tv The Stream 2018 Ep 37 Al Jazeera August 21, 2018 11:33am-12:01pm +03
and drink recently migrant farm workers victims of vicious beating. is helping the pakistani community to find a voice the stories we don't often hear told by the people who live them undocumented and under attack this is zero on al-jazeera. and here in this stream today a wave of african-americans are choosing to move to the african continent but why and what happens when they get there join the conversation using the hash tag. or if you're watching live on you tube you'll eventually see us in that box you can leave your comments in the chat box and you too could be in the stream.
in recent years thousands of african-americans have made the decision to quote return home to the african continent many say they want to escape the racial pressure pot of the united states while some want to connect to the land of their ancestors for others countries like ghana with an easy immigration process and the promise of a better life though many african countries are welcoming of the americans in their midst not everyone is thrilled by their new neighbors so joining us to talk about all of this in accra ghana. she's a marketing and media consultant she also made a documentary film blacks it about the migration of african americans in capetown south africa. he's an anthropologist and social literacy consultant in namibia kaylin reach into she's a journalist and editor of the website african american in africa and here in our studio there a writer and journalist focusing on race culture and politics in the united states welcome to the stream to everyone so this. it is
a conversation that is very hot for their audience they love this topic and so everyone wanted to chime in with why people might want to move to the continent of africa this is just one of the tweets we got this is from adman who says it's about identity events like the slave trade in the colonial rule almost wiped away that african identity and thank goodness people are once again asking these questions about that identity so kalan i want to go to you with that idea talking about the draw of what made you want to leave the u.s. and move to namibia have a picture here on my laptop that i pulled up of you not too long ago you teach english to talk to us about that experience and what made it so enticing for you. you know basically by the time i was about twenty three twenty four years old i personally just became kind of tired and bored of america and i just really fell in
love with the energy and vibrancy that came with black nations especially after visiting barbados which is where i have met lineage and so i basically decided that you know i wanted to experience life on the african continent and so i started doing research on the internet about ways to move to africa and i found out that one of the easiest ways was through volunteer teaching and so i applied to an american organization and that's how i ended up in the libya and you know the rest is history and ended up getting married twenty maybe and i'm now a mother here but really just for me it was you know i personally was was kind of unsatisfied with american life and i've always felt a connection just to the continent and to my african ancestry and just sort of the energy of blackness so it was really attractive and it's been there and intoxicating experience you mentioned that i had to chuckle that tired and bored of living in america and the american context really so i mean i want to go to you with that idea pull up on my screen here. a an article about you headlined why some
african-americans are moving to africa this is from our colleagues on the al-jazeera english site and you decided to move to ghana for a one year fellowship in twenty fourteen and then stayed what was behind that decision. well actually i did graduate school and bomb in two thousand and three but i didn't feel like it was time for me to move yet you know they're things lots of things are in place and i came back ten years later in twenty thirteen i had an amazing experience there with so much development that happened in that time that i was like now is the time i applied for a fellowship of the one year fellowship i figured that would give me enough time to you know get the lay of the land see how much i liked it and at that into one year i was like i'm here i'm not going anywhere and i've been here since been.
