March 2014: True Africans
How do you know you are African? Was it your birth certificate, your last name, your deliciously dark skin, or the lilt of you accent? If others had told you that you are African, would you agree, or disagree, and based on what? How about other Africans, from one of the many countries, tribes, and localities, can you tell that they are African?
Admission into this group, the group of Africans, is sometimes assumed based on dark skin, certain features, cultural values, cuisine, language, and a history of colonial domination. However, do those things really make someone African? Assuming that such a person is African, by whatever characteristics we use, can you lose your membership card? Can the African community excommunicate you? Can someone become un-African?
So much discussion surrounds “Africa” and those called “Africans” but who decides who counts and who doesn’t, and why? How much of our history controls that membership and how much of our changing present, our potential future has anything to do with who is considered African?
We must be careful as we move forward through this Renaissance that we think about whom we exclude, and whom we include. What do we demand of Africans, and what does inclusion in the identification of “African” require of us?
Our goal is to build a community of Africans who have the confidence to speak their voice and the awareness to engage in productive conversation with one another about the shared and unique lives we live as Africans and members of the African diaspora. We imagine an Africa, where we’re all involved. As always, we value your participation. What creative expression would you like to share? We’d like to know. Share your thoughts, experiences and reflections on what defines an African with the Rise Africa community. If you or someone you know would be interested in participating in this series, we encourage you to contribute. Just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Click to access all articles under our March 2014 theme.