AFRICAN AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN TENSIONS

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The New York Times has a depressing story about the tense relationship between Muslim immigrants from West Africa and African-American in a poor section of the Bronx. Resentment, mistrust, post-9/11 Islamophobia and just plain ignorance, are some of the factors at the heart of the dispute, which in some cases has turned violent. (In the image above some of the immigrants meet with police to report and discuss hate crimes against them.)

The story is accompanied by a photo slideshow.

Comments

comments

Sean Jacobs

Also goes by Hasan Wazan. Life President.

5 Comments
  1. wow…I was just having a conversation with some of my Caribbean friends last night about the tensions between African people in London and people of Caribbean heritage who prefer to be called Black British. I just find it strange that even when African kids are born in London they don't typically have a problem being associated with the lands of their parents. Caribbean kids on the other hand have been in the UK longer and don't necessarily identify with their island roots, and no way do they want to be associated with Africa. I put it down to miseducation. I feel if you're black and you are suspicious of African people or hate them for being African then surely a part of you hates yourself. I'm a Londoner, but I'm African and these coexisting identities have widened my perspective. I understand the experience of the diaspora is one of conflicting value systems…but surely we all (all people of African descent) need to come together and chill. This article shows the sorry state we are in.

    1. Look. You have to realize Africans sold everyone that was in the diaspora so of course youd have a connection to Africa, you know your roots.

  2. Unfortunately, this is a longstanding pattern here in NYC (and I suspect elsewhere in the US and Canada).

    I used to like uptown, where what is now "little Senegal" developed out of an SRO on 110th facing the park. Though things seem — to an outside visitor — much more integrated now, a Senegalese professor of mine told me in the mid-1990s that tensions then were high.

    Where I live now in Staten Island, the relationship with the Liberian community centered on Park Hill houses with the local African American community was especially depressing given the expectations of Americo-Liberians fleeing Doe and then the Civil War that they were as much American as African. Stories of conflicts between kids who'd fled horrible experiences in the war facing violence, prejudice, and the lure drug culture within the African American community are particularly common and depressing.

    Even more sadly, it's the gumba racism from white "ethnic" groups from the outside (the south of the Island) that seems to be one of the few things that bring people together.

    When a Guinean kid was attacked last November by white (and one Dominican) kids, it was because Obama had just been elected, and they were looking for undifferentiated black people. I went to a vigil shortly afterward which was led — interestingly — by an Egyptian imam of a largely Albanian Mosque.

    That said, integration is continuing apace, and more Sierra Leone, Ghana, Senegalese, and Nigerian immigrants are appearing all the time here on the north shore of SI, and are forming distinct immigrant communities that are the equal of the south Asian, Albanian, and Caribbean communities of longer standing.

  3. Jules and Tommy thanks for your comments.

    I agree on the conundrum of second generation African immigrants who are either born or grow up in the US/Europe and whose identity is split between their parents' country and their new home.

    There's an interesting documentary "The Neo African Americans" by a Ghanaian immigrant researcher which explores some of these questions.

    See here:

    http://neoafricanamericans.blogspot.com/

  4. We discussed this in one of my classes and it's so disheartening. The ignorance and hate is so rampant and SO ridiculous. If both groups would realize they are basically distant cousins, we could seek to build better bonds and a stronger community among Continental Africans and African descendants. They probably don't realize that many of the Africans that were enslaved and brought to America came from West Africa (Ghana, Senegal, Togo, etc.)

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