there if you heard this two experiences will go through your mind when you hear that. it makes a lot of sense and you know because frankly people not being enjoying living in the united states or having issues as an african-american in the united states that makes a lot of sense and you know there's plenty of african-americans who have gone to you know countries in europe and felt more comfortable in europe than they have in america so going to africa and feeling you know the connection to war in african people which doesn't necessarily mean that it's your home per se where you go back and like your rican doing something that you you have like a very real connection that you you know you're not saying the connection is completely gone but the comfort level and the ability to adapt and thrive in that environment it makes it makes a lot of sense and so i can see why people would be you know interested in doing so ok so then i want to throw a little dynamite into this conversation here some people who are not so interested this is the mcneil who tweets definitely not african-american blood runs in the
veins and sinews of the united states we should make this country more fair and equitable to people of color not cut and run so to speak we also got a video comment from someone who thinks similarly along those lines and she's also a former stream gas serine writes in this is video on this point have a listen as a descendant of american chattel slavery i don't necessarily feel the need to go back to africa a place that i've never been in order to reconnect with my roots because i feel like my right here in the united states where my ancestors literally their lives building this country as sleep people they start their legs sweat and tears into this country and i don't feel it's necessary to fight. so baird you you wrote a piece and twenty fifteen for the daily beast that pulled up here african-americans can't go home and the title there is ruthless and this is under
the opinion page but talk to us about that idea that serene mentioned in her video comment this is home this is where her roots are you know without a doubt as an african-american this this is our home like my my family is been here for generations upon generations and and i'm as american as you can get but the complexity of being an african-american is that we've never been allowed to have the complete agency to treat this fully as our home and like the true american sense and that will incline people to go in search of other places where they can feel they can fully exercise their agency and be their selves to the fullest and so that brings about a complexity where you kind of have as a culture to environments where you can't be fully home in either one but you do have an obligation domestically in the united states to to fight for equity for african-americans but at the same time the colonization across the globe has made it so that at black stories african stories don't get the representation that they
need and collectively we have to work to enhance that too so it's it's a fight domestically and and internationally to elevate black voices and strive for equality across the board so you can go home per se but you do have a connection to both places that you have to you know work for the betterment of all black people let's i want to bring you into the conversation here on that point rick barrack raised about you can't go home. you work with students to go to the continent specifically south africa and have different experiences can you talk to us about that. yes and we work with students like american exchange students they come here for study and for programs but you also work with a lot of american international schools. and they are based here in south africa and what you often find is there is this desire for. the white students to you know serve this environment and help africa in a very romantic sense but on the flip side you've got african-americans who come
here and i'm looking for an idyllic sense of home magic sense of a reconnection with their roots which here is a little bit shallow because the i don't know but africa and the homeland that you're looking at is messy complex and asked people who were born and raised just trying to figure out themselves and so i think i'm that when the desire is very romantic and one that is lacking context don't just on the ground what has happened within the country it becomes problematic and at times a little bit difficult for us as locals and africans to engage with you realistically as a foreigner coming into the space to try and find something in this like spiritual mecca it's very complicated kalan why i think that's kind of like. first i think there's a misconception that i've seen thrown around that african-americans you know across the board like we don't have any insight you know to what is going on on the ground in africa and in african nations you know like i am professors at howard university
that that you know which is my alma mater that i know for a fact are you know all the way from from d.c. deeply engaged and aware of african politics of course being on the ground an african country and there's nothing that can replace it and also being an african or being a south african there's nothing that can replace you know that direct insight but i think it's a little bit you know a little bit of a reach to sort of just kind of say that you know we kind of have this shallow understanding. you know shallow approach i would say i don't really think that's the case and i think sometimes people just kind of underestimate the insight that african-americans that many of us actually do have you know i get it a lot of african-americans don't know you know don't have any interest in what's going on in africa but at the same time there are others that do like myself you know and i think that can be done to give us a chance you know what we're starting we're starting from you know from four
hundred years one hundred plus years you know like you can't expect i don't think you should expect us to come you know and just know everything and just have a lay of the land that's where you know you can meet us halfway and we can all work together and get a better understanding and it will be perfect and it will be kind of you know. what i do this or i do is to add to the quick of you i'm. we welcome people that wish to learn but what i'm saying is what the students are particularly young become in with a sense of this place will fit in this kind of box of what the motherland looks like i mean. actually many many african-american scholars of his years showed us to have an acute illness of the african continent. that's what james baldwin and how his perception of. africa was milan's and in many ways really aware of how that four hundred year history creates a gap of knowledge so one hundred percent what i'm saying is. self interrogation
