like an angry “white” black girl.

DLB

There are many “so called straight up Africans” that don’t know their own heritage. There is good/bad/ignorance on all sides, including your reply/comment. Just as there is much wisdom & knowledge from both sides because America’s greatest Black scholars teaching about Blacks & our history throughout the diaspora are Black Americans & some Blacks from the Caribbean. Black Americans built this country through slavery, inventions (that were stolen), many of our successful communities were destroyed by jealous whites, etc. Read the website BlackThen.

A. S. Baruti

I was hoping, at the end of every word, someone would call this thing out.

reina lockhart

This comment is so pathetic it’s not even worth the read. Why spread the same ignorance that was given to you? That’s so backwards. If anything, you sound jealous.

blu jamaican

Can we stop generalizing? Stereotyping can be fun coming from comedians, but when we start to get angry and put down a whole group of people based on (let’s face it), limited experience with them, just proves how uninformed you are. Case and point, Donald Trump’s ban on Muslims.
The Us vs Them mentality needs to end.

Treat people like individuals and not a group, stop the hate.

Cosita

So true. Every country, race, culture has its a$$holes. Don’t act like there are no idiots in your village. Unless you want them to represent how the world sees you shouldn’t do that to other people.

Sharon Doe

I agree. I am in Southeast Florida and there is still a divisiveness among the colored cultures here.

Nola Q. Darling

I live in south eastern Florida and I don’t even speak to Caribbean women. They are rude and the men only want to run scams.

tracienatural

Sis, ease up with these stereotypes. You don’t know enough people to make these generalizations. Real talk: most Caribbean people are very insular, i.e. tend to stay to themselves. So, it would be shocking that you knew enough Caribbean people to have “scams” run on you all the time. Maybe you need to go to different places, meet new people. You might find your niche. Blessings.

joan pike

They are probably not looking to be friends with you either. A sad situation.

Angela Booker

I am a African American woman married to an African man therefore a lot of Africans think they are safe telling me how “different” I am from other African Americans. I find it to be very insulting. Hear me and hear me clear at the end of the day we are all black in their eyes. My husband to had the false sense superiority and he learned the hard way and opened his eyes.

BB87

I’ve been in many situations where an older West Indian woman has taken a liking to me and asked me where I was from, meaning what Carribean country am I from. I hate when they say I’m “well-behaved” when they find out I’m not West Indian. You can keep your backhanded compliment. I am not flattered.
I also had a Haitian girl who had to attend court-ordered anger management that they were better behaved.

L

You are very ignorant. Looking African is a negative thing? You must also hate being black. I’m sure the white people still look down on you. It’s ok to call a culture coconuts but you would be offended to be called the N word. Go get an education. Not just book smarts…life smarts.

yoda

I see my comment has been m0derated

yoda

Seems you didn’t change your way of thinking until you got that negro wake up call.

A. S. Baruti

That is one helluva call.

Esha Fowlin

this article is everything and exactly what i have been saying to all blacks I encounter forever!!! lol like don’t you see this is a divisive strategy or are you so happy to be fake accepted that you would scorn your own? Kudos to this article….

Shye
As an American black woman I never like West Indians and I still dont. I was born and raised in New York. And unfortunately I had to be surrounded by a bunch of coconuts. They come from slums in the Caribbean and they have enough to look down on black Americans! I think they’re just jealous because of our complexion and or mixture a lot of West Indians look straight up African in most parts of the Caribbean. I don’t understand how they think they’re better than us win the slums if they come from are riddled with violence take… Read more »
Sugabelly

LMAO. You are incredibly ignorant if you think people can “look African”. There is no “African look”. Every single type of black person from light skinned, dark skinned, thin featured to thick featured is represented on the continent. Only an idiot would think that the “African look” is dark skinned, big , bulbous nose, thick, overblown lips, and super 4c hair.
Please nobody is jealous of you. Why would anybody be jealous of someone who clearly does not know basic information about other parts of the world?

Sugabelly

LMAO, dear God. She really said “they are jealous of our complexion and mixture”.

America, please increase the Department of Education’s budget already.

