Africans Americans vs Continental Africans: A pointless battle
Africans Americans vs Continental Africans: A pointless battle by Jaylen Pearson
Earlier in this year, Cynthia Erivo was casted as Harriet Tubman in an upcoming biopic. After a recent announcement that Kasi Lemmons would direct the film, controversy around the casting reemerged on Twitter. African American users expressed anger and disappointment that a Nigerian British actress would be playing an important figure in Black American history. British and Continental African users responded by bringing up American actors, such as Will Smith and Forrest Whitaker, playing African characters. The civil war amongst black twitter continued for days, with xenophobia being perpetrated by both sides. This is sadly not an isolated incident. In fact, it was just one of the many battles, in the ongoing diaspora war between African Americans and Continental Africans.
A diaspora is defined as a group of people from a specific region that are spread out over various areas. The African diaspora has a particularly brutal history. Black people have been spread throughout Europe and the Americas, due to the Atlantic slave trade. During this violent era of African history, slaves were forced to assimilate into western culture. They populated in colonized land, creating new ethnicities of black people. These new black people would go onto establish their own culture. This has result in different types of black people in almost every western country. Most of these groups have had a good relationship with other black people. However, African Americans and Continental Africans are often constantly in a conflict with each other.
The disdain that many Continental Africans have for African Americans is often because of their history with slavery. Many of them regard African Americans as lesser Africans, since they do not have a connection with their original ethnicity. They view black American culture as inferior to their own, since it is younger than theirs. While African Americans come from Africa, they do not have the cultural backgrounds that comes with being Africans. Continental Africans see this as a sign of weakness and believe their link with their culture make them superior.
On the other-side, African Americans frequently have anti-African sentiments. African Americans are taught that whiteness is the representation of excellence. This regularly result in African Americans to develop self-loathing for their own blackness. Since Africans are opposed to whiteness, African American often have a resentment towards them. This resentment is generally just a symptom of their own self-hatred.
An example of the issues which African Americans and Continental Africans have with each other is the movie, “Black Panther”. The movie follows prince T’challa, as he ascends to the throne of the fictional African nation Wakanda. In a scene toward the middle of the film, Killmonger, the main antagonist, introduces himself to the government of Wakanda. While Killmonger is a Wakandan, he was born and raised in America. Due to this, Wakandans regard Killmonger as a threat to their country since he is not from the country. Killmonger regards Wakandans as weak since they continue their tradition of not involving themselves in the world’s affairs. Both viewpoints are based on xenophobia and an idea that one of them is superior to the other.
Both sides of this African diaspora war are wrong. Continental Africans are not superior to Africans Americans because they are connected to their original culture. African Americans are not less black because they have lost their heritage. In reserve, African Americans are not superior to Continental Africans because of their proximity to western culture. Reflecting whiteness does not make African Americans more civilized or more progressive than Continental Africans. Neither groups of black people are better than the other. Rather, they are unique and special in their own way.
Diaspora wars between African Americans and Continental Africans do nothing to benefit black people. There is no good that comes from tearing down a certain group of black people. If you are truly a black person who is for the advancement of black people, then you cannot pick and choose which black people you’re rooting for. Either you are for all of us or you are for none of us.