Sunday, January 17, 2010

Real Africans don't apologize for being African

In today's world, it's hard to be African - stigmatization, discrimination, poverty, desease, conflict, prejudice, you name it. People want we - Africans - to be who they want us to be and not who we truly are. It's difficult to find people who respect us for who we are without being influenced by prejudiced views of where we come from. Is this a good enough reason for us to apologize for who we are? In other words, should Africans apologize for being African?

There's one question that hunts immigrants everywhere - where do you come from? It's a question I have had to answer numerous times, sometimes multiple times a day. Over the years I've heard fellow Africans provide shameful answers to this very simple question. You've probably heard or provided one or more of such answers:

"My parents are from Africa but I was born in London. I only go to Africa for holidays."

"I'm from Jamaica."

"I'm from the United States. I just have many African friends."

"I'm French. Born and raised in France."

"... why do you ask?"

It' worth mentioning that some Africans choose not to answer the question (as if anything they say would be used against them). Interesting. Others stutter, stop and look at the person asking the question in a bid to figure out why they posed the question. Could this be due to low self-esteem? I have also come across a good number of people who find the question offensive (sounds rediculous but it's true). Everytime I hear shameful answers (like the above mentioned) from Africans, I'm baffled. Is there something wrong with being African?

I understand that for one reason or another, some people don't like being asked where they come from. That's cool. But I have no problem with the question. I've heard it many times and each time, I provide an answer without a blink. Those who know me know that I'd look you in the eye and tell you I'm African - born and raised in Bamenda, Cameroon, and I don't apologize. Living in a land where the majority of people don't look like me, I've been through a lot and at this point, the fact that I am African is rarely an issue for me. You could apologize for being African if you will, but it's my heritage and I'm proud of it.

It is true that you would be discriminated against at some point simply because you're African. But then, if you don't love where you come from who would?

What's my point? Well, it's simple - real Africans don't apologize for being African.


  1. am jamaican?!
    lol jamaicans speak nothing like Africans. I don't understand why people keep making the comparison.

    I think it has to do with the way you were brought up. If you were raised to love and embrace your traditional culture, to speak your native tongue and to be able to cook your native dishes then usually you end up bing proud to be an African. It's not just the Africans living abroad. A lot of them at home try to disassociate themselves from their cultures. Thats how it starts. So when they do get the opportunity to come abroad, the same attitude follows/continues.

  2. It's not a shame! First of all Africa is not a country, it's a continent! Yes my parents were born in Congo, but I was born and raised in France! That is all I know. Around my Congolese family they call us "white kids" because of the difference of the culture. No I am not ashamed of my heritage, and when people ask me where I am from I say France, because that is where I CONSIDER to be from, even though I acknowledge my roots! There is nothing wrong with being African, or an African descent, it's just people dealing with their insecurities! All these diplomas you have and such a pointless article!

    1. Hey, take a chill pill! If you were born and raised in France this does not apply to you. Anyone with analytical skills will quickly realize that this concerns people who were born and bred in Africa, but distance themselves from the continent. I encourage you to go for your own diplomas. Along the way, you might learn how to engage in constructive debate without attacking those whose views are different from yours.

      Thanks for your input.


Search this Blog

Related Posts with Thumbnails