( A discussion involving:   Marcus, … Clive, and >> Denise )

…. Marcus, you know I don’t think that Africans like African Americans.

Say what?

…. Based on what I’ve seen, in my neighborhood, which has Africans, African Americans and Caribbeans, the Africans don’t like the African Americans.

Clive, why you say that?

… I mean you can tell from their facial gestures and their body language and what not. As for Caribbean people, Africans’ attitude toward us is not that bad, once they hear us talk, but there’s still a little anti-social behavior. My brother once told me that an African guy told him the reason is that West Indians are closer to them in culture than African Americans.

>>> I agree 100 percent, 100 percent, based on what I’ve seen living in Atlanta!

And what have you seen living in Atlanta, Denise?

>>> They don’t want to have nothing to do with us. They don’t want no parts of Black Americans!

How do you know that?

>>> I know. Believe me, Marcus. I know! They always stick to themselves. They have their own businesses and everything in Atlanta, and they are always by themselves. They’re never with us.

How do you know they’re not saying the same thing about you?

>>> Listen, Marcus. I had a fight with this African guy on my job one time. They’re arrogant, they so damn arrogant!

…. Marcus, my cousin told me the same thing. She said she saw an African man and an African American woman having a fight on the train. And he was calling her a cotton picker and some other fierce names.

Clive, how did that argument start?

…. I don’t know, but nothing gives him the right to call her that.

And what did she call him back?

>>> Marcus, come off it. Come off it! You know Nigerians are too damn slick. You know they’ll scheme you out o’ your last dime before you know what happened to you!

And some African Americans will stick you up in a minute.

>>> Hold it now. I don’t play that!

You notice I said “some”? Why didn’t you say “some” Nigerians?

>>> Marcus, why you always trying to make everybody love everybody?

So what should we do? Hate each other?

>>> No, just be realistic.

Ever hear of divide-and-conquer?

…. I hear that.

Look at what you’re basing your judgements on. A story your cousin told you. What your brother told you. A fight, one fight, you had on your job one time. And-

>>> Oh I had lots of fights with them!

And what about West Indians? Had any fights with people from the Caribbean?

>>> Well, tell you the truth. Now, Clive over there, he’s alright. But some of his homeys? They gots to go!

At least you’re saying “some” now.

>>> Marcus, what’s wrong with you? Why you playing dumb? You know they don’t like us! You know what I had an African guy to tell me one time? I am not really an African! Can you believe that? He said I was born in America, and my blood’s not pure. So I’m not really an African!

…. She’s right I heard that too.

And you heard about African Americans, and West Indians, who object to being called African? Haven’t you?

….. You got a point there.

>>> No, he doesn’t! No, he does not! I never said I didn’t want to be African. That man didn’t know me from Adam!

You mean Eve.

>>> Ha! Ha! Marcus, don’t try to be funny now. You know what I mean. How can he make conclusions about me if he don’t know me?

Say that again?

>>> I said, “How can he make judgements about me without knowing me?”

I rest my case!

>>> Say what?

….. Marcus saying that’s just what we’re doing.

You’re making judgements about people, as a whole, without getting to know them individually. Making judgements, without evidence, is judging before the facts, that is, pre-judging, prejudice.

>>> I am not prejudiced against Africans. They prejudiced against me!

That’s a classic self-fulfilling prophecy.

>>> A what?

…. I remember that from psychology class. Isn’t that when someone believes something, and because they believe it, they…. They what?

They cause it to happen. It’s a vicious cycle. Like being in a house of mirrors.

>>> I don’t know. I’m still not convinced.

Well listen to this then. Did you know that the first victory by the NAACP was the defeat of the Negro Exclusion Bill before Congress in 1915? It would have barred the immigration of anyone of African descent into this country. And did you know that the civil rights movement would not have succeeded, if the US government were not competing with Russia for the allegiance of the newly independent African countries?

…. And vice versa. The African liberation movements would not have succeeded without help from African American, and Caribbean, leaders and thinkers and the contributions of all our people.

In fact, all the liberation movements in the Diaspora were, and still are, interconnected.

>>> I don’t know. Maybe you’re right. Maybe you’re right. But I still don’t know.

Well put it this way. If we don’t get along and work together, Africans in the Motherland will not survive the crises they face today. And if Africans are destroyed, do you think our destruction won’t be far behind?


( by Dr. Arthur Lewin, author of Africa Is Not A Country: It’s A Continent, www.AfricaUnlimited.com )