Erica said: Rarely ever do I respond to posts on the internet, however, I have a big issue with one person telling another that his or her personal truth is invalid or irrelevant in any kind of way. Perhaps I am missing something here, but I fail to understand how the original write-up is insulting or ridiculous on any level.Before responding to any creative work, one must attempt to understand and/or analyze it without a bias. It seems to me that “CutTheCrap” may have had some issues with someone else & is taking it out on the author of “Triple Consciousness” because none of the points brought up in the reply hold water - at all.
I will not dissect the reply apart sentence by sentence, but what I want CutTheCrap and people who share his or her sentiment to realize is that growing up as a first generation African in the western world is a different experience than being an African whose family has been in the USA for generations, just as me spending the first decade of my life in Rhode Island and the second decade in Atlanta, GA (I’m now in NYC) gives me equal access to 3 different worlds that are quite different from each other. None are better than the other, just different.
I am the first born of 2 Nigerian born parents, so I can speak from personal experience. As a 1st generation “black” American, without opening my mouth or without hearing my name or without knowing my story, I am judged just as any other PoC is in North America. However, when I do say my middle or surname and I spend over a minute trying to help someone pronounce it and have to answer the questions/exclamations, “What kind of name is that?”, “Where are you from?”, “When did you get to this country?”, “You speak English well for an African!”, etc., that is an experience that non 1st generation Americans do not typically have to deal with. I remember when I moved to GA and was registering for my new high school, the secretary suggested that I be placed in ESL classes based on the simple fact that my mother had an accent. My mother’s first language was English, she is a college graduate (educated in the USA), I was born in New England, was at the top of my class, I spoke to the secretary directly myself on several occasions, and the ONLY language I’m fluent in is English, but any tiny stamp of not being an “American” automatically throws me into an entirely different category.
I just want to make the point that I think the only thing the author of “Triple Consciousness” was trying to say is that as a 1st generation “black” American, you must constantly travel between 3 different worlds and it can be a challenge at times to ensure you can maintain a good balance between the three without denying or neglecting any of them. Yes, I am a “black” woman, that will never change and I must navigate through the world as such. However, I was also born and raised on US soil, so I am an “American”. In circles of other AAs, I am different, though, because my parents have accents, I kneel down before my elders, I wear large geles and sing in Yoruba. CutTheCrap proves that this alienation exists simply by using the term “my people”, as if we are somehow excluded from the black American community because of our parents’ birthplace.
I am also an African, but amongst African born people, I have a strange accent, my Yoruba sounds funny, I’m spoiled, I don’t visit home often enough, I’m dating outside of my ethnic group, etc.
No one is complaining, no one expects AAs to owe us anything. We are all waiting on our reparations. Your ancestors may have been enslaved, mine were colonized. We are really all in this together. Once people realize that we are more effective as Africans when we unite on all fronts, no matter what soil you were born on, we can then work towards progress and the “upliftment” of Africans worldwide.
Don’t be so angry. We love you.