Get Up & Grow

"We're adults. When did that happen? And how do we make it stop? "

African American, hold the African

Since I have been in Korea, I have noticed that there is a lot of tension between the African population and the Black American population here. Part of the issue is that the African people are disgusted with the Black Americans because they say that we don’t know who we are. Well…it’s kind of hard to know exactly where our roots lie because our ancestors were brough to America as slaves and their names were changed and their pasts were erased.

Having said that, there are a lot of Black Americans who do not want to be identified as African-American because they say that they have no connection to Africa. How is this any different from Asian American though? I don’t know any Asian Americans who have a problem with being labeled that way. My guess is because even they know exactly where their roots are….they can be Korean American or Chinese American, etc. Most of us can not pinpoint our origins that easily. Still, I have no problem being called African-American or Black. I know that I was born in the States and I have yet to ever set foot in Africa but that is where my ancestors came from and I am very proud of that.

Someone recently told me that they don’t like being called African-American for two reasons. The first was because of the way she was treated by Africans once she moved to Korea. She doesn’t want to be associated with them at all. Honestly, I think that’s really silly. The second reason was because she feels like we as Black Americans have ” been through too much to not identify as Americans”. Well, African-American as a term doesn’t take away from Africa or American in my opinion. I think that by refusing to be called African-American and by saying that you don’t want to identify with your African roots at all….is disrespectful to your ancestors. That is each person’s right though…to decide how they want to be labeled. Having a preference is one thing but totally just refusing to acknowledge that your ancestors were African? That’s too much, I think.

What has happened to make things this way? How have we become so resentful of our roots that we don’t even want to acknowledge them? Why is the relationship between Black Americans and Africans so strained? I think that both sides are getting caught up in the stereotypes associated with the other side and not dealing with people as individuals. Black Americans don’t want to be associated with the stereotypes of Africans being liars and con artists who are always just looking to scam money out of people. Africans do not like that Black Americans are not willing to embrace their African roots. It just keeps going on and on and on.

I really hate that things have come to this but I continue to be proud of who I am and I hope that one day, I will be able to trace back and find out exactly where I came from.


February 9, 2012 - Posted by | Bitching | , , , ,


  1. one reason i resent the “African American” is that all of us don’t have such recent ties to the Motherland just because our skin is darker.
    There are Blacks who were born and raised all over the western hemisphere who couldn’t tell you the first thing about Africa and claim their native land. But look at Charlize Theron: even though she’s white, technically she’s African American.

    Comment by KJ | February 11, 2012 | Reply

    • I understand your thoughts but not being able to tell someone anything about Africa doesn’t change the fact that a person’s ancestors came from there. If a person doesn’t know anything about their father, that doesn’t change the fact that he is the person who gave them life. As far as knowledge of their roots, there are plenty of people born and raised in the US that don’t know anything. There are people who can’t name even 20 States….don’t know any capitals other than the capital of the State they live in…know nothing about US history beyond the Civil Rights Movement…and can’t tell you where any of the States other than NY, Cali, Florida, and Texas are on a map. So why is it that they can happily claim America but not Africa?
      So you see, I’m not saying that you must have recent ties….as I said, I don’t have them either…but it’s more about respecting the fact of it. It’s something that isn’t going to change no matter how American you are.

      Comment by truewomanifesto | February 11, 2012 | Reply

      • If thats the case, we’re all African american- black and white.
        From Pangea to slaves and slave masters doing “the do” along the middle passage, everyone has african ties…and they could be closer than the Italian/German/Irish ancestry out Anglo counterparts claim daily. So because they got the lighter of the gene pool, its not an issue if they ditch the African?
        Blacks are just as diverse as any other group-why abandon the roots where we know for some that may not be ours in the first place?
        If people choose to go by it-and are sure its right, more power to them…personally, I’d rather eliminate the geography and the confusion and just be Black. Can’t go wrong with that 🙂 lol

        Comment by kevnjay | February 11, 2012

      • I just think that if those are your roots, you should honor them. I also said that it’s everyone’s right to choose. And I’m not just saying it for Black Americans either. I think that everyone should honor their ancestors. I’m not speaking about ties as in who was in the right place at the right time…I’m talking about people whose ancestors were born there…bloodlines that started there, etc. Being ok with the label isn’t the big issue here. Being unwilling to acknowledge where you came from is. You don’t have to label yourself African American to acknowledge it. My issue is with people who are so obsessed with being American that they will bite your head off if you even mention that they have African roots. ( Not ties….ROOTS)

        Comment by truewomanifesto | February 11, 2012

  2. I understand.
    I’m not trying to discredit anything you said-everything I’ve seen so far has been valid- just thought I’d throw in a different perspective on the issue.

    Comment by kevnjay | February 11, 2012 | Reply

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