Identity Crisis: Afro American or African American?

Identity Crisis: Afro American or African American?
Afro or African American?

Who are we, what's the difference, and why should it matter what we're called? Although we are members of the same race and share the burdens that come with that distinction, the interests of Africans that migrate to America (African Americans) are more closely aligned to the interests of Mexican immigrants which conflict with the interest of Afro Americans. As Afro Americans our interests appear to be more closely aligned to Puerto Ricans of similar social stigmas, with whom we get along much better than with Africans living in America. I know how that sounds but I'm not Rod Serling and you have not entered the Twilight Zone.

If you don't know who you are you can't possibly know what your interests are and if you don't know what your interests are its impossible to properly distinguish the difference between friend or foe. Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, "...if you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained, you will suffer defeat." We have fought the good fight at every call, the presidential election of 2012 being the latest. We put more Black faces in high places than Dr. King could've imagined. Guess we've reached that mountain top huh? If you guessed yes guess again.


After our ancestors we're dispersed abroad from the shores of Africa in chains to be sold as slaves across the globe, those that survived the “Middle Passage,” were forcibly stripped of they're culture and compelled through the generations that followed to adopt the culture of their captives. This much and more we already know, right? So that being the case it's reasonable to assume that succeeding generations of the descendents of this unfortunate lot would be the result of merging cultures, Africans and Americans, Africans and Portuguese, Africans and Australians, Africans and Brazilians, Africans and Colombians, Africans and Cubans, etc. The human product of the Atlantic Slave Trade, the step children of the world. Being native to neither but recognizing both. Blacks in America chose the term African American. But now across the globe the dispersed relatives of their African ancestors chose the term Afro Cubans, Afro Brazilians, Afro Swedes, Afro Australians, Afro Colombians, etc. By choosing the more appropriate “Afro” prefix they acknowledge the connection to their enslaved ancestors and their current nationalities. Why this has eluded us here in America is a mystery to me.


Now why is this important? Because it encapsulates the history of our kind from chattel to champions and all the ugliness in between while positively identifying who we really are. By using the prefix “African” rather than “Afro” we not only isolate ourselves from the rest of our kind we also mistakenly align ourselves with others of dissimilar interests when in truth our natural allies would be the dispersed who share with us that common history. Right now we align ourselves through the machinations of Black Democratic leadership with “minorities” here in America. That includes, Africans, Mexicans, Dominicans, Hindus, Asians, women, gay and lesbian groups, illegal immigrants, etc. Most of whom, including the Africans, are all too willing to disassociate themselves from us without provocation or hesitancy. All of whom having interests that conflict with ours at varying points to varying degrees, which means in fighting the battle of the “minorities” we are working against our own best interest more times than not, leaving us too heavily invested in other people battles and thinking we are defending our interests.


Affirmative Action: it is said that the group that benefits most from Affirmative Action is White women. If that's the case why are we rallied into a frenzy every time its threatened? This is not our battle.


Immigration: before the mass migration of millions of Mexican immigrants, Afro Americans were the majority minority which afforded us a little more political clout. After the mass migration we no longer enjoy that title nor the clout that came with it. Before the mass migration that included Africans, Asians and others, Cook County Hospital was able to offer more services to the poor and needy in our community, since the mass migration a lot of those services have been cut and more cuts are coming as most of the immigrants are unable to pay for the services they receive and the system can't bare it. This is not our battle and it conflicts with our own interests.


Women Rights: Among other things that made partners competitors in the home and at work, fought for special attention being afforded to girls in schools which has left our Afro American sons neglected and falling too far behind. This is not our battle and it conflicts with our own interests


There are many, many, many more ways in fighting the battle of the minorities we have injured our own cause. Sun Tzu also wrote in The Art of War, “ If you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.” As I stated above, the only way to properly distinguish between friend or foe is to follow “your own” interest at all times. Not the party nor the politician. This does not mean refusing to compromise. But if there is gonna be a compromise it has to be mutually beneficial to the interest of both parties. Not at the expense of the one over the other which seems to be the modus operandi of the Black influence peddlers that broker these agreements in favor of others at the expense of Afro Americans. The interest of Afro Americans matter and are tied interchangeably to the interests of Afro Cubans, Afro Australians, Afro Colombians, Afro Brazilians, Afro Swedes, etc. Although we may be a minority here, as Ali Muzri said in his PBS series “The Africans”, The sun never sets on the sons and daughters of... (The Atlantic Slave Trade).



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  • I'm much more physically attracted to Afro American floozies than African American floozies. In fact, I just met an amazing and beautiful Afro American floozy this weekend at Studio Paris. Damn she was tight. I might be in love.

