By Guest Writer Tanikia Thompson

“You’re not African American, you’re American. You guys just say African American so you can have some relation to Africa.”

These are the words that were spoken to me from a Nigerian lady that I attended college with. It was hurtful to hear her say this. I have traveled to Zambia twice and the first time was challenging. In a debriefing session I explained to the white people on the trip, that my entire life I had been told that I am African American, and here I was in Africa and had no culture to call my own. When a man in the market realized that I couldn’t speak Bemba he told my Zambian host that I should be ashamed of myself for not knowing my language. He didn’t know that I wasn’t from Zambia, because everything about me along with the rest of the African American community screams Africa. While in Zambia, I noticed how the people looked just like African Americans back home. It was very evident that African Americans are from Africa.

There are two major problems at hand: not enough African Americans acknowledge that they are Africans and not enough Africans acknowledge that African Americans are African. I’m sure growing up we have all heard the “You look like you African” jokes. Well that cruel joke has followed us to adulthood. How can a Black person look like an African, when they are African? And why is that meant to be offensive? I will admit that it wasn’t until after my voyage to the Motherland, that I began to take ownership of my African roots. What’s weird is when I say that I’m African around African Americans that know me, they look at me like I’m crazy and question me. I respond by saying “You’re African too!”

On the other hand I have heard Africans speak like the Nigerian lady who told me that I wasn’t African. Is the history of slavery not enough explanation on how we separated from our homeland? That isn’t American history; it’s African and American history. There are African Americans like myself who have gone through major identity crisis’ and struggled over the fact that we have no knowledge of what country in Africa we came from. Just because we weren’t born in Africa, don’t strip us of our African identity and heritage.

What frustrates me is I can see how the media has played a crucial role in dividing us. In America they have presented Africa to us as the Dark Continent with uncivilized people. To an extent we have believed everything we’ve seen on television. I remember on my first trip to Africa I was scared that some random men were going to break into the house I was staying and rape me. How crazy is that? In Africa they have presented African Americans as all being uneducated, rappers, thugs, and hoes. It was very irritating when the Africans would try to use slang with me. The media alone has caused us to form stereotypes about each other.

This is an issue that frequently comes up in my diverse circle of friends, so I wanted to share it with you guys. I leave you with this question:

At what point did African Americans stop being African? When we got off the slave ship?

Yo I tell you the rest when I see you… Peace!


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122 thoughts on “The Beef Between Africans & African Americans: Why Can’t We Get Along?

  1. African American don’t hate africans who are what we are of same african desent we as a race were slaved and spredded all over the worl and have diffrent raising but we keep are hair the same some make changes we stick to some of the same foods some africans from africa of the same race of african americans have kids together here we don’t hate our african desent we are the same as you we love are hair are complesion are eyes full lips round figures diffrent shape noses we fought for are freedom here with racism segragation we got in eveything in the world sports colleges we became everything eropean desent men and wemon tryed to stop in us african desent men and wemon there is just a misunderstanding Loves we are African desent some of the many raceses and tribes but american raised no your race world wide love you and won’t stop being your race when you come to america we will call you the same as us meaning you are us the same african desent you guys love us to we both been through good and bad and still got a long ways to go I love my african desent

    1. I’m a Liberian and live in United state’s but, america has being so strange to me in the case that only african love me and few white and black american my job site many white and black american don’t want to see me. Mosley black american why because they say we african sold them.but i don’t have problem people hating me all i want in america is education.after that i can go back to my country and live a happier live

    2. I am a black American and I hate Africans. This hatred is so ingrained that I cannot shake it. Now my daughter is engaged to one and I love her but, I cannot embrace them or any african children the may have. I feel I may have to give up my daughter. It doesn”t help that he is not financially successful and he is also uneducated.

      1. If you are a Christian & love your neighbor as you love God…the word hate should not be in your vocabulary. Otherwise, you are a hypocrite & not a woman of God. Pray on it, pray again again & again. Think of your daughter’s happiness…not yours.

      2. American Afrikaans is what I prefer to call our people. But it sounds like you have self hate which so many of us suffer from. You are also uneducated to hate who you are & you are ignorant to even fix your mouth to say that you are willing to lose your relationship with YOUR DAUGHTER as result of YOUR mis-education, ignorance and self hate. Work on finding out history of Afrika & re-educate yourself. And as far as your daughters no good boyfriend/fiance; his kind comes in all so called races.

