About the Relationship Between Africans and African Americans

Last night, @MisstoyaJ sent me a couple of tweets asking me to address the meaning of the word “akata” by Nigerians and other Africans because they had seen it on Twitter. It felt cheap to just talk about the word without talking about the larger dynamic behind it. This led to an hour-long rant from me about the pain between both groups. Below is the Storify.

If you can’t view these tweets, see here.

This wasn’t a fully-formed rant that touched on all the nuances and there’s still a lot to be said. I did use “Africans” in a sweeping way, but there’s still so much room for conversation to be had. I’d love for it happen in a forum space one of these days.

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  1. January 10, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Thanks so much for this yesterday. These types of discussions are so necessary for our people and you’ve inspired me to address this topic from the perspective of a Nigerian kid who was born in America and has never spent an extended amount of time(never more than a week) in Nigeria because I do think it is a little different for us. We realize we don’t fit in fully with black american kids and that we’re not exactly the same as africans who were born and raised in africa. It’s a bit of an awkward place and I find myself very stuck in the middle during the “akata” conversation. On one hand it’s a word that is the result of African privilege and ignorance about the history of blacks in america, but on the other I also recognize that word as something my “fob” aunties and uncles would use to refer to my siblings and I even though neither they nor my parents taught us much about nigerian history (first time hearing about biafran war was from your twitter discussion yesterday) or bothered to teach us native languages.

    • January 11, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      And thank you for adding your perspective. It’s interesting for those who are Nigerian but have never lived there because they’re not fully one side or another and sometimes, they get flack from BOTH sides because of it. And it’s no fault of their own.

      • Erin S.
        February 21, 2014 at 8:48 pm

        Thank you. This was healing. A lot of us needed to hear this, whether we knew it or not. I know I did. So thanks again.

    • anonymous
      January 12, 2014 at 12:24 am

      Actually I dont believe in african priviledge.I am also a nigerian born in my mom’s job the blacks and the whites dont treat her well because they dont like her african accent.and black americans try to put us down calling us “kunta kente”. I dont feel sorry for them at all.I could be here forever explaining myself so Ill just stop it right there,but yeah i understand your experience

      • Jerry
        March 17, 2014 at 5:01 am

        I understand to a point what you’ve said about the comments coming from both sides. As an African-American, I know I don’t think like that or use those comments that were stated. Just try to look at people individually, all aren’t so negative.

      • Davida Brown
        April 18, 2014 at 10:50 am

        Im sorry your mom has that experience. I hate to hear or see the ignorant treatment African Americans have towards Africans. Personally i feel that it comes from jealousy and envy. Im also a substitute teacher and African children are most often the smartest and most respectful kids in the class.Im and African American and i love Africans and African culture. I would love to wrok with somebody to help build a bridge over the gap between AA’s and Africans.

        • Jane
          April 7, 2015 at 11:04 pm

          I hate the jealousy excuse. No one is jealous and African kids aren’t always smarter than African American kids.

  2. Cammie
    January 10, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    I’m currently reading Americanah and the funny thing is that when Ifemelu talks about some of the people she meets, specifically the white woman that she babysat for, many of the things she thought about that woman and her friends are the same thoughts I have when meeting some White men and women who have money and they way they behave, like they want to make SURE that you know they are “liberal” and have Black friends and work with Black charities and they totally understand and sympathize with the African and African American plight, not knowing that they come across sometimes as pitying and condescending. It’s interesting that Africans in America and African Americans experience some of the same things, but we have trouble understanding each other. I didn’t see your tweets last night, but thank you for the recap.

    • January 11, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Right. Like I said, some of our struggles are the exact same and we don’t even realize it.

      • joelle
        April 3, 2014 at 4:47 am

        Very informative, and I thank you! So what I am getting is that “a” word is pretty much like the “n” word. So the ignorant Africans call the African american s the “A” word like the ignorant whites call the African american the “n” word! Both words disgusting, I never use the “n” not in my vocabulary. Not that I would ever use the “a” word, but now i know what it is!!!

    • April 2, 2014 at 9:26 pm

      Our struggle may be the same but our history an experiences are not, the reason Africa is controlled by the whites is because when slavery was happening the Americas were taking the strongest an brightest from there, not saying none were left, but why is Africa looking from help from the world when the blacks in Africa outnumber the whites? they look to black Americans too, but Black Americans should only focus on themselves, when they them selves are together then they can start looking out an coming together with others. Cause the way I see it, the Africans didn’t come to fight war to get the slaves back their kinfolk, I also dont wanna believe that they sold them knowing how evil the white people were but since they never searched or came after them its looking more and more that way.

      • yemisi
        April 6, 2014 at 2:15 pm

        White’s are not controlling Africa lol, in Nigeria for example people are controlling their own business but you are right each group should be concentrating on their own communities

  3. January 10, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I think you did very well explaining the history behind African ignorance and I hope that this opens forums of discussion so we can try to understand each other more. I stopped using the work akata ages ago mainly because I hated when I was called one for being born here. Just the way it was used made me feel the negative connotation behind it. A lot of the older folks don’t even know the history and think its just a way of referring to African Americans. I don’t use it & and I don’t like it & I try to encourage others not to use it as well. When they ask why I educate them as much as I know & can. We can all be bridges the gap that causes the divide between us.

    • Culinary Crook
      January 11, 2014 at 10:44 am

      I wrote the poem below in 1985 on my first trip to Africa (Mombasa and Nairobi). And after I went that first time…I was never the same nr did I care anymore what anyone said on either side because I realized exactly where i came from. What my derivation really was after being born in a culture that stole my original culture. But I am unique in that I am my ancestry and experiences. But if you put a bunch of black people in a room, they will know their differences. but if you put that same group on a stage in a theater filled with people of other cultures, guess what? I understand Africans are a proud people and defend and fully embrace their history and lives. But you cannot ignore what is also a part of you. Ask those who ultimately had to accept the Ethiopian Jews. About my journey…

      Folder: The Black Experience
      I took a journey once

      some time ago.

      An uplifting journey to

      a place where everyone

      looked like me.

      I mean every color of the

      Earth tone rainbow was

      represented in its beauty.

      And all I could do was…

      look and cry.

      I took a ship where I was

      working everyday for 12

      hours doing something

      this or that or whatever.

      And my brothers all went

      about their business all

      oblivious to me AND each


      But when the cattle boats

      came to ferry us ashore

      to the Motherland,

      All WE could do was…

      look and cry.

      I mean don’t get the

      brother twisted. I am

      THAT brother. Soul solid,

      raised “po”, independent,

      the intellect of Timbuktu,

      the strength of the Ashanti

      and the Cherokee, wise,

      sun-blessed, and seeking

      further knowledge of self.

      But to set foot upon the

      cattle boats, standing on

      wooden planks in the waters

      where my ancestors were

      borne away from their homes…


      To set foot upon this land,

      this earth, this soil…

      among the peoples of the

      Sun, the Nubians rebirth…

      The prodigal sons returned…

      Brothers were askin’ each other

      “do you feel that shit”? As tears

      streaked down every cheek. And we

      were all silent as we stepped from

      the cattle boats.

      I couldn’t help it. They came

      of their own accord and I

      let them flow freely as my foot

      came to rest upon the land

      where my forefathers walked

      without contention.

      My heart, warmed by the Swahili

      greetings of my bretheren…

      “Jhambo!” my brothers…


      Greeted warmly by the tribe of

      Masai Warriors.

      We talked and supped with one

      another and spoke of hurt

      feelings and animosity towards

      those born abroad. And we

      spoke of life from our perspective…

      Where I’m from…

      On my Block…

      In my hood…

      With “down” brothers…

      and a “set-tight” click…

      and “posse-deep”…

      and “mob-deep”…

      and rollin’ wit “my set”…

      flossin’ wit my “crew”…

      and we was “wile-in” kid, wit my “tribe”!

      But I’m sayin, we ain’t from

      here, but we from HERE! And

      can’t nothin stop us from being

      here because we share the blood.

      And we left here on ships,

      fought to get off ships,

      had to fight to get on ships,

      and we came back…HERE…on ships!


      Free men. Of our own volition.

      Of our own accord. On our own


      And although Uncle Sam was footin’

      the bill, and although the Captain

      was sayin things like…

      “Be careful of the water and those


      And the “other man” was sayin things


      “Why the hell did we come here?”

      “Ain’t shit to do in Africa.”

      “Wonderful, it ain’t as if we don’t

      have enough of them on board already”.

      Or some simply dedcided not to get off the ship.

      And Richard Pryor was right…I didn’t hear the word

      nigger once. Cause to speak it was un-called for or


      And I met Europeans who spoke to me as a person and

      met teachers and doctors educated in England but looked

      like my cousin Al from North Carolina. And met beautiful

      black women of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

      And had breakfast prepared before me by an African chef…

      and went on a photo safari…

      and swam in the pool and lounged by the pool and found out

      that alcohol is just as strong in Africa as it is where

      I’m fr…

      I know who I am, now. I truly know who I am. And I am

      many things. But at the top of that list I am above all

      a black man. The 12th generation son of captives who is

      proud of his heritage and stands strong and free. Made

      wise and now in-tune all because of…

      a journey I took once some time ago.

      Author’s Notes/Comments:
      Inspired by my first trip to Africa (Kenya and the Ivory Coast)
      View quadxbard’s Full Portfolio

      • Patricia
        February 22, 2014 at 9:05 pm

        All I can say is that your poem was beautiful.

      • Carmen
        April 2, 2014 at 12:22 pm

        Love this…thank you for sharing it!

      • Dunney
        May 28, 2015 at 1:50 pm

        Man, I was touched by your poem. I am Nigerian, and married to a wonderful African American lady. I am truly happy that you had this experience. I will be sharing this with some friends. The African American people are my people. Good or bad, I understand and respect each individual for everyone’s past history is different.

        God bless

    • January 11, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      True tea. This was just a conversation starter. I definitely didn’t cover all the nuances so I hope the convo keeps going on. And it’s true that a lot of people using the word don’t know what it means, which is what people don’t realize.