Cassie

Its not just coming from black West Indians but black Americans also. They do the same exact thing. There have been numerous times when I have overheard black Americans saying negative stereotypical things about West Indians. They assumed I was American.And many told me I didnt look like I could be from the country. Really? What are West Indians supposed to look like?

Rishona Campbell
Great piece! My father is Jamaican and my mother is African-American. Their relationship didn’t last past my toddler years, so I grew up with both dynamics. I heard the superiority talk from my Jamaican family; although being that we didn’t live in an area with a large West Indian population, when it came down to it, they were solidly a part of the local African-American community. Being born and raised in the US though, I found no distinction between myself and African-Americans; except that I listened to more reggae, could understand (but didn’t talk) patois, and we ate different food… Read more »
Emjay Mangual
I am a Black American and I wittnessed blatant racism by two West Indian women. I was at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in NYC, with my mother, waiting to have my cast removed. There were many people waiting to be seen. (White, Black, Hispanic, etc..) A middle aged black man was upset, because he was waiting for a long time, while others who supposedly came after him, went in before him. So he voiced his aggressions towards the women. (Both nurses at the orthopedic Dept.) Well when he walked away after more than a few choice words, the racial slurs… Read more »
Colleen Birchett
Have you read the “Willy Lynch Letter” lately? The basic principles in it may be able to be applied here. Are we not being divided from one another while interests of globalization and neocolonialism are distracting us from any investment in what happens to our mother countries and the continent of Africa? Once we start playing the “better than thou” and “exceptionalism” games, we pass this down to future generations. Then we run the risk of losing everything we have. Isn’t it interesting that the same corporate interests that divide Black people are unsuccessful in dividing people of Jewish descent… Read more »
64TayeFosterBradshaw82
64TayeFosterBradshaw82
This is a good message. I identify as Black, first, because it connects me with my melaninated brothers and sisters in the Americans, Central & South America, the Caribbean, and the motherland continent, Africa. We were all enslaved or ruled through colonialism. Those of us outside Africa, one of our ancestors was kidnapped and put on a slave ship and just dropped off at different ports. My heritage is Creole (New Orleans, free people of color) with known beginnings in Haiti & The Dominican Republic and Lyon, France. I am a fortunate “American black” in that our family was able… Read more »
maralondon
A more in depth knowledge of our origins is what is needed. I live in England parents are from the Caribbean. I also have a ton of family living in America as well as Canada. I’m always drawn to my people no matter which corner of the earth they happen to reside. I understand that there are cultural differences among us but I also know there are many things we have in common. Let’s not forget that this disdain for one another started with the WM. It was his mission to disconnect us from each other and needless to say… Read more »
Khalid Henriques

Great post. *applause* you wonderfully articulated my exact sentiments.

Linda Beamon

Awesome statement of truth….Thank you!

Blue Bell

you do know creoles from Haiti and Dominican Republic who came to America were slave owners escaping the revolution…yes Creoles in the Caribbean owned blacks as slaves…

Pepie
What is Creole(s)? Is it a person, a language or a culture? If I may, let me explain. The whole of the Caribbean has a Creole culture and can be regarded as creoles. The culture is simply a mixture of different cultures using a common European language in a broken form, which includes words and terms from other African, Indigenous and Asian languages. So we have Haitian Creole language, which to a large extent is a broken form of French with a heavy influence of African languages. St. Lucians also speak a broken form of french mixed with other languages,… Read more »
TWA4now

…we have a lot more in common than .not. If our features and skin color is one shade darker than theirs, rest assure they ALREADY made a choice to ensure they know we are black no matter what part of Africa a person is from. Skin color should NOT be an issue these days but sadly it STILL is.

OXxo

The civil war and genocide in Rwanda was on perceived differences between two tribes. Yet if you looked at pictures of them they would look the same simply because there was a lot of intermarriage between them.

People who believe they are better than another group who have the same skin colour as them obviously have never heard of the WM’s trick of divide and conquer. It was used to keep slaves of different main ethnicities and religions from joining together in their colonies to over throw them.

TWA4now

True and I am well aware of what you are saying….i.know it steams from slavery. I am prior military, read books, and have too many overseas friends.not to understand colorism and racism…plus I have experienced this at some level.

