Quote for the day…

“A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” – Moslih Eddin Saadi


6 thoughts on “Quote for the day…

  1. I love this Blog! I will travel to Africa at the end of the year. Admittedly, I have had my own prejudice against a whole country for how I’ve had to defend my being African-American to pure Africans here in the U.S. As a result, it made me divert back to calling myself “Black” as opposed to African-American because I no longer wanted to pay homage to a country whose citizens did not like its descendants in America. Luckily, my view has softened and will hopefully change when I take my journey through this country that you’ve learned to embrace and love. I will keep you posted on my African travels and share with you my experience. Please keep this Blog going. It is necessary and needed. Thank You Tracey!

    • And this is EXACTLY what I want to explore in this blog. There are so many misunderstandings, preconceived ideas, and wounds among people of African descent. For instance, what is a “pure” African? This continent is as vaste and diverse as any other continent, so the notion of identity really is complex – even if that’s not a dialogue or discussion that is being had among Africans or their descendants. I recall arguing with a Senegalese woman who told me that African-Americans should not call themselves “africans” because most have never been to Africa and most of them knew nothing about the culture. I explained to her that whether someone has visited the continent or not is immaterial. The way African-Americans, particularly those in the South, worship, cook, and talk are linked directly to African ancestry. Despite the horrors of slavery, the evils of racism, and even self-hatred, our AFRICAN culture lives on.

      I wish I could tell you without a doubt that you’ll come to the continent and find people ready to embrace you as a long lost daughter. But then, too, we would have to ask whether African-Americans are quick to embrace our African brothers and sisters when they come to the US. For me, it is crucial to deconstruct these barriers so that our people, those in the West and those on the continent, can heal.

      I look forward to more discussions.

  2. Love this Tracey! I can relate on so many levels now having lived abroad for the past 2 years. You are an inspiration and I hope to visit West Africa soon!

    • I can’t wait for you to come and visit! I am actually hoping and praying that my family and I will get an opportunity to live in southern or east Africa. That was be a completely different experience with lots of other issues to navigate.

  3. Pure African to me means those who were born in Africa regardless if they are of mixed race or not. The sad thing is that I fully embraced and had many African friends with whom I was still friends with until I started having those experiences. It started in a Cultural Psychology class where an African student and I sat next to each other every in what I have come to call reserved seats as the other White students sat flanked around us. Everyday, the African and I would go to war as he attempted to tear down Blacks. He said that we did not have any culture; we weren’t even African; we did not have our own food to which the White students yelled that Black people had soul food; our women were easy, we were not intelligent albeit we were taking the same class and my grade was better; and finally he said that our men just stand on the corner and drink 40 ounces. Another example, is that I would always take up from my African friends when my Black friends would get into it with them. And, would dare tell my Black friend that she was being a racist against Africans. My Black friend looked me in the face and said they only like you because you are smart and intelligent. If you were not then they would treat you the same way they treat other Blacks. Of course I was like they are nice and you just don’t like them until I witness first hand the same person that I defended treating another Black person like trash. My heart broke, It was at that time that I decided that I would identify as being Black and would never call myself African American again. So, we will see. One thing I know for sure is that I will not spend my time traveling in Africa trying to argue the point and prove myself to them. I am told that I should be fully embraced in South Africa because they have a different mindset about us than the rest. We shall see.

    • What about Lebanese in West Africa? Or Indians in East Africa? Whites in South Africa? Are they “pure” Africans just because they were born on the African continent even though culturally, they are Lebanese, Indian, and of European descent? I hear your story about the African student/brother who dissed you and the African-American community. It happens more often than I care to think about, but I think the larger question is why couldn’t he see himself as a part of the African Diaspora? Why didn’t he see the kinship he shares with the brothers who are drinking 40s or the sisters whose skirts may be too short? In the States, he probably identified as African. And if pressed, he would identify his nationality. But when he’s home, he more than likely identifies himself by his ethnic group, thereby distancing himself from the larger African community. Even when he’s home, he is probably going to point out his differences from others. I think there is a reason why we buy into the “myths” and “stereotypes” about one another. There is a reason why the last thing most African-American or Black children want to be identified as is “African.” We have to start dealing with the shame we carry. Sounds like this guy was ashamed to be associated with what he perceived “black” or “african” to be in the States. And likewise, African-Americans often either idealize or demonize what it means to be “african.”

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