Pan Africanism : Thinking about being black.

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by dustyelbow, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. dustyelbow

    dustyelbow Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Black women fight stereotypes
    African immigrants struggle to retain identity, U of A prof says

    Chris Zdeb
    The Edmonton Journal

    Sunday, May 14, 2006

    CREDIT: Shaughn Butts, the Journal
    A recent survey completed by University of Alberta professor Phil Okeke-Ihejirika found discrimination to be an issue for most African women living in Alberta.

    EDMONTON - Phil Okeke-Ihejirika knew she was an African, a Nigerian, an Ebo woman and tribal royalty, a university professor, wife and mother. But she didn't think about being black until she immigrated to Canada.

    She came face to face with the importance of her skin colour after a couple of bus rides in Halifax when people got up and changed seats after she sat beside them.

    "I thought, 'You should actually be happy to sit next to me. I'm a member of royalty,' " she said, chuckling as she recalled the memory Saturday for a roomful of community immigration services leaders meeting at the University of Alberta.

    Okeke-Ihejirika, an associate professor of women's studies at the U of A, said her identity had always come from her ethnic group. Suddenly, it came from her skin colour. It's one of the challenges of being a black African woman in Canada, she said.

    Fortunately, she still carries the cultural identity she was born with, which balances the way she is seen here. But her children, who were born here, do not have that.

    "A black child, born here, is a minority from Day 1," she explained. "So it's not simply a matter of sending first-generation children to school and making sure they get a good education. They also need to know who they are after their parents are gone."

    It's another challenge Okeke-Ihejirika identified in a four-year study in which she surveyed 876 African women between the ages of 15 and 78, living in Alberta, about their identity.

    According to the last Canadian census, there were 22,955 African people living in Alberta in 2001, compared to 185,760 European immigrants and 163,075 Asian immigrants. Because there are so few African immigrants and not many whites work with them, the overwhelming perception of women from the Dark Continent is a stereotype.

    "They have the idea that African women in veils who are Muslim and black have little or no education," says Okeke-Ihejirika. But the majority are high school or university graduates, although most work in low-status jobs that pay less than $20,000 a year.

    The women surveyed said they felt discriminated against, which they described as "being seen as less ... or as other." The majority felt being black was the reason they were turned down for employment when looking for a job. They also identified discrimination because of accent, being African, being a woman or being a Muslim.

    During a question period that followed Okeke-Ihejirika's presentation, Chinwe Okelu, who emigrated from Nigeria in the 1970s, said when he found that people here wouldn't accept the cultural identity he arrived with, he decided to try and fit in by focusing on what he had in common with Canadians, rather than on how he was different.

    Okeke-Ihejirika agrees African immigrants should identify themselves as Canadian as well as African, but "being black seems to be an eternal thing. Black people who were born here and whose families have been here for more than a century still find it hard to move on," she says. "We need to realize that being black means you're really at the bottom of the racial hierarchy, but we must not let that keep us down.

    Okeke-Ihejirika says African women must connect with one another to form a larger, more visible group to tackle the identity issue. They must also network with and learn from other groups, such as Caribbean women, who originally came here as caregivers and have worked themselves up the job ladder.

    "To move on, to successfully lobby employers to give us a chance to get this wonderful Canadian experience, we have to work as a group," she said.

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  2. militant

    militant Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Until African countries can industrialize their cultures, there will be no respect for the black man anywhere. Political demonstrations and civil rights battles will remain battles.
     
  3. Bisabee

    Bisabee Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    So this full-blooded Black African sister didn't even much identify with being Black until she moved to Canada. Hmm--This is why I would rather ally myself with ONLY those people of any complexion from any nation who oppose racism and/or "KNOW" they're under attack rather than with people who just have a similar complexion or who some consider "Black." As this article demonstrates, this full-blooded African sister would not have my back because her consciousness was/is not on that level whereas a biracial person who lives in the west would/might more likely have my back because they "KNOW" they're under attack from the racists due to their non-white blood.
     
  4. militant

    militant Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Hi, I am "full blooded African". And sometimes, I am the one being dissapointed with people not having my back in the workplace.
     
  5. Bisabee

    Bisabee Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Yes, I can absolutely tell you that many AAs would NOT have your back (just like the full-blooded African sister) because they don't know they're under attack, don't understand that you are under attack, and thus see no reason to have your back or connect with others who know they're under attack, or try to protect others who know they are under attack and others who oppose racism.

    This is why I don't see the value at this crucial time of allying with ALL so-called "Black" people. Unfortunately, many so-called "Black" people are totally unaware that anything is going on--not to say we shouldn't keep trying to enlighten them.

    I think those of ANY complexion/nationality who KNOW they are under attack and those who demonstrate that they oppose racism for whatever reason are the allies of value.
     
