Africa Shattered Graphic

African diaspora is a mix of beautiful cultures and people, but the stems of white supremacy have spread and created a dissonance among Black people in North America, South America and the United Kingdom.

As a result of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonialism, new cultures and norms were formed. Those sociological differences along with systemic racism are responsible for the diaspora wars. 

As African Americans, we seem to always get caught in the crossfire. Black culture’s rapid development and international prominence puts it in the spotlight of mass scrutiny. Media portrayal, lack of education and white supremacy push negative stereotypes that hinder cross-cultural relations. 

In comparison to other Black civilizations, African American culture is still young. Black Americans have suffered a mass identity crisis, but now that we’ve found our niche, it’s not respected by other cultures in the diaspora. This lack of respect and acknowledgement makes it look like it's Black Americans versus everyone else.

The ignorance surrounding Black culture is in part due to a lack of African American studies. African American history is taught in a way that victimizes and discredits the experiences of Black Americans. Yes, slavery and Jim Crow are taught, but the creation of culture is often ignored.

Policy makers, like Florida Gov. Ron Desantis banning African American studies, shows that the lack of education is intentional. On the flip side, African studies is merely a decoration in American public schools. The ignorance of each other’s history and culture keeps us divided and allows for hatred to progress.

Another tool of white supremacy is the media. Black people, regardless of culture and ethnicity, have been demonized by mass media. A wave of nasty stereotypes come flooding in when Black people aren’t positively featured in the media.

African Americans are seen as self-destructive criminals, Caribbeans are deemed poverty stricken and helpless, while Africans are treated like they’re less than human. The consequences of these stereotypes become clear when immigration and cultural assimilation occurs.

There’s an extreme culture shock that occurs when people in the diaspora migrate to the U.S. The stereotypes that were once a click away are now within close proximity, and the only thing separating them is the prejudice they have toward each other. 

Due to media portrayal, there’s a superiority complex attached to each culture in regard to another. For example, an African person may feel better than a Black American because they know their history and have strong cultural ties. A Caribbean person may also feel that in addition to having affluent cuisines and languages. A Black American may feel superior because they come from a first world country and have access to more opportunity. 

American culture may also come as a shock because we often categorize people by race and not ethnicity or tribe. So, when Black immigrants come to America, we’re all put into the same box and receive the same amounts of racism, regardless of where we come from. 

This harsh reality forces the African diaspora to see things for what they are. Often, Black immigrants come to America with the thought that Black Americans are lazy and do nothing with their opportunities.

This is yet another instance where Black history and contributions are ignored by others. If it weren’t for Black pioneers in almost every career field, other Black people and people of color wouldn’t be able to come to the U.S. and explore those opportunities.

Still, Black Americans should celebrate when Black people of other cultures succeed in America. Those achievements show that it can happen for all of us, and that our ancestors’ work wasn’t done in vain. 

Racism has conditioned us to think that we need to compete with each other when in reality we need to stick together. Recognizing that we’re merely puppets being handled by racism is critical. This realization will make us see that no education or media portrayal is being used against us to spread hate.

Fighting for legislative changes in education can really make an impact on the way we see each other. Creating our own narrative and releasing it to the world can mend relations within the diaspora.

Embracing and accepting each other’s differences will make the most change. Making educational changes is worth nothing if we’re not able to see each other on an individual level. 

As long as we’re at war with each other, we will never be free from the shackles of white supremacy.

Jemiah Clemons is a kinesiology freshman from Miami, Florida.

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