V.
Well, as a Nigerian American, my take on it is this. Many Americans, because of the lack of exposure to African and Caribbean cultures, fail to see black people beyond anything but black american. Compared to, say London, where there are many black people from many different countries, l stereotypes applied to a black american will not be the same as those applied to a Jamaican, a ghanian, an Ethiopian, and a Haitian. But in America they are. Sure, someone walking down the street doesn’t know I am of nigerian heritage, but that doesn’t change my upbringing, values, and culture.… Read more »
Jovi

The Point Is To Be Kumbaya. It Seems You’re Saying Thanks, But No Thanks. Thanks For Paying The Price, But Hold Up Dnt Pass Me The Bill. Smh. Dnt Be Like The Chinese, Hispanics, or Europeans. That Have Self Hate. Be Black ! Be African !

Guest

This article just went straight over your head.

Esha Fowlin

it really did lol wow

Yemi
THIS!!! I was born in Nigeria and lived there for most of my formative years. I am also a naturalized American and have now lived in the U.S. for longer than I ever did in my country. I identify as Nigerian American because no matter how American I have become, much of who I am today was shaped by my experiences as a Nigerian, first and foremost, and I still maintain strong ties to my culture. Yes, that heritage DOES make me very different from Black Americans. But it doesn’t make me some kind of special, magical African snowflake. At… Read more »
Angela Booker

Yemi well said!

V.
I never said being of direct African descent made me special, I said it doesn’t make me have the same culture and history as a black american whose history in America can be traced back to the 1500-1600s when mine can only be traced to the late 90s. Obviously I know I’m black and that society will place my blackness above my being Nigerian. What I’m saying is that doesn’t mean I should disregard my entire culture and ancestry simply because small minded people have only 1 idea of what it means to be black. I was raised in predominantly… Read more »
Guest

I understood your post, but my point was just that, all of the other stuff you brought up–identifying with being Nigerian instead of just black and etc, had ZERO to do with what the article was about.

Pepie

I once liked a Nigerian girl and she said, bare in mind I am Nigerian. I have no knowledge what that was but I left here alone. LOLOL. You see, I am West Indian and when people talk like that the first thing comes to mind is Obeah. LMAO.

Journey T.

But we already know you don’t have the same history so what is your point here? You want to be considered the same when it comes to black American resources, though, which makes you an exploiter and user, no?

Journey T.

But where in this article did it say that? This article was about feeling superior to black Americans. Which is your problem, not ours…,

lordblazer

but many americans literally lack exposure to black american culture and even interactions with black americans are fucking limited.

V.

I agree. I just wish in Americans as a whole had a better understanding of REAL African American culture (not this rap and hip hop culture that everyone believes is the extent of it) as well as african and carribean and even black hispanic cultures (heck, we can even through in australian aborigines) so that people would not be so small minded as to what it means to be black.

Windy Cat

Are you new to the U.S.? Many Americans ‘do not’ lack exposure to Black America, no not in 2015. Black people are everywhere in the U.S. Other races/ethnicities choose to not acknowledge Black people/Black culture because of racist views and history dating back hundreds of years. People were told ignorant bad things about Black people and ignorant stupid people believed it (still do).

Aaron

I think.it.makes.more.sense to include your history with anybody of the same ethnicity as you. Black history is any history in the world where your race had a hand in. This is not a nationality thing. Its an ethnicity thing. I celebrate black history around the globe as my own. I could.never limit it to a nation
A nation didnt birth me

smartytrousers
So you’re comparing London, a place where a person’s parents or grandparents are from an exact country and still possess their African name and culture to America where most of us have the last name what can be assumed to be of a slave master and first and middle names that are English, Greek, French and more and unless the slave masters kept excellent records, we wouldn’t have a chance in he’ll to trace our ancestors to a specific country. Yep! Definitely the same. *sarcasm* Black American people hold onto the idea of being black so badly because what else… Read more »
Milly
I’m glad you said this, because it’s so true. As much as it saddens me, that’s simply how human nature is. I don’t live in America, but I am an East African living in South Africa and you can see the exact same behaviour here. Elders in the EA community will say that South African blacks are wilder, more promiscuous, lazy, uneducated, basically echoing what white people say. People in this country will hire foreigners, most commonly Zimbabweans for jobs, because they are “more reliable”, “less likely to steal” or whatever else reason people will someone would come up with.… Read more »
kb

Your comparison to London, is inaccurate tho, NYC has many more blacks and from different countries. People assume you’re Black American because we have long history in the US ( 400) yrs unlike Blacks in London who arrived only after WWII Finally, you don’t like us, but you do have to respect us bc w/out US you couldn’t be here.

