As a Canadian-born black woman that once lived in the United States, the mindset that some of my people have about nationality within our community is limited and disappointing.
There are some people from Africa that believe they are different than people from the Caribbean. They openly make a reference that they are "African" and the others are "black people."
When I lived in the United States, I noticed that Caribbean people have a belief that they are better than African Americans because their culture is more connected to Africa. Some African Americans are less likely to have an interest in Africa or the Caribbean culture because their culture was taken from them by force during slavery.
Let's not forget some people that were not born in the continent of Africa, don't want to be connected to their original roots because of the negative images we see every day on television. I have heard the stories of new African immigrants ridiculed by black people born in North America that have left some resenting those that were born here.
The divide between some of my people gives me a headache. The entire purpose of colonization in Africa between the fifteenth and nineteenth century was to separate African people from their culture and place them around the earth to make it hard for them to figure out who they are.
A race of people that don't see each other as the same are a disenfranchised group of people to the rest of the world.
The sad part about this fact is it is an unfortunate part of history but we are now in the twenty-first century, and some black people are still mentally colonized. I understand that it is hard to let go of a certain way of thinking that was passed down from generation to generation. Now is the time to see the bigger picture and start accepting each other as the same people.
When a racist cop stops a Black Canadian, Caribbean or African born person, I highly doubt the police officer is going to treat you any better because you were born in Canada. With that said, why do you think you are better?
I can debate for hours about the countless similarities between Jamaicans and Nigerians or Barbadians and Ghanaians. I have conversations with my people from all different nationalities and the only thing that is preventing some from realizing this is education.
Instead of going back home, try going to the Caribbean to see it for yourself. An alternative to thinking you are different than your friend from Africa is to get on a plane and study the culture.
When I ask some of my people about their indifference to integrating, the topic of culture always comes to mind. I remember having a conversation with a man from the Caribbean about an African-born woman he met that is passionate about the discussion of slavery. He believed that people born in Africa have no say in slavery because they were kidnapped and brought to the Caribbean or North America.
This statement is ignorant because if one looked at the genocide that occurred across the African continent during colonization, it would bring tears to their eyes.
It is 2017 black people! It is time to stop looking at each other as distant cousins and embrace each other as a diasporic family. If you have a better way of doing things in your culture, teach your neighbor your way of life and vice versa.
The more that you hold onto ignorance, outsiders will continue to affirm that you have no love for self and kind. A race of people that don't see each other as the same are a disenfranchised group of people to the rest of the world.
I appreciate the ones that don't let nationality get in the way of acceptance. Once you begin to realize that we are all different but the same, some of the issues that are a part of our community will slowly disappear.
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