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AfriGeneas World Research Forum

Response to: Global Ethnicities

Dear Spivey:

I am responding to your message in a separate post. Please let me explain. The continued illegal links to and falsely presenting it as a professional connection to poster K.W. Spence-Lewis are troubling and diminish the memory of African ancestored Germans.

In an earlier post I noted to K.W. Spence-Lewis:

"When I clicked on your website's "helpful links" also on your Library page, I found some disturbing references to Dr. Cornel West, Dr. Henry Louis Gates and Caribbean historian, Dr. Selwyn Cudjoe as "Uncle Tom's". Its anti-Semitic rantings attacking the scholarship of these respected men resonate with the same hate of Nazi Germany."

You wrote in your posting of Saturday, 1 September 2007, at 12:40 a.m. on a different topic...about Global Ethnicities and African Americans:

"Here is a post [edited] I resurrected from a previous posting to the World Research Forum. I did not get an answer, so am reposting in the hopes that someone will read this and contribute to my knowledge of the issues."

I am still, in my later years, trying to determine the correct usage of terms. My thinking has been corrupted by the many discussions/arguments I have heard in my lifetime.

For example, I know that Jewish is a religion, not a race, but many seem to lose sight of that fact. I also question whether we are mis-classfying black people who are American born-and-bred by use of the term 'African-American'.

For that matter, which peoples, in these days, are considered members of the 'black race' [certainly not an issue of skin color any longer since the racial playing field is now peopled with groups who are as 'black' as I am].

I believe that I need a better understanding of what is meant by the terms 'ethnicity', 'culture', 'heritage', 'race', and any other descriptive term used to denote an individual's origins. I have a hard time discerning which term is appropriate in the context in which it is being used. Perhaps there are some ideas and guidelines out there somewhere, but I can't lay my hands on any.

Thank you for your assistance.

Spivey "


Thanks for your posting concerning Global Ethnicities...and in particular, the African Diaspora.

My belief is that people are allowed to call themselves whatever they deem is their ethnic identification. We've learned on the pages of Afrigeneas that people of the African Diaspora may or may not recognize their African heritage as their FIRST cultural identification. Most of their cultural ID may be linked to:

1) The number of generations that their African ancestors lived outside of a country.

2) The racial mixture of their ancestors.

3) The cultural history and influence of nations and how they identify race.

Historians report that the African Diaspora in the Americas for instance, began in the 1500's. That's a lot of territory to cover, including various cultures and a lot of people to document.

If we focus on African/Blacks etc in the US, our search for a collective name for our experience is just as challenging. We can browse through the various Afrigeneas Forums that center on African-Native Americans, Caribbean and Canadian people of the Diaspora, for example. These forums recognize the need to document regional and cultural differences.

People of color in the US are indigenous to this country and nowhere else. We are Americans. Disbelievers have only to visit another country and meet people who may match our skin colors. Within a short space of time, we/they know that...Yes, we are racial cousins, but our heritage, viewpoint and cultural traditions are entirely different.

Today, African Americans whose ancestry dates back to the years or centuries before the Civil War, sometimes compete with Caribbean and African immigrants for economic and educational opportunities in the US.

In France, many people of color from its overseas Departments have lived as French citizens for generations. People from Africa, North Africa and the Middle East have a different experience as first or second-generation immigrants. But in either case can we completely liken them to African ancestored Americans? People will try anyway.

The most distressing symbol of our black culture (as seen on international news) is the universal embrace of our violence, ignorance and loose morals minted by American global corporate enablers. These immoral corporate enablers include not only the music and entertainment industries but skillful consumer branders from junk food, cars, beer, liquor to schoolbags.

I winced when European writers who reported on the recent riots in France tried to make the historical link between the civil rights movement and its riots in black America and the thugs who terrorized people (including their own) in the Paris banlieues (suburbs). Thugs decked out in American "urban" clothes set innocent woman afire, looted shops, destroyed cars, and their neighborhoods. TV cameras captured this young rabble imitating a "pimp roll" (tired and doing it badly) as they swaggered through their devastated neighborhoods. Their disenchantment may be real. But their actions were despicable.

I gasped when it was reported that some wrong thinking, soul searching French officials thought that rap and hip hop music would be a vehicle to reach these disenchanted youths. Duh…This was pre-imus.

America has exported the worst of its culture to France!

So Spivey, if people want to claim a racial designation or cultural heritage… Let them. But just don’t connect my American cultural history to the louts that overshadow it and demean it . I’m sure that the good immigrant people in France would agree.

For an historic perspective on Africans in the Americas and the meaning of culture and heritage, please click on the National Park Service’s presentation of African American Heritage and Ethnography.

K Wyer Lane

Messages In This Thread

Response to: Global Ethnicities
Re: Response to: Global Ethnicities

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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