      • Christina
        January 14, 2014 at 9:38 am

        You are so right! Not only do we not realize our common struggle, but we also fail to realize that the tension between us was manufactured for very specific reasons. Blacks who were brought to America were taught to try as hard as possible to assimilate into (white) American culture which meant belittling, degrading, and rejecting anything African. Africans on the continent see the media’s distortions and stereotypes of black Americans and accept the notion that they are pathological. Thank you for opening up this conversation. We need to see that we are on the same side and begin acting like it.

  4. Antoinette Lee
    January 10, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Wow. I came out of lurkdom to post on this(I’ve been reading your blog for so long I don’t even remember when I started lol).

    I love your posts, theyalways make my day but this one really resonated in my soul. I agree there is misconceptions on both sides, and I probably have a few stereotypes about Africans that I need to check.

    I think it would be AWESOME to open the dialogue between Africans and African Americans to dispel the myths and be on one accord. I WISH I could trace my family history as far back as I wanted, and never even knew or considered that Africans may not know my history here in America as it actually was.

    I am eager to see more conversation on this subject and you sharing details of your next trip to Nigeria. BTW, this already made the list of my top fav 2014 posts from you!

    • January 11, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      Hey Antoinette! Thank you for joining the convo. I’ll be Instagramming and tweeting from Nigeria, so you can follow me at @Luvvie (on both). And thank you for reading this post with openness.

  5. January 10, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    This article sheds light on a past incident for me. I’ll write you on Facebook about it.

  6. Ra
    January 10, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Wow. This is a truly dynamic insight. Assumptions are made on BOTH ends, that truly prevent the two worlds from forming a healthy and realistic relationship, that has the potential to be an UNDENIABLY powerful alliance! We, all of us brown succulent people, can be SO JUDGMENTAL and cantankerous! Lawd. And really, it’s all because we cannot truly empathize with each other, because we are uneducated. Mainstream media and hearsay are the devil when it comes to painting realistic global pictures of how people live, and why they do what they do. You ma’am, are on to something. Keep THIS conversation live and colorful. It needs to have a continual pulse somewhere in these internets. Black folks think all Africans are impoverished. Real talk! And it’s laughable, and crazy to think that. But dare I say, most do. To realize that this is NOT the case for MANY, could do something for the soul esteem of many. Perhaps? I dunno. I’m jazzed at this convo. Thanks!

    • January 11, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Assumptions truly can be detrimental, and in this case, the ones we hold about each other have kept us from coming together. We just gotta start talking more about this and other uncomfortable topics to dropkick all these ideas into space.

      • Ra
        January 13, 2014 at 10:26 am


  7. January 10, 2014 at 1:40 pm


    Have you read Dave Eggers “What is the What?”. It’s about the the life of a child solider who was able to move to the US. The first chapter starts with his first weeks in New York. Needless to say he had it rough. He was made fun of, ridiculed, robbed and beaten by Blacks. Not nearly as rough as what I imagine he went through as one of The Lost Boys in Sudan, but he didn’t understand it and it hurt him. It hurt me, too and pissed me off. I had assumed that if his neighbors, our brothas and sistas, knew his story they would protect him, but I was sorely mistaken. Because of the struggle those who lived in the hood of NY had to endure, they didn’t care who he was or what he went thru, it was every man for himself. The horridness of the situation was too much for me to bear, especially knowing there was probably worse to come. I actually couldn’t finish reading it. I haven’t to this day..

    Sudan isn’t Nigeria and I’m not trying to equate your life to that of his, but I just shared it to illustrate an example how Blacks treat Africans can be just as shameful and devastating.

    I live in the Bay Area where there is a significant Nigerian community. I’m aware that older generations have some ideas about Black’s here in the US but I have never heard “akata” before or the background. And although I never really assumed that the rest of the world learns every minutia of US history, I thought that our civil rights struggle was something that most are aware of..

    Thanks so much for sharing your POV on this. It hurts me that POC within African descent or any other ethnicity, are so divided. But I understand that it’s not our fault, and I only understand that bc of the privelege of education. Those of us who know better should always take the opportunity to educate others. Thanks for being one of those people.

    • Aurokash
      January 11, 2014 at 1:35 am

      Tonya, I live in Italy. There’s a very high unemployment rate here, and unfortunately, immigrants (especially African immigrants) are treated as 2nd class citizens. We don’t walk past a certain park near the train station at night because the African immigrants will rape, beat us and steal everything we have–they make no distinction between black, white, or ethnic immigrants. They are equal opportunity predators. Humans, black or white, American or European, African or Asian…. we are all human predators to the weak when put in the right circumstances. I hope you don’t judge NY African Americans based on this one experience, but all of the human race and seek to make this a better world for us all

    • January 11, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      I haven’t read “What is the What?” but I will add it to my GoodReads bookshelf now. Both sides have been hurtful to each other and many of us have specific stories. I know I do. But at one point, we need to be able to attempt to move past it.

    • April 2, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      Great comment, explaining the class distinctions and privilege or lack thereof

  8. […] About the Relationship Between African and African Americans | Awesomely Luvvie. […]

  9. Xay
    January 10, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing your POV. My mom is South African and my dad in African American so I’ve lived this in a slightly different way. I would just add one thing that you mentioned but kind of skimmed over.

    Something that is overlooked is that the Africans who immigrate to the US tend to be priviledged. A lot of the differences in POV and outcomes are traced back to that priviledge. My mother immigrated in the 1970s – having completed nursing school in South Africa. Her sisters were school principals and her parents owned their own farm and store. She was able to leave because she had the skills and the funds to do so – not everyone did. So when African immigrants compare themselves to African Americans and find them lacking, it’s not just in terms of growing up in Africa and not having to deal with American racial oppression but a certain blindness to their own class priviledge in being able to immigrate. I’ve had this conversation many times with my cousins in SA who don’t understand why African Americans aren’t all high achievers – but don’t recognize the barriers to other black South Africans who didn’t have our family’s advantages.

    • Beks
      January 10, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      I appreciate this comment. Class privilege is something that is always excluded from this conversation.

    • January 11, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Good point. There’s a lot of class issues too, from being upper class in our respective Nigerian countries and being able to afford more options for ourselves, even if we do become lower class here. There’s more to the conversation and this is one of the issues that deserves to be explored more.

    • Christina
      January 14, 2014 at 9:30 am

      Thanks for this comment. Although Americans are horrible to Africans, I’ve had some employers tell me that they would rather hire Africans because they aren’t lazy and ghetto like black Americans, but they fail to realize that many times this is a class difference. Many Africans who immigrate were middle/upper class so they have that same mentality here and are working to achieve the status they once had. Thus there is a marked difference when comparing them to “lower” or working class blacks who have many family members in jail but don’t have any who ever graduated from college.

    • BlackGirlPolitickin'
      January 22, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      I’d just like to make a little correction here. I wouldn’t say most Africans immigrate to the US tend to be middle or upper class. A lot (if not the majority) of them come from backgrounds of poverty and struggle too with none of the safety nets that African Americans have access to. Whole families have had to rally and sometimes go into bankruptcy to be able to send that one child abroad, with the expectation that they will set the pace for the rest of the family. It sets high expectations for success. Add the fact that it has been drilled into us Africans that “No work, no chop.” (basically if you do not put in the effort, whether by performing well academically or otherwise, you’re screwed) and you can see whyAfricans will achieve or die trying. A lot of the times, Africans are looking at the African Americans who do have access to these resources (Financial aid for school in particular) and wondering why the heck they aren’t taking advantage of them. I understand the role that the lingering effects of slavery has had but to drum it down to class is doing a disservice to those Africans who have come from real poverty and disadvantage are indeed pulling themselves up the the boot straps.

      • BlackGirlPolitickin'
        January 22, 2014 at 11:29 pm

        Oh and one more thing, let’s not forget that Africans on the continent were also subject to colonialism which was basically slavery upgraded and brought to our own doorsteps, from whose clutches we had to fight from. So when we talk about the lingering effects of slavery and how it has messed AA’s up, lets not forget the history of Africa itself, and the lingering effects of colonization that Africans have to deal with and which way too many AA’s do not know. Not to equate Slavery to colonization (although the people of the former Zaire might disagree).

  10. […] I’ve been trying to figure out how to discuss the comments, our history as Black folks, and our shared pain (and triumph), but I just could not seem to find the words (nor did I want to read through pages of more divisive comments). Thankfully, friend and fellow writer Luvvie Ajayi did it for me. […]

  11. January 10, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I’m glad you wrote this. It’s really sad how much tension there is across the diaspora because this same type of tension exists between American blacks and Caribbean blacks too. I once heard a West Indian girl say that she wondered what took so long for the U.S. to get a black man in office because it wasn’t an anomaly where she was from but it’s because she clearly didn’t get US history.

    I always just assumed that Africans learned black history with regard to slavery, especially considering African involvement in selling slaves to Europeans, but it definitely does boil down to education. Unfortunately, many in the US don’t even know black history (black and/white), or choose to ignore how we’ve been ravished as a community. People also seem to ignore or are ignorant of the immense contributions we have made to society even down to something as simple as the traffic light.

    Basically, the very people who hate us (even those in the diaspora) are living in a country and taking advantage of many luxuries that we built. Black Americans still have a lot of heeling to do after all the lynchings and the crack epidemic and the burnings of our Tulsa’s and Rosewood’s, etc. It’s complex and deep.

    I just hope that more of us across the diaspora can start coming together and learning from each other.

    • Tiffany
      January 10, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      Your comment is everything I wanted to say. I really appreciate Luvvie’s explanation, but when she said “teach us” I loved it, but it also opened up the fact that so many Black Americans don’t even know our own history. This is done on purpose, of course. Our educational system has been set up to exclude Black American contributions in so many aspects. This is done to keep us shamed and mired in self-hatred, but when we learn all that Black Americans and Black people have contributed to the world, we can begin to let go of the shame. We have to take it upon ourselves to actively go out and learn our history.