  2. Rap Blues Jazz Rock B&B is music created by african desent Americans and we use all our ndesent of africas sounds the dance the drums thye beat of our ancestors everything we do we represent are ancestors in africa cause that is who we are your race

  3. African race tribe of black need to no world wide your desent of people have been slaved to every country and who we are we all see it as one African race of black we from many of the african desents we don’t hate who we are we love who we are yes sure where not some of the 100 percentures because of rape from other cultures and the forced rape of two african raceses but world wide we all concider our selfs your decent of african raceses are parents won’t let us forget are all raceses of african that are black they just use the word African to represent being of the black race but we no that isn’t a race it is a color we all don’t have documents of I’m kenyan nigerian ethiiopean and other but it is easy just to say african we are all brother and sisters of each other just raised in diffrent parts of the world mostly from force of slavery don’t forget it happend to use to that’s why a lot of us look the way we do but we all say african are black

  4. The whole pont my great and great great pareants where Nigerien African and slaves we don’t mean to say country are contenent we all are not knowing all the names of the raceses of blacks and which ones we are but there are DNA test but we have children by so many difrent raceses of blacks we just multiculture blacks but don’t no the proper name of the black raceses in africa we refer to the contenent to say this is where my ancestor comes from are the country where my ancestor comes from but not to offend other blacks slavvery took are language are knowledge of which black african race where from and many won’t get the proper DNA test to find out we all world wide say I’m african meaning my blood line comes from my black african desendence many don’t like the word black cause its a word from other raceses and it is a color where not a color where a race of african desendece from all the black tribes and a large percentage have never been there

  5. BLACK Africans your not hated by Black Americans all of the African black tribes are all in America and we are all of you united are features look like all of you blacks where tryna stay related to all blacks world wide when you come to America there are good Black people and Bad but the ones who are good will see you as the same black race as them even if in Africa there are many black raceses in America you are one Black race and that is the same as us we don’t seperate are people who are black not even youthe bad things out here are somthing else dealing with bad crime but as a people world wide we claim all Blacks to not seperate are race because other raceses slaved us here and other placeses world wide we unite as a black people and stick to African decent

    1. There’s only one type of African BLACK, different flavors of black, yellowish black, coco brown, caramel brown, light brown, dark chocolate, there’s all kind of shades of Africans/black and brown!

      1. Well if they are a lighter shade then they are mixed. Probably with white. Also african isnt a race its a nationality just like french, irish,puertorican,jewish ect.. your race is either black, white asian or mixed inbetween. Ex. Not all africans are black not all irish people are white .

  6. My name is uchenna and I am a nigerian (western africa), africans don’t hate african americans, but we just see each other as culturally diverse, I was in detroit last year and an african american woman asked me if I came to america on a canoe, how do u expect me to react to that kind of question? I ignored her question, so she might see it as hate. But I just expect african americans to me a bit more enlightened about africa! Peace out

    1. Detroit is a ignorant place I was raised there,but like someone said before me you got good black Americans and bad, we are different from you yes because of slavery an being raised here… I mean shiid yall get mad at us for coming into yall stores or if we date your race!! excuse me our race…

  7. Good topic,I am an Ethiopian woman living in the US, I always wonder why some African American women tend to show hate. Its silly…We are just proud people with strong cultural identity….we can learn a lot from each other..

  8. We black people are not Americans are ancestor’s come from Africa, native Americans are real Americans because there ancestors come from here. just because we’re born here doesn’t mean we’re Americans we just Africans born in America because are ancestor’s were forced over to the America’s to work as slaves from: 1619-1867 then even after that black people were still treated like crap by the majority of white people,until today were still dominated by white rule in America. Black people are the minority in America but we’re the majority in Africa, and we starting to rule are whole continent of Africa now, some African-Americans don’t want to except the fact that are Africans because they were never taught the truth about there history they forgot America is the white man’s land now, not the native Americans. If black people don’t know we’re the hll they come from in history thn pick up a dmn history book, time to stop denying who we black people were africans born in white america.

    1. That makes no sense. If your born in america you are american. If your born in africa your african. Its a nationality not race.. black people born in american shouldnt even be called african american. Not all black peoples ancestors are even from africa anyways. I think it should be white american, native american if your trying to identify in that way.