Pepie

or there in the UK. The period after the WWII that saw the heavy migration to the UK is call the Wind Rush period. UK needed labour to rebuild her country and she looked to her colonies.

kb

You really can’t compare American Black History to the Black history in the UK tho. American Blacks have been in the US for longer time and in greater numbers

maralondon

For your information England has always been multi cultural. Yes there was mass migration after WW2 from the Caribbean and later Africa but Blacks along with other ethnic groups have always been present not just in England but Europe as a whole. Unfortunately the British schools do not teach us this.

kb

I did know that actually, Liverpool was a slave port but You really can’t compare American Black History to the Black history in the UK tho. American Blacks have been in the US for longer time and in greater numbers

TWA4now

I like London! Awesome London Fog coats and clocks! 🙂

tracienatural
kb, it’s interesting you state that non-African-Americans couldn’t be in America if it wasn’t for the sacrifice of African-Americans. Interesting. First of all, the statement negates the West Indians who were part of the struggle for black freedom in this country. Many of your historical leaders actually had West Indian heritage. For example, Malcolm X (Grenadian mother), Stokley Carmichael (Trinidadian), Marcus Garvey (Jamaican), Louis Farakhan (Barbadian or “Bajan”/Jamaican parents), Colin Powell (Jamaican parentage), Shirley Chisolm (Bajan parents), and many, many more. As an aside, even the Haitian revolution had a Pan-African element: one of the three “Haitian” freedom fighters was… Read more »
kb

Thanks for responding, African Americans don’t influence immigration policy, by the attitudes behind them. Our civil rights’ struggles, and our subsequent social, economic gains, have made the US palatable for Africans, Latinos, Asians, etc. Our fight for improved treatment produced an environment that has improved social and economic access for everyone.

Tracienatural
Hi kb. Glad you responded. You’d be surprised that immigration laws have not been greatly impacted by the civil rights struggle. This is why Haitian refugees are turned around at sea by the Coast Guard (to even die on the high seas) while mostly white Cubans are allowed to stay under the “wet foot dry foot” policy. White Europeans are recruited to come here, while blacks join an immigration lottery system that can take over 20 years to complete. White immigrant families migrate together while black families are broken up with parents leaving their children behind for sometimes a decade… Read more »
lis

Actually…….Black Americans did fight for more Black immigrants to come here…that was a key point……and the immigration reform act of 196? came about because of the civil rights movement…before that the whites in power were very systematic in only allowing, for the most part, white European immigration….The civil rights movement changed that and it benefited all groups.

Journey T.

And we deeply regret having done so….

Anya W

Please see the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made it illegal to discriminate against someone not only based on their race, but also their national origin. This is a law that would not exist without African Americans. Granted, immigration was not the focus of the Civil Rights Movement, but our fight did, in fact, hugely benefit immigrants to the United States.

Journey T.

But if you can even admit that you benefit from black Americans when you get here while carrying thoughts of superiority how would you expect black Americans would treat or feel about you?

Black Americans are fully aware that you think you are superior. But since we know you are not, it doesn’t phase us we just don’t want you hanging out in our cultural space or benefitting from us. That is all….

maralondon

Funny how they(Europeans) more or less got along when they decided the fate of our African Ancestors. The real reason they don’t get along is greed, they have a history of fighting for dominance over land, minerals, you name it, all of which doesn’t belong to them. So on he surface it would seem that they hate the very sight of one another but trust me they know when it’s necessary to come together.

TWA4now

If culture seems to be a dividing factor, there MUST be something else that binds us together. To be honest, I had people from other colors, creeds, and religions help me more in my life than my own culture. We need to look past culture and color and see the heart of a person.

