It’s no secret that Ghanaians and African Americans have a divide. Although Ghanaians and African Americans share the same race, there are very clear and unique cultural differences. This uniqueness between both groups has birthed many misconceptions and hurt feelings. The reasons vary from Ghanaians feeling that African Americans are lazy, violent, play the race card yet are not willing to use the resources provided to them, and lack culture, manners, or respect. Some African Americans feel that Africans are primitive, unclean, uneducated, and hold a superiority complex. Generalizations aside, we all need to take a look at our prejudices toward one another, find the root of these strong-held beliefs and then fix these challenges.
Akata Versus African Booty Scratcher
I remember being a young lady in elementary school and being uber afraid of my classmates finding out about my African roots; so I hid it. I heard other children of African particularly Ghanaian ancestry being called African booty scratcher and that was NOT going to be me. I also recall hearing family members and other adults calling African Americans dakey or akata and from the tone that they used I knew that these weren’t terms of endearment. I wondered why we couldn’t just appreciate the fact that we were wonderfully different and just stick together like the Dominicans and Puerto Ricans did? As a Ghanaian-American I could and still relate to some of the sentiments of Africans and African Americans. It was a conflicting feeling; as I’m sure it is for many Ghanaian Americans.
The Key Is Learning
We all need to realize that our personal experiences will vary depending on the environment we were reared in, our upbringing, and social status. Our ideologies, temperaments, and moods are all factors in our relationships with one another. First, we need to learn about each other’s cultures; the key to understanding is to take the time to acquire the knowledge about which we do not know. Secondly, respect for one another is in order; whether you agree about why a person behaves the way they do is irrelevant. We have to give each other the space to be vulnerable about our history in Africa and America and be empathetic even if we do not agree with the other. Thirdly, effective dialogue helps; we can formulate organizations that welcome Ghanaian, Ghanaian-American, African American, and other African nationalities to the group so that cohesiveness can begin. All in all, we all have pain but that should not divide us no matter how deep that trauma runs.
There is Always Hope
Some African Americans are opting to visit and even reside in Ghana. What a great start to bridging the gap! African Americans in Ghana (GH) are gaining an education, establishing businesses, and joining the workforce in GH. We can’t give up on one another, we’re all we got.
What are your thoughts on Ghanaian and African American relations? Any suggestions on how to improve Ghanaian and African American relations? Do you have any experience with this topic? Hope to read your thoughts in the comment section.