Diasporian News of Thursday, 31 July 2014
Source: EKOW AND KOJO ALBION
- Are We Strangers?
We are among the few black people who believe with a passion that tackling the above subject is long overdue. Please, do not be shocked when we tell you that the way that tension translates into hatred for anything African among some of our brothers from the Caribbean in the UK is exponentially more horrible than it does in the United States. Since some of the Caribbean States were used as penal Colonies in the days of slavery, some of the people who hail from these parts tend to be very aggressive in their hatred for Africa and Africans.
Just spare a thought for this: you often come across some educated Caribbean’s, whose idea of Africa [the whole CONTINENT] is nothing short of the significance of a comma in a book several chapters long. Then, when you tell them that their beloved country, say, Jamaica, is about the size of only a city in Ghana, [which is only ONE country in Africa, the 2nd largest Continent on the planet] they get overwhelmed and excuse themselves to save their blushes. Some Africans in the Diaspora have no idea that Africa is a Continent that is very, very “rich.”
From our experiences, we have concluded that our generation has a serious black-on-black challenge on our hands which needs to be tackled far more seriously than even our best placed leaders tend to realize, as typified by this statement for instance: "You get them all into a room and then you realize it's not that we don't like each other. It's just that we don't know each other."
For us, this is a very flawed assessment of the challenge because it is too tame and dismissive. What might be more accurate in our view is this: we don't understand [and probably do NOT wish to understand] each other because we are blinkered by hatred, apathy and “who cares” attitude.
Dealing with relationship between Africans and Africans in the Diaspora meaningfully would require far more engagement at several levels than what any project is seeking to do now. I believe schools have to engage in the process. Churches have to engage far more seriously, and African politicians have to engage robustly.
At present, the best of these institutions who show smatterings of understanding the subject, by and large do little beyond paying lip service to it. As for our African politicians, they haven't even began to comprehend the subtleties of this challenge, let alone begin to develop or design policies/strategies to tackle it. Then also those that do, behave as though it is not a bread and butter issue, so it would sort itself out in time. Sad but true!
Africans and Africans in the Diaspora, (I wonder even if some do claim their African origin), have common ancestors and a common destiny. We need to understand each other intentionally, bridge the gaps that slavery and colonialism created or we will forever remain strangers.
We met our brothers and sisters but we don’t know each other. Sad but true!