Colleen
It is all about colonialism and slavery. When I was in college, I worked for the summer one year, in London. There, some of the White English people at my job talked against the Black immigrants from their former colonies who had immigrated there to find jobs. They told me that I talked better worked harder, etc., etc., etc. They said they just generally liked African Americans better and that African Americans were smarter, and were not “heathens”. But I saw it as the same old routine. — pitting one group against another, due to the differences in the historical… Read more »
Journey T.
I don’t think Africans and West Indians know how much Black Americans are aware of their perceived superiority and how much it has hurt them. We are not at all interested in collaborating with either at all, but both are constantly in our cultural space trying to benefit or enrich themselves. I noticed this first at Howard University, whereby many rudely couldn’t wait to tell you how much better than were than American blacks, but were all attending on scholarships meant for black Americans while denigrating black Americans at every chance. Both groups benefit heavily from our history, culture and… Read more »
lis
Hmmmm…….sick of this topic but I’ll bite anyway….It’s obvious Caribbeans and Africans look at Black Americans through the racist white lenses….and some seem to NEED to so call look down on Black Americans…they NEED to…but I don’t think Black Americans care because hate to tell them they’re fooling themselves because 75% of Black Americans are in the middle class and Black Americans are some of the wealthiest and most educated Blacks in the world….blah blah blah…….Can they say the same…..and I do not dislike Caribbeans or Africans…that would be dumb to dislike people I don’t know who look like me… Read more »
Steven C Scott
How different? Very different and not so much. My parents are Jamaican so can only speak on that. But Afriacans for one come from different countries so by that nature there are many differences. From a Jamaican perspective, our language (british english and a dialect), our food, our dance, our religions much more diverse christianity and more importantly we are a mixed people. I am not sure how you cannot think there is a difference. I mean heck I see a difference in a black american that grew up in Denver, CO and one from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. To be… Read more »
Felina Femenina
Black people in the U.S. are more educated and more frequently found in the middle class, yes, but what you are forgetting is that Caribbeans, Africans and black Latin Americans in the U.S. are counted among those numbers of educated and middle class black people in the U.S. If you do a Google search on the percentage of foreign black students vs. native-born black students attending American universities, you’ll see many established, respectable publications report that the number of foreign-born blacks in American universities far outpaces the number of native-born ones. 18% of U.S.-born blacks are college graduates. 40.9% of… Read more »
Journey T.

They are very selective in who gets to the US. Let’s compare all of your people in your country and here with all black Americans.

I can’t believe you are here trying to argue that you are superior and then wonder why you are hated.

If you go to both Jamaica and Bugerua right now you would be straight up embarrassed by what you see, but you already know this. Disgusting with deep feelings of inferiority that you could not make it in a Black Country. Period…

Esha Fowlin

its really not that different and excellent point.

Ganadora Loteria

It really is very different.

Felina Femenina
Oops. Have to repost my comment because I accidentally edited, and BGLH doesn’t seem to ever approve twice. Shrugs. Black people in the U.S. are more educated and more frequently found in the middle class, yes, but what you forget is that Caribbeans, Africans and black Latin Americans in the U.S. are counted among the numbers of educated and middle class black people in the U.S. If you do a Google search on the percentage of foreign black students vs. native-born black students attending American universities, you’ll see many established, respectable publications report that the number of foreign-born blacks in… Read more »
Journey T.
What is your point about Ivy Leagues though. Black Smerucans don’t think you are nothing if you don’t go to one. There are thousands that go to HBCUs and none feel inferior to West Indians or Africans. I received all three degrees from HBCUs and a doctorate from Howard and is dint and will never feel inferior to you, if I had none. And if you are in these Uvey Leagues, please know that you obviously bypassed every University in the West Indies and Africa, correct? Why is that? Your people and culture are superior, right? Listen, we are never… Read more »
tracienatural
I know I should stop reading these comments, but I’m so curious about what my people’s thoughts are on these topics. I keep picking up on a theme of assimilation, though. Question: why are some of my African-American sisters minimizing/ignoring/denying the differences of their African and Caribbean counterparts? Let’s use Africa as an example: 54 countries, tribes and languages in the 1000s. The diversity in one African country is vast, and none of it is like African-American culture. Why would anyone think it was? They are 1000s of miles away, many without contact to African-Americans or other diasporan Africans. Now,… Read more »
lis
I know this and I know Africans and West Indians are diverse in culture, language and everything else that makes up a people…so are Black Americans. ….I have been to the Caribbean and Africa….I’m not ignorant….what I and others are arguing against, and maybe I am interpreting this incorrectly, is the disgusting assumption by you all that Black Americans are not educated, all in jail, do not have or come from people, all live in slums, listen to rap or whatever other shitty RACIST conclusions you have convinced yourselves of concerning Black Americans…Black Americans are educated/want higher education, want and… Read more »
Ganadora Loteria