  6. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    here we go again....more "continental divide"

    ever spend time on websites such as blacknet where AFRICANS commonly refer to african-americans as "westerners"...???

    why should someone have YOUR back when they dont percieve you as having theirs?

    what do you have in common rather than skin color (and even that varies among afrikans)???

    oh...and by the way....I still dont see PAN AFRICANISTS organizing Black youth in this country except for during african liberation day or some other cultural festival or fundraiser...( and i used to belong to a "revoltutionary" pan africanist organization that is STILL "organizing" on COLLEGE CAMPUSES!)..
     
  7. militant

    militant Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I think you misread my comment. "Full-Blooded African" was Bisabee's words.

    Forgive my internet ignorace. Which website is blacknet? Do you have a link?

    I was replying to a comment by Bisabee who basically implied she will rather from alliance with a mullatto than with an African. That hurts!!

    The continental divide is a serious issue that seems to be getting worse by the day. It has become a vicious circle. The more either of us feel betrayed, the more withdrawn we become and severe contacts with each other. At the end of the day, we have to take a break and learn we are the ones losing from this petty squabble.

    There is alot of mutual shame between ourselves because of 400 years of oppression on either side of the atlantic. We need to look beyond the shame and pull each other up.
     
  8. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I agree with everything stated but my own experience with how you have even come at me at times is part of the problem...

    Some of us, whenever we encounter or interact with each other continue to perpetuate the same vicious cycle.

    No rather than personalize this any further let me just say that the "native" "mainland" AFRIKAN need to TAKE THE INITIATIVE...

    As Brother Malcolm taught "All Revolutions are based on Land"

    We have NO specific LAND BASE to organize and mobilize towards unification.

    Pan Africanist organizations have FAILED to include US in any kind of mass movement....and it's not for a lack of effort on the part of DuBois, Padmore, Malcom, Sylvestor Williams, CLR James, Garvey, et al...

    If sister Bisabee decides to organize against capitalism and finds a "mulatto" ally who will stand WITH her while a "pure Black" african is standing on the side opposite her fight against capitalism...what do you expect????

    to unite with modern day buffalo soldiers under the banner of "Minutemen" agains working class Mexians and Peasants from El Salvador???

    I agree we need to "pull each other up" but on what basis and what is our COMMON AGENDA?

    What AFRICAN organizations are pulling themselves up and including US, african-amerikans, in the process???...EN MASSE....

    perhaps I missed something....
     
  9. militant

    militant Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I have a terrible temper. I flip over minor things and end up regretting it. I still desire unity.

    I am very well aware of that and its sad. Black people regardless of where they are from are generally the most confused. We are the only race who are not interested in learning the Economics of racial competition. Hence we insist on forming alliances with Latinos e.t.c.

    100% agree. Those are my sentiments. Sadly, Many Mainland black people are interested in migrating to the western world, like the woman "of royalty" in the article.

    Again I agree. I am tackling this issue one step at a time by seeing what I can do for West Africa.

    I am very very interested in forging alliances with African Americans (not the US) in efforts to help industrialize an African nation. Unfortunately I have not even found interested Africans from Africa. That is very sad indeed.

    You have stated an instance which is permissible, but she generalized. That is the crux of my pointing out that I am actualy what she describes as a "full blooded african" who has a knowledge of global racial dynamics.

    Good question. That is where we Africans and African Americans have failed. The last Pan-Africanist meetings for global black peoples was ages ago. But I will assume that we will eventually settle for an Agenda of Economic Independence of the participants, not just the fraudulent "political independence" we are deluded with. Such an Economic independence will involve recreating or industrializing a free black nation.

    None. I believe we are still busy beating the dead dog of 'political liberation and integration". We need to create an organization which has an economic focus. We are neo-colonized into consumerism and economic exploitation, whether we are on the continent or in America. This leads to a cycle where we continually demand political leeway from an unwilling White power structure. We need to break the cycle of economic dependence first. It should be our priority. Untill blacks have a fully industrialized nation, we will not be respected anywhere in the world. Not that I care about respect from other races, but for those who care.
     
  10. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    hold up.....I agree 99.9% but that .1% can pose some major problems...when you state, "hence we insist on forming alliances with Latinos e.t.c"

    See, it like shaking hands in agreement but you punch in the face or throw a jab below the belt while extending your hand..

    thing very carefully about my position in los angeles, with a declining Black population...someone who led a divestment movement and formed a "Third World Coalition" in the 80s among college students who NOW, PRESENTLY are the LEADERS of my local body politic. After working 20-25 years ago with these Latino, Filipino, Native Amrican and white socialists in a variety of causes ranging from apartheid, us intervention, affirmative action and set up student support groups and community programs with these "allies"
    you are telling me I dont need them or criticizing me for aligning myself with them even though I can (and have) point to a number of programs/organizations which have helped to not only EMPOWER a declining Black population, but "Third World" "people of color" in particular??

    Are you aware that must of the African anti-colonial movement was sparked though COALITION BUILDING as evidenced by the non-aligned movement and the Bandung Conference?

    Rather that align myself with "Latinos" many of which are even darker skinned than I am what do you propose? Joining "Black" minutemen in uniting with white racists against "latinos"???

    come on now...
     
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