Stuff African People Like: Discussing the Burden of Being African

Many Africans loves discussing all the way they are being victimized by the world. Whether it’s expressing suspicions that they didn’t get that job, “because they are black,” or “lamenting at how ignorant Westerners are for not knowing the location of their constituency,”, this is one of the all-time-favorite African pastimes, almost up there with church crusades, money chasing and sleeping.

Don’t be surprised if when sitting with a group of Africans you hear about all the neccesary “points-of-correction” for other races. Among them:

a) Asian people discriminating Africans in barely audible English.

b) Indian people calling Africans monkey though they are as dark as we are and have much more hair.

c) Every Western race wanting to have our skin – tanning-and our hair-dreadlocks, corn rows- and our curvaceousness but making us feel ugly for being who we are.

d) EVERYONE not knowing the constituency from which they came even though it’s such a famous African constituency that even the Pope should know it.

The key here is to stay out of these group discussions and shake your head in empathy, sympathy and with absolute disgust (at the foreigners) at all the appropriate times.

Don’t worry, when the African gets round to complaining about their fellow Africans (another all-time favourite pastime) they will mention you as an example of what African people should be like.

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No Comments

  • By Mo Ma, May 20, 2008 @ 2:48 am

    Haha, I got disenchanted within a week of arriving after getting nightly 3hr near-monologues from my next door neighbour. Yes, discrimination exists but, no, you can’t blame every single thing that doesn’t go your way on your being African. I just soon learned to block out the perpetual ranters/victims and make the most of my situation; it’s made life so much easier.

  • By rags, May 20, 2008 @ 8:27 am

    really cool. You have inspired me to do a blog entry on something that pertains to Africans and African Americas. keep an eye for the post at ( http://gengewear.wordpress.com/ )

  • By Mwangi, May 20, 2008 @ 12:57 pm

    @Mo Ma: And when you stop being a victim and start looking at yourself as being in charge of your destiny in spite of the obstacles, that gives you so much control you otherwise wouldn’t have.
    The similarities in the immigrant experience across nations – Oz, States etc etc – just astound me…we really do repeat the same scripts over and over and over again.

  • By Mwangi, May 20, 2008 @ 12:58 pm

    @rags: Glad I got your mental juices flowing. Once your article is finished, come back and leave a comment with a link to the article or send it to me and if it’s relevant I’ll link to it in one of my future articles….otherwise y’all go check out rags blog

  • By Mwangi, May 20, 2008 @ 12:58 pm

    Oh, the article is already done. Check it out here:
    http://gengewear.wordpress.com/2008/05/20/africans-vs-african-americans/

  • By Mo Ma, May 20, 2008 @ 2:26 pm

    Word.

    Somebody’s been reading his Tony Robbins!

  • By Mwangi, May 20, 2008 @ 2:54 pm

    @Mo Ma: Let me come out of the closet…I am a T. Robbins fanatic, I have read all his books and movies :D

  • By Kelly, May 20, 2008 @ 4:24 pm

    I don’t know whether it’s an insecurity or what, but to some people, being African is the cause of all their problems. e.g If you don’t do your work well and your ‘white’ boss reprimands you, you blame it on the color before even evaluating whether the reprimand is genuine.

    It’s a hyper sensitivity of sorts.

  • By Mwangi, May 20, 2008 @ 4:30 pm

    @Kelly: And don’t forget the people who say that we are destined to be nothing because we are descended from the cursed son of Noah.
    At first glance my guess is for a lot of folk it’s just a way to deflect away from the possibility that you could be responsible for your failure in life, but then again, why chose to deflect it to something that is such a quintessential part of you like race….either way it’s quite sad.

  • By akiey, May 20, 2008 @ 4:58 pm

    I’ve seen such discussions among Africans and other immigrants and I often thought it was a form of ‘displacement’ where one feels victimized and ends up blaming the ‘oppressor’ for all things gone wrong.

    I’ve lived in multiethnic communities for too, too many years to realize that it’s basically a human weakness whenever someone feels like a fish out of familiar waters.

    The blame game only ends when we realize the solutions almost always come from within us.

    Btw, Mwangi, did you at some point have a post about us Africans discussing the continent’s underdevelopment/oppresion and blaming it mostly on the West? If so, I think that ties in kinda well with this post here.

  • By Mwangi, May 20, 2008 @ 6:34 pm

    @akiey: No, I have never had such an article, I have only touched on it in bits and pieces. I haven’t because I am terrible at doing research in terms of facts, figures and statistics though I definitely think it’s an important article worth writing and discussing i.e. how much is the West fault vs our fault.

    However, you brought up something that I think can sum things up pretty well: It really doesn’t matter where the problems came from or what the causes of the problems are, WE ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO CAN SOLVE THEM.

  • By gal africana, May 20, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

    hello fellow African…I’m only saying that because one of your posts was a lament in the very same spirit described in this post ;-) Why lie? Some things deserve a lament…but I think at the end of the day, Africans always seem damn happy to be African…regardless of how much we lament…I have yet to meet a people with a better hang on having a good life (unfortunately we also are very good at creating some bad lives…and THEN lamenting about thme lol). Ah well, uta do?

  • By Mwangi, May 20, 2008 @ 9:28 pm

    @gal: When I first met the guy in charge of my bible study group (yes, I have a bible study group…fun bunch) we had a conversation that went a little something like this:

    Him: Where are you from?
    Me: Kenya
    Him (eyes brighter): Really……

    And then he proceeded to describe Kenyans as “wild men” and “people who really knew how to have a party and have a good time.”

    Can you imagine with the subdued nature of a Kenyan what they would say about people from the South or the West? I guess we can really party and have a good time when the time calls for it.

  • By Caustic Blonde, May 24, 2008 @ 5:04 am

    One of my exes once told me that there are two types of people in this world, those who complain and those who do something about it.

  • By Mwangi, May 24, 2008 @ 5:06 am

    @Caustic: Long time no see :) . I couldn’t agree more (thumbs up)

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