      I didn’t learn about Black Wall Street until years after college, or how prevalent lynchings were. Or that Black Americans basically created every single musical genre in this country, it was a black man who did the first hear surgery in this country (or assisted possibly), Black people built entire communities, businesses, schools, etc that were burned to the ground by white people who hated seeing Black people not have to depend on them. I had to get on tumblr to read about a Black man creating a refrigerated system that is essentially the basis of the entire food and packaging industry today. We have given so much, and our contributions are ignored to make us invisible.

      Black Americans have a lot of healing to do among ourselves and the diaspora. 500 years worth of healing. Conversations like this help advance that process.

    • January 11, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      Oh yes. When we add other diasporan Black folks to the conversation, we truly have a mountain of hurt that is super deep. The fact that we all assume that we know each others’ struggles is probably one of the things that is mostly in play. We expect everyone to see us and know that we’ve been through hell and back. What we have to do is start teaching each other our histories.

  12. January 10, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    I would LOVE to sit in on one of these discussions.

    I’m African American, so my family is most likely here via Atlantic Slave Trade. Having gone to school with Africans, I couldn’t understand the rift. I didn’t understand why people would make fun of the African students’ accents. I didn’t see anything wrong with it. I never felt comfortable with the ugly words hurled at them. I thought it was shameful, even as a child.

    In my later years, I heard that there was contept for us AAs, because supposedly we didn’t fight hard enough to be free from slavery and because we don’t have good work ethics supposedly. I have also seen many AAs who looked down on the African kids because we are inundated with images of Africa being a poor continent in need of white sponsorship and heroes. We are taught NOTHING about the content outside of Khemet (Egypt) which is often whitewashed anyway, and we have a deeply imbedded self-hatred. We have been conditioned to believe all of the social negatives hurled at people who look like us.

    I am SO glad that Luvvie has sparked this dialogue on such a popular and visible forum. It’s on thing to rhuminate or to have small conversations, but this is big!

    • January 11, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      You’ve made great points, Taj. All of these stereotypes we hold about our skinfolk from across the ocean are so hurtful. And the way we’ve treated each other is even worse. We need a forum for this.

  13. Kezia
    January 10, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    I spoke with a friend of mine recently about the schism between African s and African Americans (a term I use sparsely to refer to Black folks born in America). We spoke about how entitled and condescending African men seem and how submissive African women seem and how there seems to be NO connection between Africans and African Americans. Same bloodline..same skin color..different culture ..different experience. She was having a tough time wrapping her mind around it but I kind of get it. Conversations similar to what you’ve introduced here are so important. The hard conversations that rest on the reality that there’s nothing we can do about the past but so much we do about the present and the future and every child both African and African American can follow. I’m looking forward to more discussions like this. Thanks for this, Luvvie.

    • DocNordic
      January 10, 2014 at 4:44 pm

      Keza you have great insight on the tension between the two groups. I worked a few years in West Africa, and although the genes are similar origin, the two different experiences have produced two different cultures, although the societies still hold similarities. African Americans often had a more difficult time than caucasian Americans working there, as there were two different expectations of behavior.

      • Kezia Snipe
        January 10, 2014 at 7:32 pm

        Absolutely. And thank you for the compliment!

    • January 11, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      I don’t typically use “African Americans” in daily speak but in this conversation, I needed to just so I could talk about a very specific group.

      “We spoke about how entitled and condescending African men seem and how submissive African women seem and how there seems to be NO connection between Africans and African Americans.” I, of course, disagree with this assessment, because there IS connection between us, even if we don’t acknowledge it often. Our culture wasn’t all lost and Black music still has echoes of West African music. The love of bass, and all that.

      Also, I know very few submissive African women. In fact, many cultures on the continent ate matriarchies. Once again, it’s about the images that permeate mass media that tell us how people behave, and they tell us wrongly.

    • Joan
      April 2, 2014 at 12:49 pm

      Kezia, I would beg to differ with your comment on African women being submissive. African men might definitely come out as condescending in public but from my experience as an african woman, African women are generally not submissive. They might seem to be in public maybe due to upbringing or culture but in most African homes, the women take charge of the house and command respect from the men

  14. January 10, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Luvvie! I will admit to having my own prejudices against Africans just as much as I’ve felt them having prejudices against me. This was enlightening.

    • January 11, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      My pleasure. And I hope you start to dismantle some of those ideas you have. It’ll take more conversations with people who are willing to be open.

  15. January 10, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    I had no idea that africans didn’t hv a clue about slavery in the US. But I guess it makes sense because I don’t know much about their struggles except for apartheid.

    It must be nice to grow up being the default.

    • Veritas
      January 10, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      I am African, born and bred. Its not that we don’t have a clue about slavery in the US, we just don’t know enough. my education till the end of High school was in Africa, I did East African history(by default as this was in Uganda, East Africa) West African history and a bit of South African history. There was a whole detailed topic on SLAVE TRADE. Thing is it stopped on the trade. Beyond the ships leaving port at the African coasts, there was barely any information. Mostly just the work they were made to do. Darn near everything I know about slavery in the US, I’ve found on TV.
      When it comes down to it, its all about the education system, Europeans/Americans designed these History syllabi, so they decided what we got taught and what we didn’t and clearly they didn’t want us to know. We end up with Africans and Black Americans knowing nothing about each others struggles and triumphs.
      For some reason the syllabi in Africa have not been amended to include slavery (not to be confused with Slave trade) 60+ years since our countries started to get Independence yet we still do European History like that shit means anything to us/me(I might be alone in this). We have African European History professors showered with acclaim and yet still know very little of the details of the Black mans Historical struggle in America.
      I have no idea how to change the opinions of Black Americans on a large scale but I can speak on Africa; Change the Education system.

    • January 11, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      And that’s what I really want folks to realize. If in the U.S., they barely teach about the horrors of slavery in classes, why do folks expect that across the ocean, the curriculum will include an in-depth study about slavery? Many people just don’t know.

      • Ade
        January 12, 2014 at 9:43 pm

        So After going through all the comments about this great and long needed discussion or forum, I observed that while a lot of points were raised, the root or the genesis cause of this “we” versus “they” was the creation of the European Hegemony, European Centuries long Pseudo Sciences(that postulate the idea of white supremacy and Black inferiority) and Pseudo Historian who never acknowledge the rich and the amazing African History and achievements before the European Contacts with Africans. This cruel disrespect for human dignity and the idea of Human Nature resulted into the multiple version of “We” versus “they” which could be African VS African America, African VS the Whites or All the black race versus the the white race to simplify or mention a few (Because it’s complicated).
        Unfortunately, the same dehumanization, cruelty, evil and genocide that the European melted on African were further used on African American. The only difference was just the environment in which the African American find themselves where they have to live with the Cruel Master (at least the Africans knows that there oppressors were many oceans away). So on this note and the fact that the African Slaves experienced linguicide due to forceful demand by the slaves master, Africans and African diaspora(In this case AA and other black race) inherited different culture.

        However, the European or the white knows the power of education and how lack of education, specifically history could be a major weapon of mass destruction. Unfortunately for Africans and the Diaspora, the White Supremacy used this tool to further separate the supposedly brothers and sisters.
        And now the idea of “we” versus “they” now prevail among the black race
        Now on African and African American,I believe the tension is on both sides. While the other African generation uses the word “Akata” which is no doubt a derogatory word, the younger generation uses it mainly to describe African-American such that the idea of “we” versus “they”plas out again. Besides most of these youngs folks uses the word without knowing the meaning and i was one of them until I realized it meaning about 7 years ago. Even while I was going through constant bullying from thos I considered my kinsmen, I stopped using the word once i know its not a good word. However, I had some times to lecture some of the black kids about Africa. I remember when one of the kids ask me if i had ever seen a lion? I was like (seiously where did this dude think i sed to live at) Then I reply, Nope and that I was born and raised in the city and that I had never een seen a live snakes let alone a lion. Besides, I;m pretty sure that folks who lives in the village had not seen lion either because such wild animals lives either in the animal zoo or the forest. He was confused and amazed. So I was like Yes I schooled him lol.. There are series of bullying also by Africans to African American. But having had the opportunity to attend one of the top 5 colleges in the US, I would say that this idea of low achievement metrics by African-American is untrue. I have met very smart Black kids which are a very big part of my life. I remember telling my mum the other day that I might end up with an African American girl. So I believe the point is keeping an open mind to people and you will discover that most of the stereotype and prejudices are just limitation to our success.

        African and African American both have their horrible experience in the hands of the whites folks but we must move forward. While it is great to know and learn one history, we must take the positive and leave behind the negative because it draws us back from climbing the ladder of success.

        PS. sorry for the long paragraphs

  16. Rachael
    January 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    THANK YOU! You have articulated all of my thoughts better then I ever could. Sharing on Facebook. Proud to be a Nigerian American.

    • January 11, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Thank you for reading and for sharing this post with others.

  17. Carriecnh12
    January 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Luvvie I agree with you not as an African American but as a Black woman who grew up in Barbados, an Island that was the first place where the majority of salves stolen from Africa were dispersed to the rest of the Caribbean.

    In Barbados there are those who want to get back to their African roots, and try to identify with the Mother Land. I have heard from people who upon returning to and visiting the Mother land have been called slave babies and told to go back where the came from, they were not wanted. Yes this is due to a lack of education on world history pertaining to slavery, but what I find interesting is that not only is the history of slavery not taught in Africa but in North America it is viewed in a more insular way, as though slavery occurred only in America.

    In Barbados we were not only taught of the Middle Passage, but were taught about slavery all over the world, many people are not aware that white Europeans were brought to work the plantations before Africans, but they were unable to tolerate the climate and died very quickly, hence the use of Africans.

    I refer to myself as a Barbadian, Bajan and a West Indian, not African Caribbean, to some this may seem as though I am not claiming my heritage but my home is an Island not a continent, We are proud to say we are Black and do not feel the need to legitimise who we are my saying African Caribbean.

    • Jerry
      March 17, 2014 at 5:30 am

      I liked what you said but sometimes have a hard time when people say America, in steed of USA. All of us are from the Americas.

  18. Natalie Hill
    January 10, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    I try to learn as much about African Countries as possible. I often approach african bros & sisters at the grocer or other places. I live in a very multicultural neighborhood and I see many Somolians, Nigerians, etc. I introduce myself and during the conversation I ask “what country are you from” they aways give me that sly grin and say”Africa” I say yeah but what country?