which is happening from us locals i don't want to raise means to be extended and the desire to the needs to also occur with people that are coming inside if it makes sense. or people will struggle i don't talk i hear you saying i hear you're saying when you mention south interrogation and i think one of the things that came up in our community is a feeling for people on the continent that some americans are not doing that self interrogation as accurately and thoroughly as they need to be take a look at these two tweets from lon ray he mentions first of all this isn't new and that goes to the idea that the back to africa movements have been happening since one thousand nine hundred two contemporary times he says this is an experiment hundreds of years in the making i have friends here in nigeria who surnames are fernandez de silva their great grandparents are returning the slaves from brazil and they all have your about first names though and they're completely re assimilated he goes on to say i haven't come across any of them in lagos and frankly i wouldn't advise them to come here nigeria is where dreams come to die
they'll be quickly disillusioned and gone they might find more to their taste because of its economic climate and low population so there is one naysayer there but i want to give that one to you mohammed out because i'd like you to give us an idea of what happens when you land it can't all be rosy what does that look like what should people expect. i think you know it's important for african-americans to manage expectations you know we have like. i you know this placement and we wanted to go away you know and when we land it's going to magically go away they're going to be drummers and fingers and the air currents. exist and not like that you know most people on the ground don't see any connection with african-americans like you go through harlem or brooklyn or somewhere a you know most people are like i'm not african you know they don't see
a connection so it's really up to the individual to manage their expectations have a more realistic idea of what's happening in modern day african cities and then understand like what you need as a person so even for me i know people may not be as a long lost sister or cousin but it doesn't matter i know that i'm connected to their plan i know that i'm connected to people and that's what's important to me you know it doesn't really matter what they think just like in america you know i want to point they consider the reset of my human so i know that i'm a whole human i guess like here i know i'm an african descent and i'm here more for this feeling and the connection that i have to the place so it's not so much of what other people think about me so for me i have to manage those expectations so i have. a better time and
a better experience i haven't had that class that most people had and then they have to go back so i think that's something that's very important for people who are thinking about coming here and i could see you nodding there i see all of our guests nodding their barrett what do you want to say so i guess the key thing from an american perspective as a country we have our amanda size idea for homeland so when we talk about as a nation of immigrants in this. tends to all americans you know white americans asian americans the idea of you know if you're irish or korean or whatever there's a romanticized like connection to where you're from and as african-americans even though our immigration story is vastly different there is a yearning to have that romanticized connection to to africa and that is i think when you get to africa and you now have the reality just i guess the reality if you go to any country that remand the size notion needs to kind of fall away and you have to do the legwork you have to know a lot about the continent the place you're going and all the all that inanimate so that you can fully immerse yourself in and i think he made
a good point though for the younger generation when the going over there that's very very prone to have the romanticize ideas of what africa is and the culture shock and then you know the africans actually have to now you know get the americans to come to realize this is what the country is like this is what's happening and i think the sooner we can have a more realistic view of our struggle domestically and internationally with regard to africa and the perspectives need to have the the the more capacity will have to thrive in whatever way we decide to to go into africa whether we know which which countries they are in the dynamics i have been there can i jump in i mean if we're talking about student you know i don't think that the expectations should be high on coming to africa study abroad to study abroad or whatever it is that they're doing you know like i just think that's a bit unrealistic i mean i came here i moved to namibia twenty six years old and to be honest you know like it has i've been here for four or eight eight eight to nine
years and it has taken me a long time and it's still not perfect just for me to you know understand my feelings and you know continually manage my own expectations so you know i really don't think that you know you're going to find you know this perfect african american like adaptation or entrance into the african continent particularly with student i hope that you don't hold their. hold them. with them you know because it really seriously is a process for me i came as an adult you know and i'm still learning every day little things big things you know it's just it's really a process and it does take patience and it's not pretty all the time. and i told him i tell you greta you know you could have certain expectations for students or you know adult professionals or whatnot but the idea of building the connection to africa we're building the strong connection we have to get past the remain at the size idea and you know really kind of and the earlier that the african-american
community can do that regardless of you know whether you're a student or you're an adult i think the better if your goal is to to visit africa and have a really vibrant connection with the continent so like there is like an american impediment as to how we perceive countries outside the united states and see it with you know a realistic perspective and not of a man to size one and i think america needs us to have that romanticized view and i'm glad you really. want to do that i will go to you but i want to bring this up because this is race is a good point we're talking about this for a man to size view and we got some africans from people on the continent because of course africa is not a country and we did get pushback from people online who said remember don't just call us africans we're very diverse in who we are there's this quote this is from the article featuring. and you write you might not have electricity but you won't get killed by the police either talking about moving to ghana we got pushback
because this is one person out of nigeria who says the chances of people killing you in the jury is eight out of ten please don't deceive yourself check the hash tag in sars and reform police to verify real stories or produce police brutality and syria that's actually something we did a stream show about so it is a real issue but keeping that in mind others are saying there is a pretty. being african-american on the continent this is from sahara reporters and news site prosper privilege and black guilt tales of an african american acts pat and this is something our community definitely relates to algal says i've been telling my african-american brothers and sisters that they are more privileged and protected as americans in africa i'm going back to my home because i could be in a better position as a u.s. educated if the o.p.'s been trying to find acceptance here so that's a little pushback on that idea i want to bring you in here what are your thoughts. so is this me now so i was it is yeah so what i want to just add to that point is
