African-American artMost black people from Latin America and the Caribbean feel much at home in Africa. Ask people from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Cuba, Colombia, etc. and you will hear nothing but the great love they have for Africa as a continent and how much they long to visit the motherland.

Not just that. Ask people from Guyana, Brazil, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia, Bahamas, Barbados, etc. and you will hear nothing but positive and amazing things about their experiences in Africa.

It may surprise some of you to know that so many Caribbeans and Latin Americans have permanently settled and even started businesses all across Africa. In fact, Rita Marley, the wife of the late reggae legend Bob Marley, has been living in Africa for about 3 decades now. She moved to Africa with the Marley family in the 1990s and chose to make Ghana her permanent home. She became a Ghanaian citizen in 2013 and even chose a Ghanaian name (Nana Afua Abodea).

That was why I was shocked to hear that some African-Americans think Africans back home and even some African immigrants hate them. That is definitely not the case. In fact, there is absolutely no reason for Africans to hate African-Americans. Rather, we love African-Americans and even wish we could get a bit closer to them. There may be some misunderstandings from time to time due to some cultural, social and environmental differences but that is nowhere near "hatred". 

I could agree to some extent if I heard "North Africans hate African-Americans". Why? Because, racism is a big issue in North Africa. However, North Africa is not all of Africa. As most of you know, modern-day North Africans are mostly Arabs with Middle-Eastern ancestry. The sad truth however is that, the Arabs in countries like Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, Tunisia and Egypt in North Africa, tend to look down on native/black Africans. In fact, racism in North Africa is worse than racism in some parts of modern-day Europe and America. 

As I mentioned earlier on, there could be some misundstandings from time to time. Although we share a common ancestry, we are from different parts of the world with different cultures, different world views and different in many other aspects. However, this isn't a unique situation. In fact, such misunderstandings and differences in perceptions are expected anytime two or more worlds clash. 

As an example, I grew up in a small community in Africa. Before I got the opportunity to go to school in the city, the little community I grew up in was all I ever knew. Also, my little community was pretty conservative Christian where most of the rules and regulations were set according to the Bible. I came to see so many things as wrong and sinful. In my mind, even smokers were lost souls. Now, imagine the things that went through my mind the first time I saw some teenage girls drink and smoke in the city. The point I am trying to make here is that, even within the same country, you can have some social, political and cultural misunderstandings and prejudices.

Also, let's take greeting for example. Greeting is very important in Africa. In fact, greeting is compulsory in most communities across the continent. In other words, when people meet in Africa, they greet each other. Most of us grew up observing that cultural practice. In other words, anytime we meet people, we have that inner urge to greet them. If someone refuses to greet you, or when you greet somebody in Africa and they don't respond, there is a huge chance they have issues with you.

However, I learned that is not the case in most western countries. I learned a very significant portion of Americans don't want to be greeted. I read some even consider frequent greetings a form of harassment in America. Now, imagine a situation whereby you work with a recent African immigrant at the same job but do not greet him. 

Also, before the internet finally reached Africa, most of us only learned about America and the west from BBC World News, CNN, etc. Unfortunately, that was just programed news and they only showed us what they wanted us to see.

While most Africans only saw the good things about America and the western world, the western media mostly portrayed Africa as a continent full of nothing but war, poverty, pain and misery. The western media often painted Africa as some small dark spot somewhere at the corner of the world. Sadly, that seems to be the perception most Americans have of Africa. Even some Black American comedians often make jokes about Africa as if Africa is nothing but one big jungle full of wild animals.

However, these and many more are just "programed misunderstandings" purposely manufactured to create confusion, dislike and distrust among various groups of people. 

To our dear African American brothers and sisters, NO, Africans back home and African immigrants do not hate you as a people. In fact, we see you as great, resilient and very resourceful people, and we have nothing but great love and respect for you.

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