    2. Luis, the fact that you were born here is exactly why you ARE an American. You are not African, my friend. It’s true that our ancestors from generations past were Africans: They were born in Africa. You, however, are not. It appears to me that there are a lot of people who are confused about the difference between one’s race and one’s nationality. To clear things up, race is related to your genetic make up and nationality is related to your country of origin-where you were born- unless you elect to change it by immigrating to another country and attaining citizenship there. Personally, I am well aware of our history and the atrocities and brutality my ancestors and yours endured. You cannot change history. Yet, I am also aware of the fact that there are many black folks in this country, who for several generations now, have failed to take advantage of the available opportunities to put themselves in a position to be successful and then blame the white man for his or her failures. Perhaps, this is your own mindset. At some point in time black people as a whole must recognize that, 1. Education is paramount. Learn to read, write and speak English the way it was intended to be communicated. There are far too many black people who still speak, read and write as if they are still on someone’s plantation. That, my friend, is a shame and there is almost no excuse for it. Put in the effort to truly learn the only language you know how to speak. Case in point, your own paragraph is littered with errors too numerous to mention. 2. Act and dress respectfully. Be well-groomed at all times. For God’s sake, stop sagging your pants! Be prepared to be as good or better than the person or people your competing with for a job. If you lack the basic communications skills to speak with customers, don’t expect to get hired! 3. Live your life in accordance with the laws of the land. There should almost never be an occasion for you to have any negative interactions with the police. Do not give them a reason to be involved in your life by committing senseless and unnecessary crimes. Eventually, you will get caught and the freedom that you take for granted will be taken away from you. Instead, get a job and be a productive member of your community, not a detriment to it. 4. Every white person is not the enemy and every black person is not your friend. If you incorporate these steps into your life in a meaningful way and I guarantee you your life will change for the better. They say “Knowledge is Power”. The truth is knowledge without action is just information. Get in the game, brother!!!

      1. Keeping It Real, that was such an eloquent, accurate, and beautiful response to Luis. I am a middle aged white American woman who has recently moved to Harlem. I live three blocks from the Polo Grounds and I experience the same sentiments of entitlement, a lack of work ethic, and a penchant for blaming others for their predicament that you outlined from many of the residents here on a daily basis. It is sad and infuriating as someone who has scraped and saved their whole life.
        I was also a Biology teacher at an alternative high school in Maryland which served students from the Baltimore/Washington DC metro area who had been expelled from their home schools for various behavioral issues. As a teacher, I refused to accept that anyone of my students couldn’t succeed and held the bar exceedingly high. In doing so, I single-handedly changed the culture of the school and students passed their Biology High School Assessment in record-breaking numbers; passing that exam was one of the requirements to graduate. I fact, my student passed their exam at a higher rate (more than 200%) than any other class in the history of the school. I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they could achieve anything they wanted to regardless of origin (where and to whom they were born), circumstance (incarceration, drug and alcohol abuse, truancy, etc.), or starting point (a year behind, Special Education, etc.) .
        Black Americans are as capable and culpable as any other race of Americans. We all have obstacles to overcome and to blame anyone or anything else for your lack of achievement is to say, unequivocally, that you aren’t equal to or as proficient or competent as others.

  9. There is no disputes between Africans and African Americans were the same people we’re black, if you haven’t forgot, African is a race not a international identity African is the black race, it’s are identity, every other race have there own identity African is are’s, don’t let anybody tell you differently. I’m proud of my African heritage, any African American who doesn’t know there African is already lost there minds. Peace and love to All Africans on the continent of Africa and Africans in the diaspora!

    1. There are disputes between Africans and AFrican Americans, without a DOUBT!! Most Africans are ashamed of African Americans, I witness this everyday. Lets be honest here. African Americans appear to be fully lost, while Africans are selling out in other ways, but there’s a big difference in behavior etc and even White folks pick up on it, hence, they will hire an African before hiring an African American. It’s an ugly muddle, but the truth is the two don’t usually get along.

  10. Ok, first of all race doesn’t exist… this is really stupid… African-Americans have all different ethnicities. We all came from Africa originally. Did you ever think about how one decides when you are not from a place anymore??? From your definition, it sounds like we are all from Africa because you don’t even know what country you are from, and you are saying that it doesn’t matter, you are from Africa. Europeans don’t know which African country they are from either, back then, there weren’t even countries. So, just stop. this. It is so stupid. Get a DNA test and maybe you will see what I mean.

