Ghanaians Vs African Americans: What Is REALLY Going On?

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.

African American vs. African (Photo Credit: YouTube)
African American vs. African

 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 to understanding is learning. (Photo Credit: Center for Mentoring Excellence)
The key is to understanding is learning. 

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.

President of the United States, Barack Obama speaking at the Parliament of Ghana. (Photo Credit: World Meets)
President of the United States, Barack Obama speaking at the Parliament of Ghana. (Photo Credit: World Meets)

 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.

About Farida Dawkins
Greetings! Farida Dawkins hails from New York City and is a mother, blogger, writer, Master of Social Work candidate, Jollof lover, and Air Force Veteran. Farida enjoys reading and writing about Ghanaian and African American issues, Ghanaian entertainment, music, fashion, make-up, and beauty. In addition to writing on the only way is Ghana, check her out at

9 Comments on Ghanaians Vs African Americans: What Is REALLY Going On?

  1. One of the things I say is that we as African people have been traumatized! Africans have been colonized and African American have been enslaved. Africans continued to be colonized and African Americans continue to experience racism. Both of which continue to experience today! Both are continuing to experience the after affects! African American have been told many bad things about Africa, Africans and ourselves, Africans have been told many bad things about African Americans, some of which they see on television. I feel once Africans come to the US or even the UK they can better understand racism, as they began to experience it. Africa/Africans are portrayed to African Americans in a bad light when we hear the news, watch movies etc, AA want to distance themselves from this, this has been going on for centuries, I hear many Afro-Caribbean and African Americans say they are not from Africa! It is painful, African see some African Americans doing bad things and say they want to make it clear that they are Africans! I think the Europeans are enjoying our chaos or could care less. As long as we are not working together they continue to profit! My suggestion is for a unified curriculum on African/African Diaspora history to be taught where ever African people are. Caribbean, Africa, South America, United States, the same exact educational curriculum. We first need to understand what happen to us in order to understand what is going on presently. “Sankofa,” must first go back in order to go forward.

    • Adrienne,

      Thank you for reading. You brought up very valuable points and I’d like the dialogue to continue well beyond this post. Yes, Ghanaians and African Americans have both been traumatized. It is up to us all to break the wall that separates us.

    • It is the old divide and conquer approach. We continue to fall into that trap. Since we know what they have done to us and continue to do to us, it is time for us to stop listening to their propaganda. Why do we continue to let them be the “man in the middle”? If anybody is the enemy, they are the enemy.
      We have to break away from our their dependence on them.

  2. They Think Africans Are Primitive Nude Apes Dying of Aids and sleeps on trees.The USA has done an excellent job of brainwashing majority of African Americans to generally reject, deny and abhor their African heritage by filling their minds with negative images of who we are as Africans. They spew the same racist diatribe of many of their white counterparts, and make the extra effort to separate themselves from us as much as possible. I get it, who wants to be associated with negativity? But we are talking about a nation that uses up around 85% of the world’s resources. Majority of them have access to the internet. They could actually take the initiative to get informed instead of complacently swallowing what their media feeds them.i have had an experience with some last year back in the state their way of thinking of us is just bad.

    • Obed,
      Thank you for reading. There are definitely many negative assumptions about Ghanaians and African Americans. Hopefully, we can all become more aware and decide to seek knowledge to better ourselves.

    • Some parts of the last statement I will agree with!! “The USA has done an excellent job of brainwashing majority of African Americans to generally reject, deny and abhor their African heritage by filling their minds with negative images of who we are as Africans” To this I say to African Americans are! Again it was told to AA nothing about negative things about Africa and Africans. We are Africans! Actually we AA are in the process of learning about ourselves and Africa! It is a slow process! But many are trying to change this concept. More AA are traveling to Africa. Africa slavery and during slavery many tried to return to Africa, but were unable!! Again education! Most AA when meeting brothers and sisters from the continent have a changed perception! But unfortunately it has not happened enough! We have to do the work to make this happen! If we understand the past we can make a change for the future! Lets stop complaining and do something about it!

      • In addition, I have heard more negative things about Africa and Africans from Africans! Why are they leaving they say something negative. They something negative about the African people! I see Africans coming here working hard, going to school, but thinking and saying something negative about Africa! It used to be when Africans came they were going to home, but now they say something negative about that. When they die here they now want to be buried there, because something negative about being buried home! If I am someone who is trying to learn about Ghana or Africa, this may be may be my first encounter!

  3. I find that it is a big difference between AA and Africans.. African can be lazy, greedy, hard-up, money hungry, and downright cheeky.. They are rude and want everything for FREE!! They come to America only to stay amongst themselves and only socialized with white/other races of people because in their minds they are better.. When we start having this conversation we must label things appropriately.. Ghana, Nigeria all African nation come to america with the mindset that we AA waste our opportunity when in all honesty sometime we are not given opportunities and last time I check my ancestors who were slaves were forced into it.. I just want to know where all this hard working, educated, high and mighty Ghanaians/Africans was when they ancestors were taken..

    • Hello Tina,
      Thanks for reading. It sounds like you’ve been in contact with some Africans that are not of impeccable character. Please don’t let your encounter with these type of people color your perception. People of all races, colors, and walks of life can be like some of the attributes you listed. Peace to you.

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