Very little thought is given in what it really means to be African American! First let's define what is an African American. Like many immigrants who come from different countries and cultures the term AA is a statement about where our descent is from but speaks of our claiming America as our home. But unalike those immigrants the AA is a natural descentant of America with over four hundreds some years of history on the Northern American continent. AA are a mixed race of Africans who trace their ancestoral roots to Africa and share a cultrual and affinity connection with Mother Africa. AA are mixed with Africa, European and Native American and counterwise all original colonists whites and Native Americans are mixed with African as well. Any dispute of this is ludacris for four hundred years is alot of time to have remain seperately pure for any of the three races. AA's have absorbed European ways and values as well as Native American's. One thing is clear is that we are unique and are not the same as the Africans whom we left behind or are immigrants here today. Which brings me to my the point of a recent disscusion on Black People entitled "Tensions between African Americans and African Emmigrants". It is not possible to understand such a complex issue as this without digging into historical context. My first trace begans with Booker T Washington's book "Up From Slavery". In it he makes references to the highlights of his time after slavery where he states that Jim Crow prohibited the ex-slaves of that day from enjoying the same freedom as whites. Such as being able to stay at hotels, sit at salons and resturants which were only for whites. If a black was caught in such enviroments he would be in a lot of trouble and trouble at the time meant beat with a horse whip or lynched on the spot! But then he said that if the black could prove he was of African origin and not descentant of slaves then he could go about his business! Also he said that some Native Americans also viewed the Negro as being of less statue because the Indian would never accept slavery! Here you have disdain of AA's dating back into the late 18th century and this historical context is relvelant to today's tensions between AA's and black immgrants. Remember the Amistad movie and book where African slaves revolted and where sent to trial and were aquitted because they proved that they came from area where Treaties had rendered taking slaves where illegal. They were therefore free to go and since free men had a right to revolt and kill their capturers. Historically those same Africans didn't return to their home but instead became slave capturers themselves. It is a common reality that all Africans don't share the same plight and some don't feel any empathy for others in dire situations. Self sacrifice is a rare quality among any race or species of animals not just Africans. Normally people do and think for themselves. Which brings me to my most crucial point of all and can be taken as condemnation but in light of the latter it is not. When African immigrants from the West Indies, Africa and South America come here they come just like all other immigrants seeking success in America. They fall into communties of their own and they look out for each other. They have no connection to this land or it's social issues and could care less. Their main concern is pushing ahead and/or worrying about back home. Like anybody put in a situation where they have nothing to fall back upon their main focus is just that. This seems odd to most AA's and seems like African immigrants are selling out. We consider them to be our brothers and sisters and wish that they join us in our fight for freedom but they usaully don't. There are exceptions like Kwame Toure, Louis Farrakhan and Marcus Garvey among others but they are few and far in between. Your average African immigrant is concerned about getting the American dollar so he can be successful is it not true? To them money is freedom and success is everything since they are not connected to the land or its people! This is a daunting reality but it is nevertheless the absolute soul stirring truth. African immigrants say that AA are lazy is this true? They say that AA are aggressive is this true? Yes and no. In this case sterotype has been twisted with perception and the truth hidden behind careless eyes. If we go back to the historical context we will see what the truth is. AA's have never recieved respect from this white society because of the stigma of slavery and looked down upon by Native Americans and African immigrants. Hiring pratices were and are still that we were hired last and fired first even African immigrants were a preference over us. The negative compaigning of the Ku Klux Klan during the late 18th and early 19th century had done it's work. Movies like the "Birth of a Nation" painted a picture of the negro as being inferior, incapable of positive enthusiaism, lazy, criminal and lusting after white women. The pictures showing Africa as a land of savages was done to make the American Negro believe he came from nothing contrary to this being a reason for AA's to look down upon Africans but themselves. Further still American sambo and minstrel movies showed AA's as docile and subservient incapable of indepedent role thinking. This was all done over decades and showed around the world so like immigrants come here with a clear picture this was the land of opportuntity they were told to stay away from the negro for he was crazy, lazy and inhuman. But I'm sure most of