  11. I have read so many interesting comments, thank you very much! I am an African, so I will more about Africa and Africans. In most african countries, there are many different cultures. For example, in Uganda where I come from, I do not understand any language or word from the northern part of the country.
    There is alot of tribalism in Africa, where people identify themselves mostly about their tribes. Very few Africans can accept to identify themselves with other cultures or tribes. It does not mean Africans will not be friendly to people from other cultures. They may be friends, study or party with you. The true test of acceptance, is whether they will see it fitting to marry someone from another tribe. The good news is that this is changing very fast.
    It is very wrong to think all Africans behave or socialise in the same way. There are over 2000 cultures in Africa. I have had the chance to live in Europe and I have socialised with Africans from so many countries.
    I think when it comes to relating with African Americans, Africans may generalise their views about the African Americans simply because the AA have a similar short- term history(200 years)unlike Africans. I think the fact that AA have the same history as a group is a great advantage for them in moving forward. Most Africans are tribalistic when dealing with fellow Africans and may be tolerant or open to Europeans or Americans (AA included)because these groups have more to offer that fellow Africans.
    On the other hand am African may underlook an African American simply because the AA has a smaller (nuclear)family than the African. Africans believe in the extendend family and only few Africans have learnt to judge people according to those people´culture. Africans want to jude all non-Africans and other Africans as well according to their personal(African)culures or tribes. Any way this is typical of all humans only that some Africans exaggerate it.
    “You do not know all your grandmother´s sisters and their grand children, so you are lost” On this basis they will judge the European and the American as well the African American.
    However most of the young generations of Africans living in Africa admire that AA way of life, but the question is if the came to the USA, would they socialise with AA? They like the music, the clothes, the walking style but that´s all they know about AA.

  12. i find people from the africa to be rude jealous,and foolish you people claim you so educated ? educated in what? okay first you run around europe and get chased out russians people are sick of you and they beat rob ,kill you but you got love in your heart for them sincerely africa is the divided cake/europe china japan korea has rape most of your diamonds oil gold… they take out all your minerals and land and you sit there waiting for them to hire you for anything kaffa boy& girls for sale you have ongoing wars in your country that the world sees it and why so much rape & Aids ?that just nasty you people come here to eat. we don’t know your backgrounds because you lie about your real names 419 scams green cards sickness are very good for you what have AA really did to you ? your own people ran you out of your country so you can send barrels home full of things you cant afford in africa western union is doing marvelous because you people don’t want your own countries money$$ white people when they feel like having a black pet they buy your babies who knows why> you know your language culture history but why do leave africa to get american degree? the african degree is phony ? AA do not run to you country seeking education food and money or take your diamond and other resources AA women give you unworthy women money for hair braiding and you hate them many of you people are useless i am starting to see more african children in special education for SSI checks programs and receiving welfare funds food pantries the list goes on and you believe in big ignorant cast system ? Africans are lazy because when they make their money they wont even build up their own countries and stay there too much crime corruption joblessness arm robbers rapist skin bleaching creams everywhere AA did nothing to you compare to what you done to each other? runaways !!! go back home cant afford to pay the police? this goes out for ignorant tribal folks “you heard” Nazi SKINHEADS KKK and other groups of people hate your black asses 2 so sit down and shut up!!!

  13. Every single Afrikan in Afrika, will see an Afrikan American and acknowledge them as a brother or sister.

    The problem begins when the Afrikan American begins to see him / her self as better than the Afrikan because they live in the states or from an european country.

    I have seen on many occasions where we have groups come to Ghana, and young Afrikan Americans fight amongs them selves because “some behave the same way they behave back in america” trying to be too careful while in Afrika because of all the junk lies told about Afrika.

    Can you imagine a Black Afikan in America, comes to Ghana and says that “she is allergic to Afrikan Kids”, some others also tell me in the face that, “I am no Afrikan, I was born in America and I live there, its only my skin that is black”, they come to Afrika and do all them european hair styles, makeups, european dressing, european style of walking, ipads, iphones, big cameras, etc, and want to be seen as Afrikans in our villages. And they complain the most.

    Some also keep so much close to what is constantly happening back in america, always wanting to have internet, even in tourist cave sites, tipical vilages, etc…


    That is only when we can boast of who we really are!