    Thay don’t believe I know or care about the difference. We all ben programmed to believe propagandized versions of who we are.

    I’ve travelled to Ghana and So. Africa. Traveled away from “tourist” areas to hang out with the people. Ate at Wandy’s in Soweto, cruised with the kids hanging out near the pizza joint in Accra. Felt like I was home. I have memories and I know the teens I traveled with have memories we will cherish forever.

    When thinking of traveling abroad think Africa…we are Soul Mates!

  19. Max
    January 10, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Thanks so much for this. As the American born child of a Nigerian father and a Bajan mother, I always take special interest in the stories you tell about your Naija life since my dad has never been forth coming about well..anything about Nigeria. I did however hear the clear distain that would emanate from both my parents when it came to African-Americans. I remember feeling a way because after all I was an American despite having a foot in the countries of my parents’ birth. Over time the uber shade died down when they figured out how much we were all in the same boat.

    Anyhoozer, when we getting a book? I’d love to read about your adventures here and in Nigeria.

  20. January 10, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Ughh…this has me all in my feels! I’m Liberian and was the first person in my family born in America so I understand this dynamic and find it so overwhelmingly difficult to just be sometimes. It’s sad because the sense of self that an African family provides isn’t always a formidable contender to the pressure cooker that is growing up black in America. The African family doesn’t understand how the child could go through the American educational system and not come out as immediately successful if not more so than the parents. And the American (black and white) sometimes can’t comprehend a black person who doesn’t synonymize their history/identity with being victim. To see a black person who at once can stand in the fullness of their humanness yet not have to be militant nor passive about it warrants curiosity and exploration. Because a point is being made. Because in America, there’s always a point being made. And in Africa, this isn’t fixated in the consciousness for many reasons, everyone is black, and everyone has been displaced in some form or fashion. Even though colonization wreaked havoc on communities, for the most part, it’s a shared collective history. And let me clarify that this perspective of African-ignorance is most often class based because those affluent Africans are the ones most naive to the struggles of black Americans and those further down the totem pole tend to empathize more with black American experience even if they don’t sympathize. I may be wrong, and would love nothing more than to be shown a differing example, but from my own experience with a paternal family line that is comfortably affluent and a maternal line that continues to live in poverty, I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum. I’m not sure why I was so compelled to write such a lengthy comment, because essentially I just wanted to say thank you Luvvie for ranting such a needed exposition. A twexposition if you will! 🙂 More conversations like this are needed.

  21. January 10, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Luvvie this is such an interesting read, thanks for sharing! I think black people from the Caribbean have similar elitist underpinnings when it comes to judgement of mainland African Americans. Great post!

  22. January 10, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Thanks for this, I really appreciate and respect your honesty, much of what you said is echoed by Chimamanda Adichie. When I read her book Americanah, I gained more insight into what it’s like to be a Nigerian in America. We all have our struggles, but we can’t expect others to always embrace or even understand them. The problem comes from the feeling that your struggle is being dismissed. Your piece is the first I’ve read that acknowledged Nigeria’s role in the slave trade so openly. I hope you get to have your dialogue. Maybe you could do something on TED. Please keep us posted.


  23. Court
    January 10, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    First of all, thank you for this insight.

    I went to an HBCU and during my sophomore year, my parents and I were lucky to come across a graduating senior that owned a home locally and was ready to sell. I had the fortune of being a homeowner while in college. I had 2 roommates to help distribute mortgage costs, utilities, etc. Both roommates were Jamaican (I LOVED IT when they cooked!!!). Anyway, when their parents came to visit, I was treated with so much shade. They didn’t understand how a lazy Black American could own a house (didn’t matter if it was me or my parents).

    That has always stuck with me as I just never understood the hate. I wondered what their children told them to make them think that I was lazy. I couldn’t comprehend.

    Reading this makes me wonder if the same situation exists. I never considered the possibility before now and I am quite ashamed to admit that.

    • Von
      June 23, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      Just a side note…how they gonna throw shade at you up in YOUR house though, lol? >___>

  24. Whitney
    January 10, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Thanks for this Luvvie. I don’t know how or why, but I never even new Africans were in America at such high population rates until I was in my twenties. Ignorance, sure, but I was a military brat, so this could have skewed some things for me because I was never in a predominantly “anything” environment. Meaning, if there were some African kids around in school, they probably blended right in with the rest of us blacks, Koreans, Hispanics, Hawaiians, Taiwanese etc. Essentially, from what I remember, we were all the same- race/ethnicity was not in issue in that context. While in high school, in Virginia (not the most diverse place in the world) anyone who was African was more than likely assumed (by me) as just African American, so like I said, ignorance, and lack knowing otherwise. So, when I finally met and started hanging out with Africans after moving away, I was late to the party. This means that I was 24 trying to figure out why we were so different- why our ways of thinking were so misaligned and why our perspectives were not the same. As an African American, on the most basic level all you can think is “your skin is Black like mine, how can you claim yourself as better/different than I am?” because in America, Black,is Black. Doesn’t matter if you’re Alabama Black or Michigan Black. For me, I assumed that all Black people were seemingly just as disadvantaged/held back/hurt by the same history, of course I know different now, but geeze, what a smack in the face that was to my reality!?!? I think the part that initially hurt the most was when some (clearly not all) Africans chose to be “us” and “other” at the same time. Meaning, amongst other African Americans they would label themselves as “other” and say “I am not African American, I am better than that” but when potentially faced with adversity by non-blacks suddenly we would all share the same struggle again and it’s “all of us” against “the man”. It’s almost insulting how that “switching” happens. I’m sure it’s as confusing for Africans (when trying to find their place in America) as it is for African Americans (when trying to understand the point of view of Africans when in America). Your post definitely helped me understand everything a lot more clearly- so thanks for that lady! Keep doing great work!

    • April 2, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      Meaning, amongst other African Americans they would label themselves as “other” and say “I am not African American, I am better than that” but when potentially faced with adversity by non-blacks suddenly we would all share the same struggle again and it’s “all of us” against “the man”. <<<
      That is SO true, its like that line "Everybody wanna be black but nobody really wanna be Black" meaning they want the good but not the bad. Black people are the most hated an copied people on the planet and when I say Black capitol B I mean Black Americans.

  25. Moe
    January 10, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    The very first time I heard the word “Akata” was in the movie Sugar Hill with Wesley Snipes character and his brotha were meeting two Nigerian brothas, for a possible drug partnership, who kept referring to them as “Akata” and at that point I realized it was derogatory like the N-word. Let’s just say in the scene the two African brothas got served the bidness by Snipe’s character and his younger brotha.

    It is true Africans do not know nor understand the African-Americans and their history but the same can be said with West Indians and vice versa. As a Haitian-Cuban American who used to run with Nigerians for a long time they were told continuously by a lot of Whites and many misinformed Africans to stay away from African Americans and that you are better than them. There is so much miseducation between our African brothas and sistas with those of us from the Diaspora that this is the one thing that keeps us divided.

    We as Blacks are doing the work of white supremacy with the division and self hate we have for one another, including no understanding of the peril black people are in globally. Imagine if more African Americans would travel to Africa and see many of the countries are just as modern and more welcoming versus any US city and if Africans would see African Americans as brothas and sistas who was forcibly removed without a choice…just maybe things would be different for us as a people.

    • January 13, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      *De-Lurk Mode*
      I was about to type the exact same thing! I thought it meant “Cotton Picker”, which still, is derogatory in and of itself. My mom watches that move soooo much, I can’t help but remember it.

      About 13 years ago, I worked at Sam’s Club and we have a few Nigerians who worked with us. One guy, Ali, was really friendly, while his friend Muhammed (not sure how he spelled it), was quite standoffish and rude. So, being the interrogator that I am, I decided to ask Ali why there was so much tension between us. I also asked him to give it to me straight, no chaser, because I wanted to know once and for all! He told me that he doesn’t understand why we call ourselves “African American” but cannot link up to a specific tribe. He also told me that most African men that he knew, do not care for AA women because we are too strong-willed and opinionated. He also added that we’re “too diluted” to fit being called African anything. So, I asked if I could be afforded the same “no holds barred” response and he said yes. I asked him how could not associate them when we look like them. I asked him if he knew that White America wants us to go back to Africa, but some of us couldn’t point out Africa on a map. I told him that we’re like an object in a game of keep-away and our sense of displacement is deeply rooted. I also let him know that so many AA women have to step up and assume manly roles and the strong-willed nature is a survival tool to most. I’m paraphrasing, but I’m sure that I’m possibly leaving something out. I think that we both left that conversation a little bit enlightened. Heck, Muhammed got a little friendlier towards the end of my employment there. All that we need to do is talk to each other , because HIStory is killing any and all chances at UNITY.

      Thanks, Luvvie. You provide so much laughter and I’m grateful for it. I’m here for everything that you do. One Love!

      • January 13, 2014 at 12:55 pm

        Please, pardon my many errors up there…

  26. Phoebe
    January 10, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    I come from East Africa (Kenya) and can echo Verita’s sentiments on the teaching of slave trade vs slavery. The thing is, there wasn’t as much slave trade activity on the East African coast (Indian Ocean) as there was on the West African/North African coast (Atlantic). Most of the trade that came through our coast was about minerals, spices, silks etc. So even when we’re taught about the slave trade it doesn’t really resonate much with us because it still isn’t OUR history. At the time of the civil rights movement, most African countries were fighting for independence. So in my history class 1940s-1990 is filled with “Struggle for independence in ”
    Dominique says that the Africans farther down the totem pole tend to sympathize more with the plight of AAs than privileged blacks, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Thanks to mainstream media, America is still viewed by most Africans as the land of milk and honey, opportunity etc. So most especially, those further down the totem pole fail to understand how you could be born in this magical place with anything and everything you could wish for and more yet still “make nothing of yourself”.
    We know that slaves were taken to work on farm and plantations and brutalized by their master, which is what happened to Africans during the colonial.
    It was easier for Africans to fight for independence and get somewhat back on our feet because as Luvvie says, in Africa, black is the default. We forget that AAs were not the default and were far outnumbered in the US, which is what separates our experiences from theirs

    • Katori
      January 12, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Phoebe, you bring up some good points especially on Africans looking at America as the land of opportunity and abundance. Also an echo of Africa’s fight for independence and Pan-Africanism and how that was echoed and offered inspiration for the Civil Rights movement in America and vice versa.