you have heard or read this same information before so what makes it new? Go around the world and to visit the home of these African Immigrants who whites are saying work harder than us and are more civil than us. You will find in the West Indies blacks who don't have jobs sitting around, you will find criminals amongst the poorest communities. In Africa you will see the same things in the cities with tall skycrapers just like ours with folks sitting around who are unemployed and poor. But you will find it not on a racial oppression tip but ethnical and tribial trip. Are Africans and West Indies aggresive? Well they are just like AA's they are upset about the conditions of their homeland and some take to fighting in the streets and guerilla warfare against their governments. There are gangs and corruption in the police and the state leadership. So we see we are the same it's just that America is our home and you have a close up view of us but we don't have the same of you. We are fighting to live free in our homeland and you are fighting to getting ahead. We are not the same! Our turn your view now to two stories that highlight our differences. Controversial but nevertheless significant enough to raise more than just eyebrows hopefully cause speculation and questioning. I explore the story of Malcolm X who was AA and father was killed by the Klan for fighting for freedom. Malcolm X lead a life of crime before being saved by the Nation of Islam. He almost singlehandly built the NOI from a small social club of old blacks to almost 10 millions members in the sixties. He and Louis Farrakhan were close friends with Louis being decendant of Jamaica. Malcolm taught Louis Farrakhan everything he knew about his revoltunary speaking style which is inherited from his father Mr.Little. Malcolm's only two sins were that he out shined his teacher Elijah Muhammad and he trusted a man he should have never trusted Louis Farrakahn. Louis used the power he had built on the East Coast with black muslim extremists and called for the assasination of Malcolm his friend. Malcolm and Louis differed this is true but how? Malcolm was AA and had more of a connection with his people and saw what Elijah Muhammad was doing teaching people that he was a messenger of a whiteman as wrong and not true Islam and sleeping with and spoiling black women. Sister Clara Muhammad Elijah's wife died of a heartbreak and if any brother wonders why black women are afraid of good men should never forget this historical event. Louis Farrakhan took his chance when Malcolm was in trouble and he let him have it. He has since apologized but let history show that Malcolm was a brother betrayed by his friend a West Indie immigrant who wanted only to succeed. Next we have the story of yet another rebel Tupac Shakur. Tupac's mother was an very high memeber in the Panthers. She was on the forefront but like most of the Panthers they were targeted by infiltration into their ranks. The Panthers lacked moral grounding and purpatrators working for Conterintel program easily lead them into drug use and explicit sex styles. Tupac rose to stardom easily because of he inherited his mother's gift for articulation and charm. Coupled with the fact he went to art school where he learned the best techniques for writing and acting and inserted drama and poetry into his raps. He ruled the East and West coast but resided in Oakland. Biggie aka Christopher Wallace was of Jamaican Descendent knew Tupac and the two collabed. Tupac helped Biggie with his song writing and content and showed him how to inserted dramatic voice into his rap delivery. Biggie used to rap mostly battle rap like most Jamaicans he was good at toasting or telling insulting jokes against other emcees. Tupac let Biggie open at his shows and gave him a foundation and following before Puffy heard him on a demo tape and signed him. Tupac being in the industry longer knew Puffy ripped off artists and warned Biggie not to sign with him. Tupac visited a Manhattan studio where he was set up and shot. And while he layed upon the floor bleeding to death his friend Biggie along wth Puffy and Andre Arial stood there and giggled and walked away. Later while in prison on rape charges Tupac heard a tape by Biggie bragging subliminally called "Who Shot Ya" and LL Cool J recorded on the opposite of the CD taunted "I Shot Ya". Later Tupac was forced to change his whole ablum content due to Biggie his friend had stolen his ideas whom Tupac only shared with him. Tupac was the greatest rap artist in the history of the United States and has sold over 27.6 million records to date more than any other rap artists and he recorded such revolutionary songs as "The Whiteman's World". Tupac has been belittled as a thug but Tupac only said Thug life to depict how whites viewed AA's not to promote drug dealing and smuggling. Biggie who put success more than friendship and black alliance has prospered but it is my belief that their deaths were a misunderstanding and cultural differences. AA's and African Immigrants have a long way to go with understanding each other. But we must not try to proceed without studying history so the same mistakes are not repeated. When people are different respecte is demanded and should be the highest priority before we can began to diaoloque. Yet being AA we are not going to get fully accepted by those who motives are predicated toward only prospering in Babylon and turning their backs upon the dream of Hallie Saliesse of One United Africa world where we all exist as equals.