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By Bucky Badejo

For a long time in Western media, Africa was less of a real place and more of a concept. The Africa that existed in the mind of those who consumed Western media was a vast, sprawling Savannah landscape, with rolling sunsets and exotic wildlife, with the occasional Masai warrior and starving child thrown in. Thanks to the advancement of African scholarship and growing cultural exchange in modern academia and media, these inaccurate portrayals have begun t be broken down. Africa has begun to be viewed as a multicultural hub of different countries containing numerous voices, languages and cultures. While this is a good thing, there is a danger in the degree of separation and isolation that comes with this differentiation on the part of Africans on the continent and in the diaspora.

The divisions in the black global female community extend beyond inter-African relations and extend even to African Americans. There is a visible split between Africans and African Americans, with some members of the former group believing that black Americans see themselves as superior and are as uninformed about Africa as non-black Africans. In turn, some black Americans see Africans as disparaging towards them, with jokes about them being “castaways” and rejects from African society. Numerous online posts pit African American women against “real” African women, over issues like appropriation of culture and clothing, with both groups struggling with the ideas of ownership and exploitation. While these back and forth arguments may not seem too serious, they ultimately create divisions between the global black community that are hurtful in the long run.

“We are linked by the experiences we share, and there is a comfort in that link that should be treasured and fostered, rather than stretched apart.”

While national pride is incredibly important for many African and black American women, it is important to note the necessity of the black female sisterhood that exists among all black women, those on the continent, those in the diaspora, and those that may not even claim their heritage. These differences that we have magnified in order to distinguish ourselves only serve to harm us in the face of real adversity. We are linked by the experiences we share, and there is a comfort in that link that should be treasured and fostered, rather than stretched apart. In the face to systemic and institutional oppression, it is ignorant to turn away from the suffering of our sisters and imagine there is some degree of separation between the black American struggle for equality, and that of Africans.

Now more than ever, it is important to empathize with the struggle of black women around the world, and not to allow these divisions make us unfeeling towards the plight of African American women and other black women’s suffering, whether they affect our lives directly or not, because the uplifting of black women can only make for a better global climate in which all black women can feel accepted and live freely.

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    Bucky Badejo


    Bucky is a student in Political Science and History at McGill University. Born in France but raised in Lagos, Nigeria, SAYASPORA is an opportunity for her to develop and highlight the power of women's voices, particularly African women's voices, which are often ignored in mainstream media.

Images credits:

Art by Laura Callaghan

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