      I would just like to note that slave trade happened in East Africa and is/was taught in high school history in neighboring Tanzania (salaam jirani!). This slave route headed east to Middle Eastern and Arab countries: an extension of the trade you speak of. Bagamoyo (from ‘bwaga moyo’ in Kiswahili simply put ‘broken hearts’) a few miles from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania was the last stop before slaves were shipped out. There’s an equivalent of Gore, Senegal on the islands of Zanzibar also part of Tanzania. The history of slavery goes back before Jesus came, reached beyond Africa and is beyond this space. I just wanted to note that a simplistic view (not yours but widely cited) that Africans sold some of their own is rather narrow and requires more study. However, the brutality and sheer numbers of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade left a horrific mark in this world and everyone concerned. It’s also important to note that both sides suffered. Mothers and fathers lost children whom they were to never hear from or see again. They simply vanished.

      We should also note that the majority of Africans may be Black but problems of racism and segregation still persist(ed) especially in southern Africa: Zimbabwe and South Africa for example who have majority Blacks. Also, Africans do not identify by color but by nationality, ethnicities and tribes. That also brings a whole different set of things to celebrate and deplore.

  27. MsEnigma
    January 10, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    This post brought forth emotions I have been struggling with for the past few months.

    Back story: I met my Nigerian “friend” over a year ago, and we instantly clicked on so many levels. He came to the U.S. when he was about 12 (he’s now 32) and is the youngest of 6 siblings. I loved hearing all the interesting stories about growing up in Lagos. He too mentioned growing up with maids, nannies, boarding school, and living a royal life. We talked in depth about his culture, and more specifically about marriage and tradition. About 6 months in (and deep feelings later), he revealed that he is slated to marry a woman in Nigeria and bring her to the states. Eddie Murphy’s “Coming to America” begins to play in my head. In pours the insecurity….

    Am I, as an African American woman, not good enough for you and your African family? I started to become semi-jealous that Americans have a very dull culture. Other countries have very deep rooted traditions and rules. Here in America, we’re such rebels. We tend to do what makes us feel happy with very little regard for what our elders, family, and tradition expect us to do. Its no wonder the rest of the world calls us “wild animals.”

    As I dug deep into what was really happening with my “friend” and I, I realized I had all the makings of his bride with the exception that I was not Nigerian. There is clearly a lot of love, uncanny compatibility, and respect between us. However, he is not willing to break from his tradition and culture. He explicitly stated he cannot go against his family and hers at this junction because it would damn near mean ostracizing himself. As an American, I cannot understand this concept. Whatever do you mean you can’t tell your family you are in love with an American woman and don’t want to go forth with an arranged marriage?!?!? I thought of him as a coward, and having no backbone when it comes to answering to his daddy. No man I know is this unenthused about getting married. Who does this…apathetically agrees to embark on a life-long journey orchestrated by others?

    As I read your post, it brought some clarity (and sadness) to what I’ve been wondering. I realized that I never had a chance no matter how much love we poured on each other because I’m not Nigerian. I realized that Africans (and even other races) view African Americans lower on the “caste” system. I realized that I should be thankful I’m an American that can make my own decisions about my future. I realized that I simply can’t argue with tradition and would have forever been viewed as “akata.”

    • Temi
      January 11, 2014 at 6:53 am

      Hey sis, while this hurts, I would try not to take it too personally. It’s not you, it’s him. It’s also not just that his parents won’t let him marry an American, they probably wouldn’t let him marry an Igbo person if he’s Yoruba and visa versa. Some parents are just very traditional and there are countless stories of people I know who could not marry the person they loved because the parents refused, woman was too old, too light, wrong tribe etc. if he relies on his parents for financial support it’s even worse. Take heart

      • MsEnigma
        January 11, 2014 at 9:18 pm

        Thanks, Temi. That brings further clarification. I forgot about the financial support, which I’m almost certain is the case here.

    • Wumi
      January 11, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      I understand where your anger and resentment comes from but you are guilty of making FALSE generalizations…just because he was slated to marry a Nigerian woman does NOT mean that the marriage was arranged. Have you ever thought that he actually wants to marry someone that shares a common ethnicity, culture, language, traditions and customs as he does? This is most likely what he desired, despite what his parents want. No one can force you to do anything you don’t want to do. If a man REALLY loves you, NOTHING will stop him. He will risk everything to be with you, if that is what his heart desires…

      Then you ask “Who does this
apathetically agrees to embark on a life-long journey orchestrated by others?” I will tell you that many cultures outside of the United States still practice arranged marriages and that there is NOTHING wrong with that. It has been that way for CENTURIES in many places. You said “I realized that I should be thankful I’m an American that can make my own decisions about my future.” Are you suggesting that all non-Americans can’t make decisions about their futures? If so, you are generalizing. I am a Nigerian-American so I find the statement to be an implicit generalization that we don’t have the freedom to marry why we want. That is untrue. I see Nigerian men with non-Nigerian wives at almost every Nigerian party I attend. Every Nigerian family is different…I’ve met some parents that don’t care who their children marry as long as they love each other and treat each other right. I’ve also met some that want their children to marry someone from the same culture. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t generalize or stereotype ALL Nigerians or non-Americans as people who look down on marrying African-Americans in favor of “arranged marriages”. View people on an individual basis. Generalizations lead to further misunderstanding and division.

      • MsEnigma
        January 11, 2014 at 9:54 pm

        Wumi, I am absolutely guilty of making false generalizations because I do not understand and can’t fathom the practice of arranged marriages. I’m not knocking it by any means, and I’m not indicating that all non-Americans do not have a choice in marriage. I am fully aware this is a practice among many ethnicities. What I’m really saying is it must suck to be in a position where you can’t make that decision for yourself and risk losing all familial support if you do.

        You asked if I ever thought about his desire to marry someone with the same ethnicity. My main question and the base of this topic was, why IS there any distinction between Africans and African Americans. This is exactly what puzzles me the most. As Temi mentioned above, his family may have traditions in place where he can’t marry Igbo. It is my true ignorance, but I don’t understand why you wouldn’t be able to marry someone from the next village. Where I’m from, Black is Black. It is very hard for me to understand why my “Black” isn’t good enough for his family.

        For the record, this is an arranged marriage between their families.

        • cocoakitty
          January 11, 2014 at 11:08 pm

          MsEnigma, black is black for us Black Americans, but we no longer share the same culture with other blacks in the diaspora. I sympathize so much with what you went through as well as with the confusion, but I respectfully think it’s a bit ethnocentric on any AA part to think all blacks are the same and that we have the same struggle. Our culture/psychology has metamorphosed into one that’s uniquely American, one that is based in part in victimhood, in the psychological quagmire of oppression, exploitation, self hatred with a very short collective memory. we have no anchor except the plethora of wonderful things we’ve accomplished and contributed to the world, and the fairly new dream of returning to a place we think of as our real home- Africa. but, at some point in our history in this country we turned a corner and we can’t really go back. well we can, but we’d be fish out of water, tourists, transplants. like an Australian going to Russia. same skin, different culture. and that’s totally ok by me.

        • yemisi
          April 6, 2014 at 4:33 pm

          C/s 100%, you explained it well

    • Ade
      January 12, 2014 at 9:55 pm


      I guess the dude in question is committed with the lady back in Nigeria or he is the type that value family tradition over personal happiness. Or it could be the case that He never truly love you in the firs place or his idea of love is heavily defined by traditions. I’m 100% Nigerian (though Also American Citizen)but I have always tells my family that, while I care about my culture and tradition, I can marry whomever I choose to marry whether Nigerian or Non Nigerian( In this case African American or any non Nigerian) as far as we both meshed so well and there exist sense of belonging. By this I mean she understand me, my root and accept me for who i am and accept my people and of course I will do the same. At the end of the day, it is all about the pursuit of happiness. So if it is an African-American that can offer that happiness, why not. I believe openness is a big thing we alll need to adopt as we move on in life. After all, we are all human being.

      • MsEnigma
        January 13, 2014 at 10:08 am


        He values family tradition over personal happiness, and his idea of love is VERY heavily definied by traditions. We had long, extensive talks about it. As much as we’re in love, it’s not enough (for him) to tell his father he can marry whoever he chooses. Unfortunately, his mother passed away, and she would have been the parent who supported any decision he made. All that support you described – understand and accept your roots, tradition, culture – is what I was willing to give. I was excited to learn about the tradition and culture, and take that on as part of my lifestyle. I’m glad you are open to pursuing happiness with whoever you mesh well with. That gives me hope there are some out there still willing to fight and make sacrifices in love.

  28. Oaktown Brown
    January 11, 2014 at 2:01 am

    sigh. this makes me want to turn my american back on africans and west indians. oh well, at least afro-brazilians love us.

    • Moe
      January 11, 2014 at 10:51 am

      Oaktown Brown, your feelings are valid but don’t turn your back on Africans and West Indians because we have more in common than the lies put out about us. It’s a very small minority that think that way we just need to build stronger bridges between us. Africans need African Americans just as much West Indians need Africans. Our survival as a race depends on us working together in love and fighting for what’s right.

  29. Trish
    January 11, 2014 at 3:35 am

    I know this post is about Africans and African Americans but aside from the word “Akata”, many Non-American blacks have the same attitude about African Americans; notably, West Indians.
    I am West Indian but grew up in America and the old folks in my family have a lot of the same attitudes about African Americans as some Africans do.

    Luvvie, you’re right. Most of it has to do with them coming from all black nations where they didn’t have the same dynamic with whites and suffer some of the same lasting negative socio-cultural affects as many African Americans.
    …they simply can’t relate.

