I address in my article how important and revolutionary it is for black Americans to reclaim their roots and although I didn’t know this prior it’s great that there are festivals in existence that strive for cultural collaboration and are building partnerships with African countries.
Most Africans (at least those in my family) are very vocal in regards to the exploitation and colonialism of Africa and her people. There have been many revolutions and wars fought against this and it honestly is very insulting for you to say that Africans are silent about the exploitation we have endured by the West and China. Africans have given their lives and livelihoods to loosen the grip of Western exploitation. We have condemned neocolonialism from China (at least non political Africans). All of the Africans I have met during my life have expressed deep exasperation in regards to Africa’s exploitation and dream of a time in the future where we will see Africa finally free and self sufficient. As for languages, I honestly don’t know how many tribes have forgotten their own languages but in my country of Cameroon, tribal groups do well to practice their own traditions and speak their tribal dialects. Many of the Africans that I have met, especially the ones in America, are proud to be African.
I am not worried about African Americans exploiting the continent and I am aware that African Americans are quite aware of where they come from. There definitely are a lot of similarities between Africans and African Americans. What I mean to address in my article is how the disconnect that does exist between black Americans and Africa manifests itself with their interactions with her. I aim to highlight the fact that sometimes these interactions can be quite reductive. African Americans are not immune to internalizing the negative stereotypes and misinformation about the African continent. Therefore they are not immune to perpetuating them. When African Americans claim every African tradition or art as theirs simply because it is African it reduces African cultures to an African culture.
My story isn’t meant to discourage African American engagement with Africa, it’s meant to encourage it in a way that acknowledges the reductive stereotypes and misinformation the West has created about Africa. I’m asking black Americans as descendants and as Americans to also approach us mindful of the biases learned through Western representation and help us to undo the harms done by the West.
Thank you for reading my work. I appreciate your support.