It almost feels like black Americans don’t think black folks in Europe exist. I always come back to thinking of that when I see conversations concerning the diaspora. All about black folks in Europe who can’t trace themselves back to Africa? Aren’t they culture-less in the same way?
And discussions of racism also annoy me because those are American-centric too. Racism is as bad, maybe even worse, in some European countries. Whenever I hear about football (soccer) stars getting bananas thrown at them and getting called monkeys I think that’s not as likely to happen here. Maybe because too many black folks are here.
And then what about black folks in South America? How is South America more of a destination for black culture than North America?
And then the American centricity also ignores black folks who have volunteered to leave these places where black culture apparently exists to a greater degree (countries in Africa, the West Indies) and come to Europe and America. Because there is such a thing as Western privilege.
I don’t think any conversation can be honestly had about continental vs. diaspora without the existence of American/Western privilege being kept at the forefront of that conversation. White supremacy has devastated many majority black countries to the point where many folks feel like they have to leave to live. Yet, folks finna act like these folks are privileged in some way because they can connect themselves to a culture or something?
And then folks say they finna connect to Africa and that they feel lost because they can’t connect to Africa BUT then they claim that black folks in other places in the diaspora don’t have any right to challenge the notion that they shouldn’t feel culture-less. They can’t connect to Africa either … so…
And then it’s like so what about black American culture? I’ve heard black folks merely call it “black culture” which is American centricity again because black folks got culture all over the world but black American culture is just here. So how can we call it “black culture”. There is no such thing. The black race ain’t a monolith.
So why isn’t our culture good enough so that we dismiss it to feel like the ultimate victims… in spite of American/Western privilege/ in spite of other black folks in the diaspora existing in the same predicament?
Is it because white folks don’t like black American culture? Or…? [And it’s not like they like any variation of black culture. In England not long ago, a prominent historian blamed all of the countries ills on Jamaican culture.]
hm, just my thoughts.
I’m not at all comfortable with the bit ‘racism is as bad, maybe even worse, in some European countries.’ I feel like that’s something that we don’t need to be quantifying. That we can’t quantify. White supremacy is working detrimentally on both sides of the Atlantic and ‘oh well, it’s worse over there’ isn’t helpful at all, IMO.
That said, I’m feeling the general idea of this, it ties in really well to the discussion we were having about how some black Americans centre their voices over the rest of the diaspora in these conversations.
Yeah you’re right about the critique now that I think about it.
It’s no good to quantify racism. But I do think that American blacks have the tendency to act like racism just exists HERE or is worst HERE which isn’t true. I know plenty of black Americans for example who think everything is perfect for black people in England and Canada. Because as Americans (in general irrespective of race) we rarely care to understand what is happening outside of America. Sometimes we don’t even care about what’s happening IN America to be honest.
But I think that ignorance results in a very skewered discussion on racism and black culture.
Especially when black Americans talk about a lack of culture and blame it on white people and racism taking that culture away which doesn’t make sense when *every* black person in the world deals with racism including folks outside of the US. And even black majority countries deal with implications of colonialism which is just a different version of white supremacy. So why can’t they claim no culture? And why don’t they? I mean even looking at African countries. Most of the African countries we know today were created by Europe not that long ago. So why don’t they say that they don’t have any culture?
Thought racism can neither be quantified or even qualified in the same way, western privilege is a thing!!
In Europe, the dynamics and history are very different from the US’s and widely differ from countries. For instance being black and being African are not necessarily inclusive in France. Also religion, namely Islam, plays a big role, especially considering how islamophobia is rampant in Europe. It often happens that black west Africans from countries such as Mali, Senegal or Mauritania feel closer to non-black North Africans than blacks from Central Africa like myself or from the Caribbean. The reason being they often share the same religion and meet on numerous cultural grounds. I will even go as far as saying that blackness is not really a thing in that context, because it is far too porous and diverse to be the basis on which we could unite to fight racism. Also, like I mentioned here a million times, and got called ‘anti-black’ by some US-centric buffoon, AFRICANS DO NOT PRIMARILY IDENTIFY WITH THEIR SKIN COLOR!! Quit pushing that shit down people’s throats!! We would rather unite with people with whom we share a common cultural background than simply our phenotype!!Don’t get me wrong though, there is a lot of anti-blackness going on in French society and even within the non-black North African community but Arab men, though lighter-skinned, have it just as bad black men when it comes to dealing with the police, or any type of discrimination. They may even have it worse in some instances because they also have to to deal with islamophobia with is always associated with Arabness.
I say it here loud and clear, US-centric blackness is something that carries to some extend the same oppressive potential as whiteness, from the silencing to the exotification of others!! The fact that people who spend their days denouncing others’ privileges yet in the most hypocritical move that is, keep on denying that their status as westerner and American affords them a position of power, hence of potential oppressor is extremely shocking and disgusting to me!! If you can’t admit this simple fact and call yourself pro-black, get the fuck away from me immediately!! I don’t ever want to have to deal with this shit!! There are thousands of people who are dying to make it to the US and the west, yet fuckers keep acting as if their American passports afford them nothing??? Are you fucking serious?? It affords you the power to silence and police other black people’s identities and narratives and define the notion blackness in the collective psyche. It is because of shit like this that Henry Louis Gate can go to Latin America and push the US-centric notion of blackness on black people there. It is because of shit like this, that an African American professor at Columbia University can write and publish lies about Amazigh people because ethnocentric fucks like him can’t understand that some black people do not live themselves a black and that blackness is a social construct created by white people and exported all over the world!! It is because of shit like this that myself and other Africans here get called ‘anti-black’ because we have the audacity not to bow down to a shit that was forced on us by white people and is now forced on us by some western blacks!! US-centric blackness is an imperialism, it may work fine in the US but I don’t think that it can ever be reclaimable by anyone else.