  30. Bazinga
    January 11, 2014 at 11:32 am

    I don’t know if it’s because I’m premenstrual or what but this made me tear up. I’m what most African-Americans would consider PRO-Black although I consider it just being me. For a long time, it has been a dream of mine to set my foot down on the motherland. I’ve always just wanted to go home and just smell the air. I had dreams of people who look like me embracing me like a long lost sister. But when I realized that the place, the people that I had held in my heart for so long did not, would not recognize me. It hurt so bad but this post gave me some needed perspective and I thank for you that.

  31. HowlingBanshee
    January 11, 2014 at 11:33 am

    THE TEARS!!!!!

    Thank you Luvvie, from the bottom of my heart and all the nooks and crannies of my soul.

    Thank you.

    – a born and bred for too many generations in the USA African American

  32. January 11, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Luvvie, I so appreciate this conversation. I learned SO much just from reading your stream of tweets. The tension was something I’ve always been curious about. I was born in America but my dad is Jamaican and my mom is mixed (African American and St. Cruxian from St Croix) so my upbringing was that of a West-Indian and African-American.

    I’d say I got the best of both worlds – fried chicken & curry goat under one roof. However, when it came to relating to alot of my black counterparts in high school and college, for example, I was always in between groups somewhat (i.e American-born black who had been raised by immigrant parents). I really started to notice the tension between African-Americans and international black people (Africans, West Indians, etc) when I got to college.

    Most of my African friends had lived a life of privilege in Africa, but when they came over to the states they were VERY hard workers. Their parents pushed and pressured them to be great…or else. They excelled in their classes, studied hard, got tons of scholarships and opportunities. And there was always a disconnect between them and AAs. Almost like an unspoken tension. It felt like they thought AA’s had so much potential and opportunity they weren’t taking advantage of. And of course, being in between, I’ve always been torn about what “stance” I should take. Were AA’s just lazy? Why had African immigrants learned to milk the system and we hadn’t? And the short answer is, American history for blacks is VERY different. AA’s had to endure alot more and have had systematic and integral oppression for centuries. It’s a sad truth. I’m so glad you decided to shed light on it! We need to have more conversations like this.

    • April 2, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      thats crazy right, they come over here an as u put it learn to milk the system an we are born over here an are still at the bottom of the ladder,history and education has alot to do with it, I dont think black Americans should be learning the same stuff as white kids, I think different cultures should be taught different, but forced and rushed integration ruined that. Great comment

  33. Kori
    January 11, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Thank you so much for this

  34. Nenji
    January 11, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    I completely agree with everything you have stated Luvvie. I am a product of an African-American mother and Nigerian father. Both who raised me to know my heritages very well. I started my elementary education in Chicago where I was born, but then for middle school and high school my parents moved me to Nigeria where I attended an American International School but was raised in the Nigerian community. For college, I came back to the United States and have lived here since. Going between both worlds for most of my life, I have had to answer questions and stand up for both my heritages. Often I am forced to explain to Nigerian friends, who look harshly at African-Americans, African-American history, our story, the struggle. As well as, respond to ignorant and misguided comments from African-Americans as to why Nigerians do not understand the African-American experience. It’s like being a bridge between worlds so to speak. You have done an excellent job with your explanation above. Thank you for having this conversation and shedding light to a topic that few are brave enough to address!

  35. Phatgurllove
    January 12, 2014 at 8:37 am

    I would love to sit in on one of these discussions. I never understood it either why Africans snubbed us and why we weren’t friends because we were the “same.” I love this! This has opened my eyes to alot of the prejudices that we have against each other. I would love to see this discussion take place in an open forum. Fantastic! Thanks Luv!

  36. Katori
    January 12, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    I highly recommend the book ‘Kinship: A Family’s Journey in Africa and America’ by Philippe Wamba available on Amazon: Mr. Wamba’s father is African married to his mother, an African American. His family spent significant amounts of his formative years in the US and Africa primarily in Boston, MA and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. If you’re among those straddling the worlds of being American and African or any multicultural identities you will weep, laugh and be amazed at this treasure of a book. It’s very well written and researched and offers a historical and cultural perspective of specific times in the US and Central/Eastern Africa. Sadly, Mr. Wamba died in 2002 at the very young age of 31 as a result of a car accident in Kenya where he was conducting research.

    To understand African American extraordinary history and contributions in America, the book or PBS Series “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” by Henry Louise Gates, Jr offers incredible insights.

    This is a very important conversation, Luvvie, that may help shed some myths on both sides and help everyone appreciate the cultural and historical bonds that remain in spite of an information void that has gone on for far too long.

  37. January 12, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    One thing I find fascinating about this ‘ignorance of each other’s history’ discussion: how is it that EVERYONE (I’m including Asians, South Americans,etc.) learns European history in school, though?

    • April 2, 2014 at 10:32 pm

      FASCINATING RIGHT? Integration and the power structure of whites being on the top is how, who ever has the power in the game makes the rules. Integration was good an bad, but it was rushed and forced, i believe it would have happened naturally eventually(separate but equal)Desegregation and integration are basically the same but different and people would be happier with each other today. Cause like u I dont believe different cultures should be taught the same thing in order to compete in USA since they are being taught the same thing those cultures and races with disadvantages never will see change, and as soon as a non white wants to be specifically make a school for their color they are going to be attacked with false claims of being reverse racist. Sad but its the reality, the system was built for whites to stay on top.

  38. RavenJ
    January 12, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Thank you for handling this with such class (of course I wouldn’t have expected any less)

    Luvvie are you familiar with the Africa Conference 2014 that is taking place in Austin, TX on the University of Texas campus? I submitted a proposal to present my research and it was accepted. (YAY) Anyway…I was just wondering if you knew anything about the event.

  39. Shakira
    January 12, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    You know you my cousin, right? lol But seriously, this article shed a very bright light on our similar struggles and I appreciate you bringing your raw openness to the topic. Beautifully done 🙂

  40. January 13, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Extremely enlightening to hear your take on Africans and black Americans. Would be curious to hear your thoughts on Africans and black folks from the Caribbean. Is it similiar to the one you describe with black Americans? Curious on your take.

  41. Peaceful
    January 13, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Wow, this is very interesting (and I know I’m a little late). My sister married a Nigerian man with three children. The children have never lived in the U.S. I’m so scared of what they will have to deal with when they come over here. They are so sweet and innocent and I hope that they will cherish being Nigerian. I could not bear it if they came to the U.S. and were teased.

    It’s weird how there is such a chasm and divide between us (AA, Caribbean, African). I’m from Florida, so I deal with international people daily. But both my parents were educated and we were well-off. I went to “ghetto” schools. I was heartbroken when other black students accused my father of selling drugs because he drove a nice car and had a beeper (he was a university president); however, this has made me “less” African-American to my Caribbean and African peers. It was like the “whiter” I was raised, the more I became accepted by the international crew. I couldn’t understand it, but I did end up marrying a American-born man who has Nigerian parents.

    It’s frustrating when my children can go back for centuries on their father’s side and I can’t tell them anyone beyond my great-grandparents. That history has been broken and it hurts.

    It especially hurt when my children asked me if everyone in my family was a slave because I cannot go beyond that history.

    Thanks for the discussion.

  42. Cee
    January 13, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    It boils down to ignorance + arrogance. The lack of knowing one’s history, the history of the African Diaspora and being content with not knowing. If you have the means to a butler, maid, car service, why do you lack the means to text books / history books. If you want to migrate to the US, find out why things are the way they are for Blacks in America.

    Many of the Blacks in America had ambitions to be great but witnessed the public lynchings, whole towns wiped out (Black Wall Street, Rosewood), Non-violent movement met with hate and violence. Move your family to the North to escape the jim crow south only to find out the factories in the north closed down. Finally get on your feet, buy a house, a car, kids go to a good school. Whole Black Middle-Class/Upper-Middle-Class neighborhoods decimated by Heroin + Crack Cocaine.

    Some of us “African-Americans” may have migrated by choice from Africa / West Indies in the first half of the 20th century, but lost touch with that side of the family / culture.

    You or your parents may have been born outside the US, but keep in mind that your children + grand-children born in the US may not carry on tradition and they themselves will be labeled “African-American”. I’ve had West Indian childhood friends call me a “yankee”, not realizing my great-grandfather migrated from the West Indies in the 1920’s. Personally I would love to know why he came here before the Civil Rights movement. A post like this make me question, did he see himself as better than “the negroes”?

    Even amongst West Indians, there is a divide, see Black Dominicans or other West Indians looking down on Haitians.

  43. Kelly Virella
    January 14, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Luvvie, thanks for taking up this issue. I think part of the conversation that black people need to have is a reality check about how we’re ALL doing.

    By now it seems African immigrants are starting to realize there is a longstanding African-American middle and upper middle class in the US dating back to slavery. HBCUs, cotillions, etc. But just because *we’re* doing well, doesn’t mean our communities are. Look at Harlem. Really look at it. Despite the relatively high rates of educational attainment among African-Americans — about 20 percent of us have college degrees — there are only a handful of black communities in the US that have their shit together.

    And while African immigrants to the US are doing well — about 20 percent have bachelor’s degrees or higher ( — how are their countrymen faring? I just did some research on that question and saw that the average enrollment in higher education in sub-Saharan Africa was less than 5 percent in 2006. 5 percent??!!!

    We really need to get it together. The fact is in the grand scheme of things, we’re all doing badly. And rather than strategically investing in the future of our communities and countries, here we are sitting around measuring our cocks and calling each other savages. It’s enough to make you holla.

    • Jerry
      March 17, 2014 at 6:13 am


  44. January 15, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    Fascinating discussion here and a lot of it resonates with me as a West Indian. Because I went to university in the UK, I’ve kind of seen this from both perspectives.

    On the one hand, because I have family in the US (like every West Indian), I know full well how Caribbean people tend to look down on African-Americans, even though we share the same history of slavery. However, as Luvvie pointed out, there is a certain confidence that comes from being the default in your country.

    On the other hand, it was only when I went to the UK that I realized …hold on, West Indians aren’t viewed as ‘model migrants’ everywhere. In the UK, Caribbean Brits are basically the equivalent of African Americans in the US. They’re (we’re?) underachieving, high levels of crime, the whole gamut of dysfunction.

