Kofi Amofa, Radford University
So my name means "the one born on a Friday." Within the Ghanaian culture, your name is meant to symbolize the day of the week you were born. My name is read as Kofi Amofa. For those outside the Ghanaian culture my name may seem like a rarity, but it’s quite common where I come from, considering there are only seven days in a week.
I was born on the continent of Africa but unfortunately left Ghana for the states when I was four years old. I am now twenty-three. As you can imagine, being that young and being in America for that long with no visits back to my homeland, the struggle has been real maintaining and securing my identity as not only a Black American but also as an Ashanti tribe Ghanaian. As time elapsed, I submerged myself in Black American culture, adopting its beats and rhythms. I assimilated because this is where I felt most comfortable but also because of socioeconomic reasons, the culture helped compose majority of my settings.
As I grew through my crisis I observed my African settings and my Black American settings, taking heed to the differences we claimed between each other to eventually juxtaposing that with my experiences at a predominately white institution and the multiple variations of Black I had no inclination of. I’m privy of my ignorance, when it comes to Black and its insurmountable variations, but I feel that my crisis may be relatable now more than ever. Today, I see no need to antagonize between the variations of my Black so I empathize with those who still struggle with theirs and hope to use this article and True Culture University to help us all ignite the conversation and bridge the global gaps between all of us, because as a world of melanated people, I believe this is where our true strength lies.
What we lack right now is each other. I have several inclinations about why I think that is, and I hope to articulate that with you all as time progresses. To begin, what exactly are we talking about here? We're talking about the global discussion and understanding of what it means to be infused with the strength, burden, and grit of melanin folk. Let me seat you from the position of which I see it. There's a series of sit downs that we haven't had to discuss the differences we have placed between us Africans and Blacks, and I believe that to be very divisive to our growth. What I am here to question is our loyalty amongst our own and I know this discussion extends itself much further than I can fully unload in this op-ed. However, history and the American system specifically, has torn us so far apart that we can cannot fathom the idea of unity to share in the global and nuanced experiences of melanin folk. So, allow me to begin.
There's a silent (if I can even call it that) rift between Africans and Blacks that goes unspoken, and neither side seems to acknowledge its importance or admit that we are all at fault. I speak with Africans on a consistent basis on this matter and they are too set in their ways to appreciate something such as the burden Black-Americans placed on their shoulders for our immigrant parents to come here. I speak with Black-Americans and their thought process is far too removed from the continent to care about what Africans say, because to them, they're fighting their own fight, and they don’t have time to consider the genocide, hunger, or impoverishment of a group of people who don’t recognize them as their own (these two are mild examples of conversations I’ve had with both parties and again I hope to dig further into them as we grow in this conversation).
I see these thought processes as very divisive, these mindsets work towards dividing the melanin that keeps our issues tightknit and nuanced. These forces, if left unchecked will continue to prevail in the severance of those under the domain of black. Are we willing to let something such as that happen? So, one could ask, why would these groups of people want to come together anyways?
From my perspective, (again speaking from my experiences in America) there is a system that has been structured to ensure that blacks aren't the majority decision makers of majority of the products consumed in America. Disenfranchisement, marginalization, socialization of the mind by way of slavery and the media… I could go on but it has been proven to us consistently that our voices will be heard if and only if the system allows it to be heard; even if a few of us prevail, for the goal of the system that supposedly would be enough to appeal and disarm the masses.
Then you have the latter, the African continent that is being pumped of its resources and distributed to other parts of the world. It baffles me how so many resources are extracted from the richest continent but its people are the poorest (in terms of capital) and don't see the fullness of the ripe fruit. I guess what I'm saying is that it's about time that we at least start considering this thought and really start figuring out why (for the most part) we've left the thought of Pan-Africanism at the back of our minds; because if both parties (meaning those who gather the resources from the root of the continent and those who are on the receiving end of that resource production, and if you still don’t understand, I mean Africans on the continent and Blacks globally) aren’t the full beneficiaries of their resources and aren't experiencing the true abundance of that production because of systemic oppression. Ladies and gentleman I think we have a larger issue that extends beyond the designers of this system. That’s why now more than ever we need to begin the global discussion, so we can better understand our feelings towards each other. We have learned that blacks in the United States remain underappreciated even if they construct museums or monuments, build street names after our leaders, or even give us our first Black President. The true test is the freedom to move freely and fully enjoy the resources and backbreaking work that initially originate from us.
What I love about this platform is it helps to ignite and regenerate the lost art of unity amongst blacks globally, creating a chance for us to share in our nuanced experiences as melanin folk. I know I don’t have all the answers because I have not had a chance to hear the perspectives of my African brothers and sisters in London, Italy, Ecuador, Australia, and other regions of the world and therefore is the reason for this necessity. This here, is how we combat the dangerous habits we have picked up over the centuries.
True Culture University has now given us a means to share in our experiences globally. It's IMPERATIVE that we share our stories to help us understand each other as blacks first, because we've spent enough time looking at this system and the mental cavities its carved between us; let us begin to understand and talk about our psychology as blacks globally. With hopes to contribute and free us from the oppression that impacts us whether you are black on the continent or not, help us share in the diversity, revival, and unification of the melanin folk!