The other Continental African students and I would agree that it is much easier for us to stay within our own circles by joining organizations that represent our countries and making friends with the same cultural background rather than exploring other cultures. It is hard to move beyond what we are used to, especially when it doesn’t feel like we are welcome in the new environment we are exposed to.
Many Black power movements advocate for economic freedom and support of black-owned business. Indeed, a people’s independence can only be sustained if they controls their economy. I hope that this new series will be an aspiration to African Americans and will empower us to see the possibilities of a sovereign Black community.
I also remember hearing folks place a lot of value on others who were light skinned, as opposed to dark skinned. This led me to feel uneasy in my own skin. I did not want to feel like others viewed me as superior, just because my pigment is a lighter shade of brown, or because I have “good hair”. It is foolish that there is so much divisiveness in our own communities, based on the pigment of our skin.
To those who have lighter skin, such as me, racism is presented in a different way: soft, masked and often difficult to be perceived by ourselves. We live daily under a “policy of denial of our Blackness” for the whiter you are, the more accepted by the white society you become, therefore, often being seduced by the privileges offered to us. This “policy” makes it very difficult for black people with lighter skin to affirm their blackness; because here we have different names for melanin tones present in the skin. For example: mulatto, moreno, mameluco and so on.
When I was a boy around the age of 5, I used to say the word nigga a lot and continue to do so to this day. I guess it's because I watched too much T.V. or because I would hear adults around me saying it. I stopped saying it for a while but no one ever told me why I shouldn't use that word until I got older and by that time, I was already saying it everyday. However when I did learn where the word came from I couldn't believe it. I looked at my teacher and thought to myself, “this nigga crazy.”
Growing up as an African child hasn’t always been the easiest thing. We’ve had to deal with name calling from kids who look just like us, with the only difference being our heritage. Over the years the black perception of Africans has drastically changed. We went from being called African booty scratchers to African Americans wanting to take the Ancestry DNA test to trace their lineage. But just a few years ago this would’ve been the same student insulting both my African culture and me.