    1. I would to think African but unfortunately have no clue where to begin. I am an African American residing in California. It breaks my heart every time I am snubbed by my African brother or sister. The college I attend has very few blacks as it is.The African students don’t want to associate with AA because they view us as lazy,stupid,and worst. They fault us for not knowing our language and history. Do you not know our long struggle for equality. We were killed for even looking at a book. By the time we could we had what the White man gave us. So don’t judge us love us. We have no identity,language,or culture. We were denied that.where’s the empathy?we were Negros,Black’s, and now Aa’s which is most accurate but let’s not settle for that. I say that we demand more. At the very least government should pay for the DNA test.Ideally I think in addition to that we should all be comped a plane ticket to our homeland so we can at least see it because majority of us can’t afford it. I really don’t think that’s too much to ask either.With more and more Mexicans crossing our boarders we are forced to learn their language before learning our own if we want jobs. Yes more and more jobs insist we speak Spanish I say give me my tounge first. It’s very insulting.

      1. Seriously I think Washington owes us more than a box on a piece of paper with African AMERICAN in it. Let’s start the conversation tell me where it is in Africa I’m from? Pay for the damn test or we protest.

  14. I’m sorry but Black Americans are Africans. We might not be African culturally but we are genetically. I don’t really care what that Nigerian woman said because she can’t define me. In addition, she doesn’t represent the attitude of an entire continent. You never know why people say things it could be out of malice, jealousy, or ignorance. Its more important to know who you are and embrace the things that make you feel whole. I’m tired of having my identity stereotyped by Western media. I’m tired of seeing poor Haitians and Africans humiliated on national t.v.
    A Chinese American doesn’t become less Chinese because he relocates to America or has kids here. He can only become culturally American but it doesn’t change his genetics. I think its important to embrace a Pan-African culture. The sooner more Black American, continental Africans, and Black Caribbean’s realize this the better it will be for us world wide–and the more power we will have over our image, resources, and talent within our communities. “The only shame is to have shame”

  15. I greatly treasure you creating this unique
    post. It is the time meant for Ghanains to arise,
    become productive as a nation and then find out the way to reposition our world ahead
    and also rise above its ongoing challenges. Thank you for this blog post.

  16. i wonder y we kent leave together as one matter the place born in you have black skin and a taft hair ur an african reporting from kenya am karanja kaguchia

  17. honestly, Africans get on my nerves!!! Most of them. They don’t speak, with the exception of Somalians! Never had issue with them but know ppl
    Who have! But Africans are pushy, nosey, and act like we are the problem when they ran over here!!!!!
    I work with 3, one is kind of over me, never speaks, but when other Africans come around or white ppl they are up their butts all day. Now this is ok because I prefer them not speaking, however, you go your way and I’ll go
    Mine but they have tendency to want to get in personal business when they do speak, they are pesky like roaches, when you tell them it’s not their business they keep going! They need not come over here expecting us to
    Bow down , we don’t have to, we live here, we’re born here!!!

  18. U ain’t African-American, u are just Americans. Its unfortunate we share the same skin and rap(West Africa), ooh Eminem rap too. And stop saying Africans are pushy, we different people accept destiny.

  19. I am a African American Muslim and I embrace the native African as my own…..I do know from which country my family ascended and I do not care. I only know from the top of my head to bottom of my feet we are one.
    I do not understand why some native Africans look down upon the those of us born and raised in America.
    Please address is it cultural, English influence and media driven?
    African American women have survived horrific family loses and our men driven from the family by influences intended to deconstruct the family. I am angry at our current state affairs but my love for my folk remains. Our role in the building of this nation called the land of the free and home of the brave has never will never be correctly presented.
    I say to those native African that look down upon your African American brethren review our history. We are a strong people who are a work in progress for greatness.

  20. Like blacks have to hate Africans. Y’all come to America benefit off black culture, we embrace y’all like we are all the same, but you’re still sticking your heads up high while kissing the white man’s ass. It needs no explanation. Just admit the beef is ridiculous and mostly one sided.
    Trust me every African person I have met treated me with respect, but this doesn’t stop the FACT that a vast majority of Africans hate on black people. I cannot ignore the side eyes, petty Internet comments and sighs. Africans give me a reason your hate is justified. It’s like saying oh they’re wearing red I hate them. Tell me how the hate isn’t anything BUT petty and immature?

  21. We are all the same. Skin is only 1/8 inch thick. It’s amazing to me how many people care so much about their White, Mexican, Asian, or African heritage. We are all the same. So quit writing articles focused on race, stop wasting your time, its a negative way to look at things. Do something positive to advance yourself in the world. We are all brothers and sisters. I wish everyone could embrace each other as humans not a race. I want to live in a color blind world. GOD / NATURE made us, We are all the same.


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