    And it really knocked me back when I went there. For instance, at the uni I went to, there was not a single black Caribbean man. ALL the black guys there were Africans – either straight from the continent or African-Brits.

    Then and now, I can’t quite understand it. How is it that the same people who are model migrants in the US are the bane of society in the UK? These are the same people – and not just ‘same people’ like we’re all black and we’re all kin. I’m talking like…first cousins. One brother goes to the US, the other to the UK (which literally is the case in my family.

    The only thing I can think of is that in the UK, Caribbean people were the first set of large-scale migrants (starting in 1948 with the Windrush generation). Africans came later in the 60s and 70s. So the initial hard knocks and misconceptions and suspicions and discrimination were absorbed by Caribbean people (in much the same way that African Americans took the real hard knocks in the US) and the communities have been shaped by that.

    Sad and puzzling…

    • niksmit
      January 19, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Like Luvvie, I had my intensive African diaspora education during undergrad in candid student group discussions supplemented by history and sociology courses. Twas really depressing to learn in detail how the world was/is organized to crap on my ethnic group to get ahead. We did get some cross – ethnic unity among the brown skinned students at my school though.

      The UK nuances are new to me. I’ve sort of picked up some things from UK media but it was unclear. This was educational.

    • Since1619
      March 8, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      The first child in a family sometimes carries the brunt of parental punishment and experimentation.

      Remember that most African Americans during slavery did not come directly from Africa, but they came to the United States after being culturally “seasoned” in the West Indies. So, technically we are of West Indian and African descent by default. However, we were drenched in a “sea of whiteness” designed to cripple us economically and psychologically. I have been to Africa and Haiti and I was overwhelmed by seeing so many black people in one place at one time. I grew up in the a North American small town where we were often the only blacks in a classroom, store, etc. Being in a numerical minority has some very real and negative effects for a person of any nonwhite color. Although, I have achieved in spite of this disadvantage, it has left some deep and emotional scars that are difficult to describe to someone who has grown up in a predominately black culture. There’s even some cultural differences between northern and southern blacks in the USA. For a long time I could not relate to my black blood relatives in the south and they are “American,” too. Finally, I never felt American until I went abroad, because I grew up in the era of segregation when I was treated unlike a white American.

  45. Turquoise
    January 17, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. This is definitely a conversation that needs to happen because us. We need to reconnect on a deeper level. We should unite instead of separating ourselves.

  46. Stefan
    January 21, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Hi, I’d like to say that here in the UK there is still some misunderstandings within the black community. Even though many Afro-Caribbean and African people get on, i often get told by my African friends that when it comes to black relationships that their parents will be disappointed if they dated a Jamaican. My parents come from Barbados and St Lucia btw. I believe that culture presents a huge barrier.

  47. KDubs
    January 22, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    This was so incredibly insightful. Wow. Thank you.

  48. March 31, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Hello: I am an African American who was raised in West Africa, in the country of Nigeria during my primary and formative years and have never heard that expression “akata” before now! Let’s stop making excuses about the attitudes of Africans and African Americans and move towards discussing how we can best improve the quality of all of our lives. I am amazed at the level of discussions and types of topics after spending the last several decades from high school living in the US, and the God awful treatment received from living overseas not only from fellow Americans (particularly whites and blacks raised in this country), and now we are faced with additional people of African origins adopting the same patterns of outlooks regarding race, class, etc. Basically, feeling terrible and bad about each other and who we are! Let’s move on folks, and see beyond all that emotional grap that I have been faced with for most of my life living in the United States. If not, none of us (notice the term “us”) will have promising futures as groups (perhaps as individuals but not as struggling groups of peoples), regardless of being African or African-American, Caribbean, Belizean, Guyanese, etc. The bottom line … we are all peoples of Africa…PERIOD! Let’s move on… and embrace our pass, present, and FUTURES…Thank you for listening…

    • mikeobong
      April 2, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      Am I African?
      Is there a divide between Africans from Africa and African Americans.? Do we see our selves as two different groups of people? Why do we not embrace each other and join in solidarity? Instead we differentiate between each other as if our history is not forever bonded together. Are African Americans ashamed of their African heritage? Do Africans feel a false sense of superiority over their African American brothers? Is it all ignorance that causes us to fail to connect?
      In the spirit of Marcus Garvey I want to develop a movement of unity between the two groups. In the eyes of many other races they see no differences in us. But we find ways to separate from each other. The fact is we share a common past and we should concern ourselves with our collective future. If people of African decent anywhere in the world are in destitute situation, we as a people should be concerned Just like when many of our people lost everything in Hurricane Katrina, it should touch us and galvanize us to help. Our welfare is connected, we are all connected. Even if our cultures are different, African Americans from the Deep south have a very different culture from African Americans from New York but they are still the same people from the same race. So I don’t understand why the same is not true for African born in Africa and African American.
      It is a discussion that needs to be had. Only through conversation will we understand the things that divide us and recognize the history that connect us. We are all in this together, the issues that face many African Americans parallel those experienced by Africans still living in Africa. The alignments that attack African American are the same for Africans; Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and AIDS. We share many of the same social issues; political mistrust, devastating discrimination, ramped poverty, and inadequate educations systems. But our greatest resource as black people are our people. We are people of resilience that have over come so much. All that hold us back from claiming our birthright is divides. You know the saying “united we stand, divided we fall”. Well we have be divided so long, its time we stand up.
      -George Aigbe

      • George Aigbe
        April 3, 2014 at 5:34 pm

        Hello this is George Aigbe, how did you find my quote ? Did you go to Southern?

  49. Shay Spearman
    April 2, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Luuvie, Thank you for writing this. IT was beautiful. I would love to hear more about your trip home when you go. I loved tracing my family history back to our pre-Middle Passage roots. Although much happened during that time, it is a piece of our heritage, and should be taught.

  50. April 2, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    This was beautiful. Thank you! We all have to work on our ignorance. Just as you stated that the media here won’t teach you all about the African Americans (black) people here, what we’ve been shown by the media doesn’t help us to gain a positive depiction of the continent of Africa either. We could all learn from one another. Here they teach our history as if it began at slavery and where you’re from there’s no mention of the middle passage and slavery… There has to be a point where we mesh that history and combine our knowledge so we can grow together and not apart.

  51. Valerie
    April 2, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    I’ve lived in Ghana for 3mons, and I’ve some traveling there and in Nigeria… what you said is sooo true, and I say it to people often. Our (in America) history, is not the same as their (in Africa) history. What they learn about us, is from the media. When I was in Ghana, I traveled to one of our other sites, and sat with the stuff for dinner, and to watch tv. That week, Roots was on. The questions I got were wild. And when traveling to another city, I had someone, in their 50’s or so, ask me if I one of my parents was white. All lessons that just showed me how deep things don’t go. Thankfully, their are people attempting to teach our kids more about where they come from… more than what they get in the school system. If we don’t do it… No one else will.

  52. NotAkata
    April 4, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    I disagree with Luuvie. I am first generation Nigerian-American (born and raised in the U.S.), and I don’t think that Africans’ opinions of African-Americans comes from lack of education about slavery. Not at all. Yes, there are some very wealthy Africans who can study abroad, but many who make it to the U.S. are not wealthy at all. The middle class in Nigeria (and probably many other African countries) is virtually non-existent. Sorry, I’m not sorry, but I am and always will be of the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality. Black Americans never had to fetch water, will never know what it is like to always have unreliable electricity (not because you couldn’t pay), because the government can’t provide it. Black Americans won’t know what it is like to go to schools that don’t have the resources and supplies that many Africans never had, nor will they ever know what it is like to go through war and survive on so little fearing for your life for three consecutive years. I thank God that I will never know either. But I see my parents’ generation and know all they went through in order to come to America and make it here. Black Americans grew up with privileges that so many Africans could only DREAM of. My people really suffered, worked hard and always hungered for academic excellence. They were faithful and had TIGHT family units. The men did not run off after getting a woman pregnant. They married first, and raised hard working children. They knew that without education, they were nothing. That mindset is what separates them from black Americans. Don’t see how 400 years of slavery factors in. I just don’t. Until the victim mentality ends, black Americans will be singing the same old song and be stuck in the same place…It. must. end.

    • April 5, 2014 at 9:15 am

      This is a prime example of the ignorance of history that Luvvie and many others have discussed. I’m just going to leave this link here, so you can see that, yes, indeed, there are black people who still have to fetch water and deal with unreliable electricity in the year 2014: You might also want to read The Warmth of Other Suns.

      • April 5, 2014 at 9:22 am

        *black people in America, that is

    • yemisi
      April 6, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      I agree, To me the slavery issue is a excuse, even with africans knowing it, it won’t change hoe some africans see AA’s. Culture and the mindset of africans is very different from AA(at least for the Ghetto ones) which is alot. When a african speaks correct english, is a neird or goes to school they tease them and say they are acting white. They need to keep that attitude with their people and stop spreading that to Africans

    • Denise
      June 23, 2014 at 1:49 am

      You can’t really be serious with this? “Black Americans don’t know what it’s like to go to schools that don’t have the resources…” What exactly was Brown v. Board and the fight against separate and unequal schools about then?

  53. yemisi
    April 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    I’m a nigerian(yoruba) born in America and I connect with Nigerians, ifeel it depends on the tribes on how your african parents raised you to know what side you belong. When it coems to the word akata, it is not a negative word, it just refers to african americans, it has no connection to nigger and I think African american made up the debate of akata and nigegr ebing the samething. The reason why akata is complicated is because some use the word from anegative plae and it has become negative but the nigerians around me use it to distinguish and identify african americans not insult. I see nothing worng with it and to me this is bother attemot by african americans to start a debate for no reason

    • Sotonye
      September 28, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      Yemisi, my sister, I am an Ijaw man, born and brought up in Lagos. I am of the generation that first started to use the slang word “Akata”. In the 80s a lot of Nigerians started travelling abroad in large numbers, mainly to England and America. If you went to England you were termed an “Awe” if you went to America you were termed an “Akata”. This term was a new slang used specifically for Nigerians by youth in Eko (Lagos) it had nothing to do with Black Americans. There was no negative connotation to this term, in fact it offered one some status as those days it was the more affluent who were able to travel to the States. There is no comparison with this word and the “N” word. I believe in response to perceived prejudice from Black Americans, Nigerians in the States applied this word in a derogatory manner to Black Americans. Many do not understand that this word is just a slang, I have heard it means a roaming cat, a wild animal (this one I doubt) or fruit that wind blew far from the tree. Many Nigerians do not even know the meaning of this word or that the word exists especially if you are of an older generation and non Yoruba.

