When picking the first topic for the AFRIMERICAN Vibes blog, I wanted to capture what I believe to be the root of our organizations purpose, to bring African descendants from Africa and the diaspora together. I chose the topic 'TRIBAL DIASPORA' based on a question I've heard many times before but something about the last time I heard it made me react more intensely and precisely than I ever had before.
The question was simply, "Would Africans accept us (African Americans) in their culture, homeland or even here in the diaspora?". The answer I always say requires context to be properly explained.
On the African American side, there is a longing for acceptance by their African brothers and sisters. They possess a romantic idea of being missed and thus should be welcomed back home. Not realizing they are simply another African TRIBE to Africans. Unfortunately nothing special. The diaspora is full of tribes of African descent who have been shaped by their specific circumstances, geography and slave masters. There are Brazilians, Jamaicans, Haitians as well as African Americans and many more all with varying amounts of residual African culture being practiced today. I would argue that the more residual African culture the better but that is a discussion for another day. The bottom line is simply the African American tribe in particular has extremely little experience with TRIBALISM which is a very prominent feature in African culture so when confronted with this TRIBALISM they are offended and feel put down.
On the African side the major issue is not respecting the African American cultural values because inherently its seems very unnatural and un-African to them. More understanding of the lack of TRIBAL competition the African Americans face is needed. The uncountable sacrifices the African Americans have given for all our sake here in the diaspora should be revered. There needs to be recognition and respect given for all the African American accomplishments that have allowed all of us Africans living in the diaspora to be able to enjoy living in the greatest country on the planet. There needs to be more accepting nature amongst Africans towards their African American brothers and sisters...their ancestors in the American contexts are every minority groups ancestors. They died and overcame so much for our freedoms today.
So the answer is to our question is NO. Africans will never accept African Americans in their culture but they will respect them if they possess core African cultural values. The truth is Africans do not accept each other because they are TRIBAL. There are so many cases of rival tribes who have lived as neighbors for centuries yet they claim to be different people despite their close proximity , physical and even cultural similarities. Examples include the Ishekiri and Urogbo , the EFIK and Ibibio both in Nigeria. In many cases these tribes are separated by just a river or a forest and have been competing for the same resources for centuries. They still do not promote intermarrying or mingling but in modern times these issues are less prevalent in contemporary African culture.
Instead TRIBALISM should be viewed as always playing offense but like all team sports while you are respecting the other teams efforts you are loyal to your team first. So instead of looking for acceptance from one another, Africans in TRIBAL competition with one another are constantly trying to outshine the other. My culture is better than yours and in the end give respect to our opposing TRIBE by recognizing the pride they display. This can be seen in spectacular and flamboyant wedding ceremonies, cultural fashion, food and traditions.
In all the competition the core values are what keep Africans together, respecting your elders, strict raising of children, striving for excellence, wealth and higher learning but most importantly representing the legacy of your family well.
If you live strong contemporary cultural values, the truth is EVERY HUMAN not just AFRICANS will accept you!!!