And black Americans don’t look at non-US black people through the racist white lens??? I would address everything else in your post but it is clear how uninformed and ignorant you are.

StraightShooter

Honestly, this division is something I don’t understand. When non-American Blacks come to America they are able to enjoy certain things because of the struggle of Black Americans. The acceptance that many non-American Black people receive from whites is quite conditional. The same way non-American Black people deride Black Americans in private, white people do the same to you also.

Aal

Well, when the klu Klux Klan enters the room. We will all see who is left standing. Anything oher than white will be hunted and hung. Smh

Steven C Scott

Not sure why you would take offense, sounds like SS is saying the same as you. ‘quite conditional’ NOT unconditional.

Janet Holmes

So true. Those cave beast is fill with pure hate

maralondon
Tell me about it. I remember visiting New Orleans back in 1996 and on one occasion I approached a WM on the street to ask him the time. Before I could even open my mouth he told me he didn’t have any spare change and hurriedly walked past me. Black people no matter where you’re from, we are all seen in the same light. Massa might give you a pass for your obedient behaviour but he knows exactly his motives for doing so. All he is doing is carrying on the works of his forefathers by pitting us against each… Read more »
Felina Femenina

Don’t forget that West Indians were in the U.S. and played a major role in the Civil Rights struggle in this country.

Cosita

Marcus Garvey for one.

Janet Holmes

They do the same thing to us.

cryssi
Amen!!! I didn’t discover Africans and West Indians felt this way until my freshman year in college. One of my African friends was riding with me on the bus to the grocery store when a louder group of black college students got on. Then he stated to me, an African American young woman from Detroit, that this is why he would never a black American. They’re too lazy, irresponsible, disrespectful, loud, and wild. I stared at him blankly, confused by this foolishness coming from his mouth. I tutor you in Calc and get better grades. As I continued to stare… Read more »
ClarenceCM

And if you went to his country, you probably wouldn’t have safe drinking water or dependable electricity. A whole country full of “his people” and the best thing they can do, is get the hell out of it, and come to “our” country, because of our sacrifice. . Your friend need to go back were he came from.

Early on in my life I knew Black immigrant acted like this, and never trusted them, and always felt black america were foolish for accepting them.

Miss.

Wow, a white racist would stand up and clap after reading your first paragraph. Great job!!! /s

Journey T.

As he should because you come here and want to be an oppressor… we got something for you though…

lis

Smart girl

reina lockhart

I agreed with your comment up until the part about having “better grades”. There’s no need for the comparison. By comparing grades your implying that your ethnicity had something to do with your accomplishments and so makes your entire comment appear to be hypocritical. Otherwise, the guy could benefit from putting aside his racist lens. Especially since he profits from the hard work and history of the “black Americans” he seems to know so little of.

rainbow

You lack reading comprehension

reina lockhart
I have no reason to believe why I do seeing as you provided zero explanation. Everything I wrote was the truth. She pointed out that her race (African american) did not hold up to his stereotype – hence, race was a factor. REASON: I don’t put myself above someone else just because I got a higher grade EVEN if I dislike the person and am trying to make a point about how race does not indicate how a person behaves/ performs in school. I would be proud of my own accomplishments. Period. Condescending always makes me feel awful no matter… Read more »
Anya W

But the whole point of that statement was to emphasize the irony of the man negatively stereotyping people like her, when she – as a member of the group he’s stereotyping – is academically superior to him and actually tutors him. Nowhere did she say or imply that that fact made her better than him. It’s simply the irony of the situation.

Anon126554

How, ironic. Clearly you’re the one who lacks reading comprehension. Not reina. Try again, maybe this time you’ll get it.

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