      If you study ethnic slurs in Nigeria you will find they are rarely harsh, an Igbo might be called “aje okuta, ma mo omi” translation a person who eats rock with out drinking water by Yoruba or a Yoruba called “ofemanu” translation a person who eats oily soup by an Igbo, or a Jamaican called ajerike translation a sugar cane eater, our slurs often do not attack a persons humanity. I hope this once and for all puts an end to this totally uninformed debate!!!!!

  54. yemisi
    April 6, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Also i would like to add that africans have their own history in their schoold just like Europeans and asians, they don’t need to learn in their school curriculum in their country American history. I don’t hear americans learning other country history unless it is about world war 1 and 2, so this shouldn’t be pushed down our throats

    • To Be Honest
      April 25, 2014 at 7:49 pm

      I think you should go back.

      • yemisi
        May 9, 2014 at 7:31 pm

        Nope, I was born in America and have a right to be here, thank you

  55. […] reasons for the discord are about what you’d expect: negative media portrayals and, in general, misinformation about each other’s cultures. I’ve heard just as many “African booty scratcher” jokes as I’ve heard people from the […]

  56. […] for the discord are about what you’d expect: negative media portrayals and, in general, misinformation about each other’s cultures. I’ve heard just as many “African booty scratcher” jokes as I’ve heard people from the […]

  57. Lawrence
    April 19, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Thanks all for a very productive conversation, please continue, young folks can and will change the future for the better.

    All the best

    Lawrence Davis, Ed.D.
    Professor of Leadership

  58. To Be Honest
    April 25, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Africans are arrogant. Nigerians have a country to go back to, failed – albeit, but a country. Yet you think it is perfectly fine to call Blacks here who ARE in their home – wild animals? Why arent you fixing Nigeria? We are all curious of this now!

  59. May 2, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    What is the constructive benefit/outcome of name-calling? Why not just stop it? Stop the name calling. Like today. Truthfully, we look real silly and pitiful in the year 2014 doing it. The “colonial” mind exists within both the “African” as well as the “African-American” the evidence being all too apparent if one but opens their eyes. Each party thinking that he or she is some improvement above and over the other. Fact is both are a conquered people and a little humility goes a long way toward recognizing this salient fact. But truth hurts, and instead of owning the reality, its an ego boost to feel a little bit better than the next person by putting the other down. We have to mature and we can start by simply refusing to name call one another.

  60. Cee
    August 11, 2014 at 10:40 am

    In USA things look so complicated. Well articulated rant but I have a question. What African privilege is this? Some of our tribes were too busy hunting and cultivating and fishing before the explorer set foot in our country. I’m from East Africa and from my history, the TransSaharan and East African coastal trade were the two opportunities for slave trade, and slaves were mainly taken to the middle east and north Africa. What people need to realize, in my opinion, is that colonial and slavery oppression happened in different places in different times. So I resent the fact that all Africans are labelled as slave owners by our brothers and sisters across the atlantic.

  61. Cee
    August 11, 2014 at 10:41 am

    In USA things look so complicated. Well articulated rant but I have a question. What African privilege is this? Some of our tribes were too busy hunting and cultivating and fishing before the explorer set foot in our country. I’m from East Africa and from my history, the TransSaharan and East African coastal trade were the two opportunities for slave trade, and slaves were mainly taken to the middle east and north Africa before it spread to west Africa during the TransAtlantic trade. What people need to realize, in my opinion, is that colonial and slavery oppression happened in different places in different times. So I resent the fact that all Africans are labelled as slave owners by our brothers and sisters across the atlantic.

  62. Jane
    April 7, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    It’s not just slavery but the aftermath as well such a segregation and Jim Crow laws that affect African Americans. Many African Americans are from families that have been in poverty for generations. Inner city schools are terrible so not many are getting a proper education and most families cannot afford tutors or to send their kids to private schools. The cycle just repeats. As far as Africans go, like most immigrants, they obtain some type of education and wealth in their own countries before immigrating here. When they come here they move to good neighborhoods and send their kids to good schools so of course the American Dream seems easy and realistic to them.

  63. July 19, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    […] while ago I read a blog post by Luvvie (Awesomely Luvvie) and I came across this […]

  64. mae pinzon
    February 6, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Interesting piece ! I learned a lot from the specifics – Does anyone know where I could possibly grab a sample a form form to fill in ?

  65. […] particular, Luvvie addressed the use of the term “akata” in a series of tweets, which at its base, means “wild beast” and has apparently been applied to describe […]

  66. Pelvo White, Jr.
    May 10, 2016 at 7:12 am

    What is an American? An American is a citizen of the United States. African-Americans were not always citizens of the United States. They were chattel slaves and then citizens. African-Americans haven’t mastered being American citizens. We haven’t mastered it because we haven’t practiced it enough. This is why so many are still burdens on federal, state and local governments.

    It is not enough just to say that we celebrate Black History Month each year and then recall the good deeds done by a few African-Americans of the past.Doing this robs those who haven’t given enough thought about the damaging effects centuries of forced slavery and racial segregation a full view of the psychological and physical damages done to a percentage of our population.

    America will be a better country if we can heal these few sore areas in our society. I am all for reparations being paid to African-Americans for the harm that has been done as a result of chattel slavery. Perhaps many will be able to use this money to recover from their psychological and physical sicknesses.

    African-Americans cannot find a way to thrive en mass in America because too many of us are still sick. White Americans expect too much of African-Americans when they harbor the impression that a few hundred years are enough time for African-Americans to recover. Being an African-American today is a quiet form of personal suffering masked by the pretense of well-being that hides a continual feeling of inadequacy.

    We suffer because we cannot support ourselves financially. We suffer because we don’t know how to love one another. We suffer because we don’t know what foods to eat that are good for us. African-Americans feel inadequate because there are gaps in our social evolution. Our ethics are a mixture of chattel slave and free man.

    The African-American’s movement from a slave to a free citizen wasn’t a smooth one. It was marked with bitter strife and suffering that can only be helped by genuine acceptance by their white-skinned citizens. It is important for a white-skinned mother or father to smile and cuddle a black-skinned baby and vise versa because racial acceptance is part of the healing process. The white-skinned citizen should expect the same good-citizen conduct out of African-Americans as he would his own child.

    We have been put together racially by laws in America, but not yet enough by a sense of pride in nation and citizenship. We must all work together to create a kind of American society yet in privation. This new, better citizenship is within our grasp.

    The whole of Dr. King’s dream is not yet made manifest in our day-today lives.It is a vision that is greater than any one of us, but is obtainable through the efforts of all of us. We will all know when things are better racially in America when the matter of race is a non-issue in all that we do.

    Pelvo White, Jr.
    Marianna, Florida

  67. Pelvo White, Jr.
    June 10, 2016 at 10:13 am

    African American Intellectualism, A Martin Luther King, Jr Gift To All Of America

    America must continue to remake itself in regards to it’s racial relationships. In its present state America suffers from the eclectic collecting of faulty cultural habits and beliefs which have tended to cause the continual demonizing of some of its citizens. We gleaned certain political and legal ideas from the ancient western world that weren’t necessarily helpful to the racial cohesion of a pluralistic multiracial democratic republic with a capitalist economic base. For all intents and purposes America is nothing more than a deviated model of Europe. It is a well-constructed model that is designed for the continued missionary conquest of the known world. Most Americans exist within the cultural sum total of European norms, folkways and mores that have been codified into law complete with dominant language (English), but one must realize that nations rise and fall over the centuries. In a” melting pot ” It is only natural for some American citizens to think that they are losing their cultural identities and to feel at times very alienated especially if they cannot interpret western world signs and symbolisms which allude to a foreign culture. 
    The American brand of racial discrimination has its origin deep within the culture of the white race. An example of this is the play Othello by Shakespeare. This play is often taught in high schools, colleges and universities as a classic tragedy. There are those who would argue that the noun “Othello “was a complete invention by Shakespeare. It was a complete invention, but a clever racial one. The word “Othello “is a noun comprised of two Latin words which in Shakespeare’s time automatically identified who he was talking about because that person looked so differently from his white skinned society. Othello was portrayed as a black muslim. The latin rooted english noun ” Othello ” translate out to mean “of the it ” “Oth ” means ” of the “, and ” ello ” is a pronoun which means ” it .” The continued dehumanization of the black male passes on to the white skinned wife of Othello. Her name is “Desdemona.” The Latin word “Des” means descendant of, and the Latin word Demona “which means female demon. So the condemnation of the interracial couple within its own culture is complete with an ending caveat which is to stay away from such a love affair that can only have a tragic end.
    The singer, James Brown, has a phrase in one of his songs which says ” a two faced woman, and a jealous man have been the trouble in the world since the world began.” But Brown did not remind us that the accused two faced woman was white skinned, and that the jealous man was black skinned as Shakespeare suggests.  We can also see and understand the ancient strains of racial discrimination against the black male in the Greek writings of Homer. The Iliad and the Odyssey identifies the king Odysseus, who through bad relations with the gods, sailed a confused route home to Ithaca.
    Much of Odysseus’ route was along and near the northern coast of Africa where he encountered dope addicts (lotus eaters), and witches, and monsters. The white skin race’s habit of demonizing the black skinned race is very old and has passed on from ancient times up to the present through stories like these. Even Aristotle was ran out of his home, and Socrates was executed for trying to introduce ideas which had their origins in the black race. We cannot continue to believe that the black male is noxious to America. These fears were born in the culture of the ancient white race that had a world conquest mission and have no relevance in today’s America. Our teachers and scholars must continue to study, interpret and reinterpret our own racial discrimination and bigotries embedded in our treasured ancient stories.

    Pelvo White, Jr.
    Marianna, Florida