Friday, February 1, 2008

Am I my brothers keeper?

I meet some very interesting people on my job.

One of the duties of my office is to fingerprint potential employees and run criminal history checks. A lot of the potential employees of my organization come from different countries and backgrounds. I see a lot of people from different countries in Africa, El Salvador, Honduras , Mexico and every other country you can think of. It amazes me on how many people want to come to the DFW area to work.

Mostly everyone I come across during the course of the day are pretty cool. There is the occasional asshole, but that is to be expected since I deal with the public all day, everyday.

The people that trip me out are the Africans.

I say this because of the way their attitudes change when they find out I was born and raised here in the good 'ole U S of A.

You see I am a dark-skinned brother. I am tall and somewhat muscular. I keep my head shaved and my face is clean. (I tried a goat-tee when I got out of the military, but I guess old habits are hard to break.) I am told almost everyday that I look like I am from somewhere in Africa.

I get Nigeria and Ghana a lot.

None of this bothers me in the least. I consider it a compliment. To me all this is saying is that my roots are pure and untainted.

I have light-skinned people in my family, but I get my genetics from my Grandfather. My Pops was coffee colored as is my Moms. My sister is light, and my Grandmother is also. It is obvious that "Massa" dipped his wick somewhere in my family pool, but his taint skipped me.

Anyway, like I said the Africans that come into my office to either get hired or get escorted out of my office by Immigration, treat me different when I open my mouth and they hear my East Coast accent.

When they first step in and take their number from the receptionist everything is all good. If I am the one that pulls up their number, I call them to come back to my little cubicle. When they first see me, they look relieved. When I ask them for their ID'S, and they hear my accent, they look like they are getting ready to converse with the enemy. Their whole demeanors change. I have had some refuse to speak English.

Now I am wondering, What the fuck is this about?

Now I kinda expect this type of behavior from other races, but from my fellow Africans?

I asked one of the African guys I am cool with why this type of shit happens.

He told me that some Africans, (he empasized some and not all), do not consider us (African Americans) to be "real" Africans.

They consider us straight Americans.

He said that some "real" Africans consider us to be nothing but lazy, stupid, drug dealing, gangbanging misfits.

They don't understand why so many of "us" do not finish school, or why so many of "us" do not have jobs, when most of the "real" Africans that come here to AmeriKKKa have 2 or sometimes 3 jobs.

They think African American women are not worth anything because they constantly disrespect the man, and they dress so provocatively.

I asked him where they get their information, and guess what he said?

BET, Rap Videos and CNN.

Ain't that some shit?

Now what could I have said to that? All I could do was shake my head in disgust.

Well, my fellow Black Americans, we are not only labeled here in our own country, but also in "some" of the countries on the continent of our ancestors. (Notice I said some and not all.)

We have been weighed on the scales of life and have been found to come up short. All because of the media, and the way we are portrayed on our very own Black Entertainment Television, the "voice" of black America.

If this doesn't open up a lot of eyes, something is dangerously wrong with "us".


David Sullivan said...

I've got a few guys from Tanzania and Ghana that work for me and they say the same shit.

Then, they totally dis each other. The guys from Ghana say "Oh, those Tanzanians are goat fuckers" and the guys from Tanzania say "Those from Ghana fuck their sisters and mothers". Skin color doesn't mean shit to them.

Yes, all of you black people born here are AMERICAN for all its good and all its bad.

Tell those guys from Africa to go fuck a goat (40 Year Old Virgin)LOL.

brightstarr said...

New layout? Nice! I know I may be a bit late, lol.

But, great article. I must say that I can somewhat see their point of view. Our fellow "Africans" overcome quite a bit to come to America to pursue educational and career prospects that a lot of "African Americans" do not necessary take advantage of. Now don't get me wrong, slavery happened, socio-economic inequality exists, the education system is flawed and still separate and unequal, etc. - but we must admit that education is free and attainable to all in America - our ancestors fought very hard or that.
We need to stop with the excuses and start looking through a different set of eyes. Maybe "African" eyes. ;-)

Btw, it's interesting that you mentioned that he gets his information from BET, CNN, etc. I had the opportunity to travel a bit overseas myself. On my last trip to Argentina, I was constantly hit on in a degrading fashion by men. While watching television programming I noticed that African/African Americans are highly sexualized in their culture on television. Not to mention also look at as baffoons and ignorant clowns. Quite frustrating.

