Ever since I wrote about Amy ‘Tiger Mom’ Chua’s new book The Triple Package, I’ve been feeling some type of way about the comments. While I expected readers to either agree or disagree with Chua’s premise that some cultures are just better and more successful than others, I didn’t anticipate the conversation would descend into a painful debate about Africans vs. African-Americans.

I am unabashedly pro-Black, and my pro-Blackness extends to the entire Diaspora. So when I see my people—from both sides of the Atlantic—hurling stereotypes, slurs, and jabs at each other like we ain’t even skinfolk, it makes me sad. And depressed. And downright disheartened.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to discuss the comments, our history as Black folks, and our shared pain (and triumph), but I just could not seem to find the words (nor did I want to read through pages of more divisive comments). Thankfully, friend and fellow writer Luvvie Ajayi did it for me.

After someone asked her to explain what the slur “akata” meant, Ajayi, who was born in Nigeria and immigrated to the U.S. when she was nine, schooled us all on the complicated relationship between Africans* and African-Americans—one tweet at a time.

Read Ajayi’s brilliant response below (and check out her blog):

Photo via Hayley Catt

*Note: We realize that Africa is not one country with a solitary culture or experience. However, the term ‘Africans’ is used in general to describe all people from the continent.

  • Jones Sam

    Why are you trying to reach out to those who don’t want to have anything to do with you? We (Black Americans), as a group, are always seeking acceptance from others. . . practice self-love. Some Black Americans keep pining over Africa. . . move there and see how things go! When our ancestors were trading some of our other ancestors for European goods, they could have cared less about what happened to those captives. Why do you think contemporary Africans would be different? Turn away from those who turn away from you, and embrace those who embrace you. Different tribal groups in African countries can barely get along. . . how are we supposed to bond with them? Yes, we are of African descent, but we are something totally different. . . we have to help ourselves. . . when we master this concept. . . we will be victorious in the game of life. Let other groups think and say whatever they will. We do not owe apologies to anyone. Stop trying to defend our shortcomings. . . let’s get down to the business of community and nation-building, and to hell with all of the other groups, (e.g., Africans, Europeans, Latinos, Asians, etc.). Everyone loves looking down their respective noses at us. . . so be it!

More in Africa, African Americans