I have been to Africa four times, less than three months, but it’s more than enough time to come to the conclusion that Africans are dissimilar racially, ethnically, and religiously, and Blacks in the United States are not culturally African. Not surprisingly, real Africans do not use first names fraught with rhyming, alliterative syllables and plentiful apostrophes, as do American Blacks. Muslim Africans use traditional Islamic first names such as Muhammed, Qasim, and Fatima. Christians opt for names like John, Joseph, and Mary. The truly African names often begin with unusual letter combinations like “Mb,” “Nk,” or “Nd.”
From Morocco to South Africa and Egypt to Tanzania, Africans are a diverse lot. The Muslim north historically has treated their black neighbors to the south poorly. Tribal loyalties often take precedence over national boundaries established by the Europeans. The similarity of sub Saharan tribes penetrates no deeper than skin level. The term African American is imprecise at best and stereotypical. A Coptic Christian from Cairo, a Muslim from Mogadishu, an Afrikaner from the Transvaal, and a Bantu from Kinshasa living in the United States all could be tagged with the appellation “African American.”
In Tanzania elderly males are respected and provide stability within their communities. Mr. Asindamu offered this example: If two young Tanzanian males get in a fight and are ordered to stop by an elder, they are compelled to do so. To defy an elder in these circumstances is a grave mistake that would have lasting repercussions on the young men’s standing in the community. Order is maintained and violence avoided. This African custom is consigned as a bygone memory in American inner cities.
For all the fanfare and talk of African roots, Black inner city culture is not African. It is a dependent, matriarchal, urban lifestyle, which has morphed from its African roots. It is an unsustainable life style without the infusion of enormous resources over long periods of time from government and charitable agencies. The stabilizing influence of elders, the functioning family unit, and the traditions of hospitality were abandoned decades ago and thousands of miles away.
Political correctness emphasizes differences, keeping old wounds open and providing careers for those who make their living in the dirty business of racial politics. The Left and the talking heads of the media bear as much to blame as Black leaders whose influence wanes when Blacks think independently. My friends and colleagues whose ancestors came from Africa have little more in common with the continent that I do. We have similar goals, among them raising children, working hard, maintaining a solid professional reputation, and getting through life with as few bumps as possible. We tend to perceive ourselves as individuals rather than by racial identity.
Oddly, tribal behavior at the ballot box is one of the few African traditions which has survived in America. By blindly supporting their chieftains and the Democratic Party at voting percentages well in excess of 90%, even Comrade Stalin would be proud. American Blacks would do well discard this self destructive behavior and adapt the uniquely American custom of placing individual interests above those of their self serving leaders.