Truth said...

Glad to see you blogging again,

These stereotypes that some Africans believe about African Americans is partly our fault and partly theirs.

Yes, CNN and especially BET can be blamed for the negative images that reinforce long held stereotypes of African Americans. There is some truth to the fact that African Americans, speaking generally, have not taken advantage of all the educational opportunities that exist. There are many Africans Americans that deem themselves too good to work certain jobs and are content on depending on handouts from Uncle Sam.

To be fair though, the history of unequal protection under American law can explain some of African Americans short comings. I sometimes wonder do Africans have a true understanding of American History and what our ancestors faced upon arrival.

Besides, some Africans have a better than you negro mentality. The fact they hold racist views towards Black Americans makes as much sense as me believing some of the stereotypes about them. For example, they all live in huts, they all run around naked, all the men have ten wives or my personal favorite, the HIV virus began in Africa by an African woman or man having sex with a monkey.

These are racist and ridicules stereotypes of Africans and I'd be fool to believe them. Just as any African is a fool for believing all Black Americans act a certain way.

DR, when you get a chance check out my blog Let me know what you think.

brran1 said...

Most africans that I have come across are just here trying to do for themselves. It's sad that people from other countries rely on BET (Bamma Entertainment Television)to tell them how African Americans act. But to be PC, we'd be ridiculed out the ass if we thought that all africans acted like the ones on The National Geographic Channel. Your African friend is correct in one aspect though, We as a people need to stop depending on the government/other people to take care of us. Some Africans or Carribean people do come here and put us to shame when they see us riding thru the projects in the 08' Escalade not doin sh*t while they head to their 3rd job of the day...I am not suprised that the africans think like this though

jjbrock said...

Great article, why are we surprise when we here how other people view us? I heard a long time ago about Africans not liking American Africans, go figure.

Anonymous said...

Well, they got one thing right..I am not nor will I ever be african. I am proud to be a black american!! I even hate to be called an african american. As for the so called 'hard working africans', I'm sure the ones who immigrate to america are the cream of the crop. I bet if we were to look back in the motherland, we would see a bunch of 'shiftless' africans, just like they see our 'shiftless' americans. However, if these fools think that all black americans are like that then there are not as smart as they think they are!

AQUILOGY said...

Why do most americans think that if you are light skinned you have some taint in you i'm a light skinned african and i have no white "blood" in me so where does that shit come from?

Jazzylady said...

On of the things I did on my job, before I had to retire, was act as shop steward. I had to rep an African brother, but I already knew his attitude. He had never really experienced racism in this country the way we do, and he believed himself to be so well educated, so much better than American blacks, that I tried to tell him what was going to happen in that meeting. Those white women denied and dismissed all knowledge of the brother and his great and good work. He broke down and cried like a baby, even tho I had tried to warn him. Oh yeah, they'll be the first to tell you that they're better than you and that you are lower than second class. What david said, lol.

AQUILOGY said...

Thanx for clarifying what you meant about the whole taint thing i really appreciate it. and you have my permission

daddio911 said...

I agree with the anonyous quote. To say that I am african is to say that we all are because that's the probable origin of the garden. I happen to b a person of color born in the great U S of A. Thank you God for that wonderful gift. Vote Republican!!!!!

chocolate_matters said...

This is not the first I have heard of our brothers and sisters from other nations labeling us as less capable then they are. Some not all, West Indians, Africans, etc when they arrive in this country already have a notion that we don't contribute to society.I find it a shame that people who look like you or I can view us in such a derogatory light. But then when you get your information from the media and rap videos it kind of explains such a view but it is still no excuse.