Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Different but, the Same
As I flipped through my mom's July 2008 issue of Ebony Magazine yesterday, I couldn't help but, to stop and read an article titled Uncommon Ground by Sherri Williams. The story was basically about the huge issue with Africans and African Americans uniting. The article specifically struck my interest because a while back while trying to reconnect with what I thought was stolen from me, I was made fun of and told that I was an American and not an African at all. Being told such made me angry and a bit hurt but, it didn't change my views as to connecting with my long lost kinfolk who have the privilege to reside at the motherland. While reading this article I learned that there are 45,000 Somalis in Columbus, Ohio, a city that isn't too far from where I reside (Detroit). There is also at least 100,000 African immigrants that live in Columbus period. I found it very interesting because I was under the impression that large populations of African immigrants were pretty much just on the East coast and damn sure, not that close to me. It saddened me to read that instead of some of the Black locals in Columbus taking advantage of a great opportunity to connect with who were once distant sisters and brothers, the message "Go back to Africa" was sent. Those exact words were actually spray painted onto the outside wall of a mosque last November. Now, I've said before that people need to stop putting all Black people in one box because even though we share the same skin color and hair texture we all come from different cultures and backgrounds. That is what makes us different but,besides the cultural differences we're all the same. I can recall when I was working at a property management company and an African immigrant couple stepped into my office in hopes of finding a home. French so happened to be their native language. I can remember being so excited because I knew French and I thought it would be a way for us to connect. It in fact did connect us and I was able to have a few short conversations in the language. It was actually funny because I was able to tell them how bad the company that I was working for was without getting caught. The couple ended up being screwed over by the company that I worked for just as I had predicted. I found myself trying to assist them as much as I could. Now reflecting back after reading that article I thought to myself, "Why couldn't the people in Columbus help the Africans there as I had tried with that couple? Why did they have to terrorize them instead of trying to come together?" Now the article also touched on the fact that many African Americans feel that Africans come to America and get ahead fast, while they've been here forever and still can't get ahead. That's actually a question that I often wonder about regarding immigrants period. I know that not all immigrants come to America and become successful but, a nice portion of them do. I figure we can just all share what we know and help each other out. I understand that there are huge cultural and language barriers between us but, so what why can't we all help each other? Why can't we just teach each other about our different cultures and accept them for what they are worth? No one is better than the other. African Americans aren't superior because they were born in America and Africans aren't superior because they were born in Africa. What both sides fail to realize is that if we actually seriously united we could make a lot of change. There are a lot of issues taking place on the continent of Africa that African Americans have the resources to aid to and vice versa.