I was told by a ‘black’ man that he believed ALL persons residing in the USA should drop the ethnic titles from our personal descriptions & to only call ourselves as Americans. He thought it was silly of me to refer to myself as African merely because I’m ‘black’ & that he hated when people claimed to be deeply tied to a culture they’ve never seen or experienced. That he agreed with & respected the perspective of African-born Africans who “would slap him if he called himself Afrikan”, because upon being brought to the Americas, ‘blacks’ were stripped of their culture, so we have no right to claim to be Africans. He believed the only culture we could honestly recognize & claim is whatever we cultivated since slavery, but nothing prior to that time. Said that “dreaming of Africa” was not going to help with this disconnect & that we should just continue to build on our culture here, not there. My reply was as follows:
I am an American as far as citizenship goes, but my ethnicity is not limited to my citizenship. Because of the manner in which this country was “founded”, I personally don’t feel I have the right to claim ownership of this country as my own & claim American heritage, as it was stolen. To claim such a thing, to me, would be to accept what happened as forgivable & forgettable, which it is not. — I don’t consider myself African just because of the color of my skin. Being African goes far deeper than that. It’s about our culture, spirituality, sense of identity & history, too. History cannot be altered, therefore I do not believe our roots can be altered at our own will, to later pretend to be something else simply because of where you were born. For me to consider myself as only American, the history of my people would have had to begin strictly in America, which it did not. — The history of Africans goes far back beyond slavery, but if I claim myself to be only American, that means I denounce my history prior to slavery & that I have no ties to Africa, which is not true. I don’t choose to not call myself or any other non-Native an American because I hate the USA; I choose not to because technically it isn’t true & that like it or not, you’re African!!
Was I wrong??
On social networks, I have seen posts with phrases stating: The only difference between African-Americans, Jamaicans, Haitians, Dominicans, etc., is a different boat stop. I agree with this statement to a degree, as far as a desire to shed anything divisive in order to bring about unity. However, the various regions have distinctly different histories & cultures, so I can also respect peoples pride & sentimental ties to their nationalities. It is my hope & dream that despite the differences in our cultures, that African people worldwide will be able to unite in an effort to reclaim & rebuild our lost history, culture & bonds to each other, to make our true home, Alkebulan, a great nation once again!