you need to understand something when african americans come to south africa and into actually other black south africans they're kind of exceptional eyes because of their social capital and like the soft power you know you have and i'm an african-american engaged in the black south african whose favorite t.v. shows scandal and sing jay z. lyrics off by heart and like who has so much affinity to so much american black american pop culture that we enjoy this privilege of cool that you know obviously not afforded to other foreign national africans and so what i've noticed is how with that privilege there's almost. a responsibility to use your if you want to come in like stay here and be part of the situation and part of the country you have to use that sort of privilege you have as an american with the resources to try and better the place because to be honest south africa unlike many other african countries we have trust issues when it comes to burn is coming into this
space and so that's a point i would want to make that the privilege does exist but the privilege needs to be used to combat certain inequities within the local space that you exist in a way that you can regarding skills or resources so why would i want to i mean really when i want to bring the hammer down on that point a privilege because we got this via you tube someone watching live they said don i made a law in two thousand and one allowing descendants that i asked for to get citizenship and work and here is what that looks like it's the right of abode granted to people of african descent in that they asked for a so there are other saying it's not just that easy you have to have several documents and a little time frame for making sure you can be a citizen there but it is a welcoming announcement. that when you see that do you recognize that there is a privilege being welcome to this country that's not necessarily your own. i think there is a privilege you know being an african-american i mean i do understand that just
coming in with you know dollars or you know an american education you know i'm not going to you know act like that doesn't exist but one of the great things about it is finally i can use my an american net you know and get the benefit because i'm not getting that at home so finally you know i can you know they benefit me. and you know to my advantage i don't like to you know i i like to pretty much go. as anonymous as i can and you know i don't cough no money even knows that i'm american and even if i do talk they just assume that i'm probably got me and was educated abroad and i love living. within that i'm not anonymous anonymously how do you get it where you know. you know i i know but i have it in my back pocket if i need to use it i use a try not to because i wanted to you know live is normally
a possible. government going to not that that exists and i think like the gentleman said in south africa it is you know it's our sponsibility i need to you and i try as much as i can you know to improve my environment to improve you know just and also just people are realistic view of what african americans are too because i think that's the flip side people romanticize african-americans they want getting paid rappers and things like that on t.v. and they think that's what our life is you know and i'm like no it's not like that you know and so it's always. education i've been talking on and on both right cayless. yeah and i mean on the flip side of that i really do think that you know maybe africans sometimes or south africans that want to generalize a consonant last week to south africa on the panel you know don't forget that you guys also have a privilege you know i mean there is serious power in knowing your tried and having
that growing up in the rich culture that you grew up in you know like. the young woman before me was saying you know like it's not don't don't also don't overread romanticize black american privilege you know because it's not like one hundred percent rosy but i do hear what you're saying in terms of when we're on the continent i mean for me personally i try to you know keep my privilege in check when i can or stand up against my privilege when i can whether it's someone you know saying like i just recently a guy said to me all i want i want some american sisters i don't want to be in women and i was like you know like i checked you know like i'm not ok i mean may seem like a simple thing but just there are many different ways and you know in terms of african-americans coming here and becoming entrepreneurs or whatever and just keeping social responsibility in mind so there are definitely things that we should do so knowing your privilege checking it and making sure that you are aware of it unfortunately we are out of time i want to give a big thank you to all of our guests for the spot feeding conversation in our
community for making it to great i'll end with this tweet from bon jovi who says i have land in kenya to share with anyone willing to come to africa our ancestors would be happy. to see online. it takes discipline and camaraderie. this is not a game or is it. what is a healthy balance between work and play when playing. and fortune to. the story of the highs and lows of young. fast paced world of the pro gamers.
this documentary. in archaeology graduate from iraq is also a part time going to pergamon museum which includes a reconstruction of the famous ishtar gate in babylon most of the people he's showing around came to germany as refugees this is just one of several billion museums taking part in the project called a meeting point and as well as bringing people together one of its aims is to emphasise the contribution of migrants right up to the present day to western culture. because i've been here for some time i can help them with lots of things that mrs ford to me the great thing is it's not just about museums about forming a new life it is a part of life is culture china is keen to win friends and influence you need oil rich middle east this is part of a long line of china to secure its resources for the future. and region as a whole now is expected to grow we bring you the stories that are shaping the
economic world we live in counting the cost on al-jazeera. oh. rockets fall clothes drive dollars falls presidential palaces the president delivers a message. hello when you're watching al-jazeera live by headquarters here and coming up in the next thirty minutes a warning from sun soon chief she says there was a threat of terrorism in rakhine state. also making its anger official turkey complains to the world trade organization about u.s. tariffs as president one labels them an attack on his country.