Africans and African Americans: the ignorace, prejudices and and stereotypes that keep us divided
Of all the oddities within the field of race relations today, one of the oddest has to be the tension and degree of ignorance you find between different groups of diasporan Africans. In the UK, for instance, there used to be a great deal of tension between Africans and West Indians, not all of which has been released for good. In America, you find the same between Africans and black Americans, or, if you prefer, African Americans.
The tension and ignorance remains partly because there is insufficient dialogue between groups, and not enough willingness to remain open to new information that challenges what we already believe, and partly because many of us are simply confused about our own identities. Thus each group remains predisposed to believing and propagating the stereotypes associated with the other group, and passing on these beliefs to the next generation.
In America, the lack of understanding between the two groups is probably not as low as it was, say, 25 years ago when Eddie Murphy could write and release a film like Coming to America without anyone saying, hey, we know this is supposed to be a comedy and comedies often exaggerate for comic effect, but this portrayal of life and culture in Zamunda [the film’s fictional African country] is a just lazy perpetuation of stereotypes. Or perhaps people did say something to that effect, but couldn’t make their voices heard because the general public didn’t have access to the internet back then. I don’t think you could get away with a film like Coming to America today, but the generation of African Americans that grew up laughing at the character of the prince portrayed by Eddie Murphy is the generation bringing up kids today. And so we have it that a member of the Braxton family refers to her Congolese fitness trainer as an “African booty scratcher”. And this happened just last year