  • I think that Sun Tzu was right about war, but Pogo was right about life, in saying that "we have met the enemy, and it is us".

    Some of ancestors come from Africa, yet if you met me on the street you would "white guy". Some came from northern europe, and they would look at me and see, well, not themselves.

    "Race" is a fabricated term. There is the human race. Period. One group has always had it in for another. That is history to the beginning of time. This is the war.

    The segmentation of society into groups who are then identified as victims does nothing but perpetuate the war. This is, ultimately, why the utopia promised by the Democrat Party will fail. They make enemies out of "us".

  • Thank you for the response Richard. I am well versed in the "we are all human" discussion. Unfortunately, we don't have the luxury of ignoring the realities of our existence. Group and power dynamics are very real and very relevant. Just saying that race is a fabricated term does not undue the realities of it's existence. After all, under that line of reasoning every word we speak is fabricated.

    Ignoring or suppressing the realities of group dynamics will not make them disappear,. The mistake is made by people who try to ignore them rather than accept them.

  • Walter you are right: groups and their dynamics do exist. But to ultimately pit one group against another for a share of a pie that really does not exist anymore -- as we are a broke country-- will go nowhere, except to strife.

    The failed promises of the last four years will not be corrected in the next four, as President Obama has not even moved the needle in regards to the unemployment and opportunities that are expected and "hoped" and "changed" for by those who turned out 99 percent-wise for him. One wonders why anybody would support a man with such a dismal record, unless it has to do with race, but to say that makes me a racist or bigot or what-have-you, but it is the truth.

    The idea of "out of many people one" will never happen, in my opinion, where certain groups are given protected status and others are ignored, all in the name of bestowing political favors and access. It is also dehumanizing to think that all Latinos think alike, as well as all blacks and all women, etc.. Who wants to be nothing but a group widget?

    For instance, just as Republicans were not "talking" to minorities, President Obama made a conscious choice not to "talk" to white males of a certain age. How do you think that makes them feel, especially when he gives the "yada yada" about one country? Yet, were white males to complain they are ignored purposely by the leader of the country will be called not a unification of like-minded people and recognition of campaign position, but racist.

    Why do people want war with each other? Why does it have to be a zero sum game, or a thing of exclusion, where you will never be interested what I have to say, but it is demanded that I be attentive to "minority" needs, wants and desires? See, no peace and no justice when one group is warred upon

    That is the reality of the politics of selective inclusion and the demands of a race and victim mentality. The Democrat Party will implode when all its factions find that the pie won't be served to their liking. And people who want to war with each other will find they get just that, finding that the rhetoric is empty and the promises impossible to keep.

  • Richard with all due respect I'm not interested in explaining my position no more than I have already. I'm not on here trying to convert anyone. I've expressed my position and you've expressed your interpretation of it. There's nothing more to be said here, at least for my part.

  • I agree that (your terms) "afro-Americans" and "African-Americans" have had a tenous relationship. There is an air of distrust and misconception at play but it has gotten better over the years.We are both coming from different settings and see life sometimes from different angles. At times,"African-Americans" will align closely with Hispanics because of issues such as immigration. Politically, Hispanics will continue to dominate because it is the hottest new demographic in town but "Afro-Americans"can survive and excel by innovating and adapting to these new realities since you already have a great asset (President Obama). Unfortunately, given the cultural complexity and history, he can provide the help subtly and the "Africa-American" has to acquire subtly and strategically. Because the next step is social and economic advancement not just recognition. I also think that "Afro-Americans" and "African-Americans" can find common goals in domestic and international politics. Using a warlike language to describe the various groups' interests wouldn't help but would instead alienate "Afro-Americans" from what you gain from others and what we can gain from you. It is a fact that "Afro-Americans" have made tremendous progress and have had tremendous success in politics, foreign policy, entrepreneurship, sports, science, executive management and the list goes on.

  • Thank you for the response GHarrison but I'm not particularly concerned about alienating anyone. It's time we shook off the dead weight. If my language is offensive to you that's unfortunate for you but Afro Americans have been the rug matts of the "minorities for too long.

  • Sir,
    I am a Cadet at West Point. I have recently begun to read the autobiography of Malcolm X. I just now finished watching the movie starring Denzel Washington. In the ending it proclaimed Malcolm X to be more than a Negro but an Afro American. Curious I looked up the terms meaning. This eventually led me to this blog. I am an Afro American and am curious to learn more about my people's history. I have subscribed to your blog but would also like to know of any recommendations to books/articles/etc. to which I may further feed my curiosity and hunger to learn about my people. Thank you.

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