The other day my 5 year old niece asked about why:
She is black and the Children at her school are not?
She has afro hair whilst children at her school have straight hair?
There are no black people on the cartoons she watches?
In-fact, she hates when you call her black, she considers us as brown. The African children that are born in Western culture grow up questioning these things and grow up already doubting themselves or even hating themselves.
|Child face in black and white by Sudipta Mallick|
January 5 2011
CC BY 2.0
I can see my niece facing different and more difficult challenges than what I faced. I lived in Zimbabwe since I was 10 or so years old and so I knew the culture, I knew the language and I knew what was the right way to speak to my parents. Yet my niece faces the difficulty of having Zimbabwean born and raised parents and has to learn the culture, the language and the right ways of behaving in an African household.
This is also a massive challenge for African parents raising Western children because they have to teach their children more than what they would learn at school or with their friends. They have to teach their children about their roots and they have to teach their children self-acceptance and self-love because African children are already at a disadvantage in Western culture.
This story about Growing up African and African American is one that many Western born Africans might be able to relate to. It is a difficult balance that takes years and years to find and even Africans who migrated to Western culture are still struggling to find.
Any comments? Stories? Questions? Please share :)