Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Though I'm African and I'm American, I'm not African American
Here's Mukoma Wa Ngugi's clear-eyed op-ed on Africans in America that appeared in The Guardian 2 weeks ago. It's sort of a primer to one of the issues my new memoir will cover - Africans in America used as a buffer between African Americans and Anglo Americans. (You may remember that I introduce myself in the PBS film, My Journey Home, with the provocative statement, "Though I'm African and I'm American, I'm not African American.")
I love his term, "African foreigner privilege." I remember a Nigerian boyfriend, who generally was pretty boorish, telling me in a rare moment of insight that, "If you let them, white Americans will keep telling you that you're special. And if you're a naive African, you'll keep believing them."