RASTA TIMES - Just who is a Black African?
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Just who is a Black African?
Posted: Saturday, June 2, 2007

To Whom It May Concern:

Greetings in the name of the most high, HIM Rastafari, Blessed;

I have been perusing your site and while I believe it to be a positive expression of our faith and the concerns of people of colour, I found one heading I considered a bit disturbing. The term "Black African" as noted in your 'More Features' section. Just who is a Black African?

If we delve a bit deeper it becomes evident that the White Man with his words is again trying to displace the black race. If Africa is our home, then there is only African period. As there is no white Rastafarians, neither are there any White Africans, they (the whites in Africa) are merely foreigners as we the Black Race are considered foreigners after 500 years in the West.

This phrase should not be perpetrated by People of Colour as it tells our young that we, as a race, have no history and no place of origin. If the phrase 'Black African' is allowed to become a part of our vocabulary, then our history will be further distorted with lies concerning the Black Race and our rich history. Understand one thing, when ever the white man hyphenates a word; it is affirming that, that particular person or thing does not belong or that its/his origin is not of the place of residence.

Have you ever wondered why there is no White European? or White Americans? This is because the white man understands the power of words. In fact I have traveled through out Sub-Sahara Africa and have met many Ex-Apartheid people and their off-springs and never have I met one with an African tribal name even though their family has been raping that land since the 1600.

All I am saying is that words are powerful, be careful of their underlined meaning.

Ras Bebe



I understand your point of view quite well. Over the years many have questioned my use of the terms 'Black African' and 'dark-skin kinky-hair Black African'.

However, when I use the term 'Black African', I mean the dark-skin kinky-hair Black African who, in my view, is different to the mixed-race, light-skin or brown-skin African.

I draw distinctions among Africans because many Africans are not dark-brown or Black in complexion and do not have kinky hair. There are light-skin and other mixed race people who are also considered Africans, and not all people who are classified as Africans experience the system the same way.

The issue of colorism speaks to how Whites treat Africans differently based on the shade of their skin (which is still racism) and also how Africans (generally speaking) treat each other differently based on differences in skin tones.

It is my view, that while we are about addressing racism, colorism should be simultaneously addressed. It is my experience that Africans in general do not like examining colorism. By not addressing colorism, Africans are not discerning and treating each other based on merit, so instead, unconscious and unaddressed color prejudices often place the blackest of folks at a disadvantage.

Even dark-skin kinky-hair Black Africans fantasize about being lighter in complexion and having straighter hair. They fantasize about getting involved with lighter-skinned folks. Skin bleaching and hair straightening are common within the African community.

I have often been advised by well-intended people that I should drop discussions on Colorism to keep the focus on racism. I find such thinking to be disadvantageous to the community, especially to the people who are most negatively impacted in the system. So, in my efforts to address the ills in the system, I am about uplifting from where the system negatively impacts the most. Generally speaking, dark-skin, kinky-hair Black Africans experience the worst forms of negative discrimination.

When I use the term Black African I want it to be known that I want all to focus on how the system impacts the dark-skin, kinky-hair Black African - the Black African generally considered less intelligent and ugly in comparison to the light-skin African.


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