The Politics of Being "Mixed"
Ok, I am not African. I am African-American aka regular ol' Black. Now I do have a firm belief that all black people are the same no matter where you are from, but I also recognize the differences between the two cultures and also the divide. People often mistake me for African and don't believe me or are surprised when I tell them that I am African-American. They say I look too "exotic" to be African-American. I get a lot of people who think I am Egyptian, Ugandan, Ethiopian, Eritrean, etc. I am proud to be who I am, but I also appreciate the African heritage as one that is my own. One aspect of the divide that I feel is an internal problem, is the one that 1. Africans know what country original ancestry is from, while African-Americans do not because of slavery. 2. People fear, create, and perpetuate stereotypes about the unknown. For example, I have been told many times that Africans believe that African-Americans have had a lot of luxuries afforded to them and that we don't appreciate what we have, as well as us being ghetto. 3. Ignorance. For example, I've heard African-Americans that believe we have no culture and have no appreciation for America. First, allow me to say that American Black culture is one of the most influential and culturally diverse in the world. Hip Hop is just one example of this. Also, of course of country has problems; name me one that doesn't. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't love your country, just as Africans show pride for their country. America is a great country and we should love this country and our culture within it as well as the entire continent from which our ancestors came. 4. Seperatism. I love diversity just as much as the next sane person, but when the appreciation of diversity doesn't actually appreciate diversity but tears us apart instead, there is a problem. There is nothing wrong with being proud of what African country you are from, but when you make that pride into a way to belittle others who are not from that country, that is when I question the integrity of that pride. It pains me to see people that always want to be something than what they truly are. It pains me to see the "exotic" girl that doesn't look like everyone around her is labeled beautiful just because of that. It seems as if the farthest you are from "regular ol' black" that's the most proud and beautiful are, which I believe is also a part of the good hair/bad hair, light skinned/dark skinned complex comes from.