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The Ongoing Rift Between African Immigrants and African Americans

The friction between Black Americans and African immigrants is now glaringly, and painfully, playing itself out on social media platforms such as Clubhouse. Could Pan-Africanism be the way forward?

Because Black people don't exist as a monolith, relationships with each other are mostly defined by common experiences. Arguably, no communities within the Black diaspora have exhibited animosity between themselves than Africans and African Americans. To understand the friction between these communities is to closely examine white supremacy as a culprit. White supremacy is a system, or power structure, established to prioritise the feelings, interests, care, attention, and prosperity of White people even at the expense of other racial groups.

Its role in colonisation, violent capture and forceful removal of native Africans from their homelands is well documented. In truth, a significant number of African Americans today would have remained in Africa were it not for the disruptive event of the transatlantic slave trade. And although this has since been abolished, it has left internalised racism as a by-product for Black people to grapple with. To stay in context, Black Americans and Africans.

Source Of Tensions

African immigrants in America not only have to navigate systemic racism, but also microaggressions within African American spaces. But the migration regime that has enabled Africans to arrive in America to seek education, economic opportunities and others was made possible by the Civil Rights movement.

''I don't think this represents how all Black Americans think but I think the reason for this tension between Africans is that some Black Americans feel African immigrants come to America to take away opportunities,'' says Chanel Johnson, a Black American residing in Baltimore, Maryland, ''We are talking about opportunities in colleges that award scholarships and other educational or welfare packages to Black immigrants to thrive. We are also talking about opportunities away from academia. I also think dealing with racism and discrimination as Black Americans is pushing some of us to see how we are neglected and impoverished by the system.''

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