Understanding Diversity in America: An open letter to African Americans and Africans in the Diaspora

 

For the purpose of this piece, I’d refer to African Americans born in the US as African Americans and to African Americans born in Africa as Africans, although I know that the government sees all of us as Africa Americans.

Every time I see or experience the disparity between African Americans and Africans, my heart bleeds. We have so much in common, yet we choose to focus on and glorify our differences. I am writing this letter because I believe that if we continue the silent conflict between us, we will never be able to propagate our race.

No country is homogenous, and America is the most diverse country on earth, but also the most racially challenged. This is because America’s immigration policy and ideology embrace people from different races coming together, to form this idea of America. This has however caused a lot of chaos and has shaped America into what it is today. This letter focuses on the conflict between the two subsets of African Americans and what we can do to resolve it.

Although they may not agree with this, many Africans believe that they are better than African Americans. This belief is shaped by different reasons. Their knowledge of where they come from, which gives them a sense of identity and belonging, even though they are living in America, and their familiarity with the culture from home makes them act superior to the African Americans. They believe that African Americans are not true Africans and shouldn’t even be referred to as such.

The Africans also believe that African Americans don’t take ample advantage of the opportunities in America. However, these views are flawed and grossly misguided.

Sadly, African Americans also have their biases towards Africans, and although I wasn’t born in the U.S, I have spoken with a good number of them.

They believe that Africans who migrated to the US are not superior to them, and don’t have it all together as they make people believe. They are also of the opinion that Africans have come to take their jobs, and are not a part of them.

Why should we allow the little differences between us cover our many similarities?  We have to realize that at some point, each subset migrated from Africa, and it is time to come together to posture the black race for economic prosperity and better relations in America.

Dear Africans, please note that we can never fully understand the journey African Americans have traveled. We can never know what it is to be enslaved and although slavery has been eliminated in the country, there is still a lot of healing that needs to occur.

The majority of African Americans are still being camped under systemic restrictions and racial biases. It will even interest you to know that America is willing to accept an African immigrant before it accepts an African American, and this in itself is something that they have to deal with.

As Africans, we have a history of being led and directed by our kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers. African Americans don’t have such heroes and this has a way of shaping them.

Let’s also not forget that many of us, Africans, have a history of abject poverty, and when we get to a land of abundance, it is easy for us to see and seize the opportunities. Most African Americans may not recognize these opportunities as quickly as we can because they have always been part of the system. This is no reason to judge them.

Instead of glorying in our differences, we need to come together as a race. I believe that African Americans did not fling their culture away deliberately. Over time, they were stripped of the traditions they brought with them during slavery and had to develop their new norm. Why then should we crucify them for this? If we are so bothered by their culture switch, let us as Africans, share the culture with them. 

It is important to realize that for the black race to be relevant in America, African Americans and Africans, must come together and work as one.  This will not only position us for economic prosperity but help in healing the land. We have so much in common, it is time to focus on that and leave the differences.  

We all came from the same place. Some may have leftover 400 years ago, and others, ten to twenty years ago, but it doesn’t change our origin.

Do we realize that if not for the freedom fighters like Martin Luther King, Malcolm x, and those who fought in the 60s for civil rights and equal opportunities, it will not be possible for the Africans coming into American to migrate? Today, I and many others are reaping the benefits of the fight and sacrifice of Africans who were here before us.

In an America where everyone has to identify with something, I employ all African Americans regardless of where we were born to come together, share our values, culture, and ideas with love and care. Only through this will the black race move forward.