Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lola Adesioye on the difference between being black in the UK and being black in the US

By Erik Kambel

“Being black in the UK doesn't mean the same as being black in the US,” said writer and international journalist Lola Adesioye (1980) at the end of her spoken words performance in the PenTales Travel and Migration event (see video).

During her performance the London born Cambridge graduate of Nigerian descent, who now lives in New York, also talked about identity and being a "search culture kid". And about one question that irritates her the most. "One of the most annoying questions is 'where are you from'. Because I really don't know how to answer it. Especially when I am in England."

But after her performance she said something she didn't explain. “Being black in the UK doesn't mean the same as being black in the US.” Because I wanted to know the answer from a black British perspective I asked her if should could explain the difference. So in her own words, the answer.

"For a start, everyone who is black in the UK, is a black person from somewhere else. We know that we are all children of immigrants. We are now on the 2nd and 3rd generation born of black Brits, but we know that we are not English ethnically (English still denotes white anyway), and we also know that British is a catch-all term that is meaningless in many ways because there isn't really such thing as "British culture", being that Great Britain is a conglomeration of a few countries that don't have much in common with one another.

SO, we are all black people with a strong sense of having come from somewhere else - Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica, Barbados, and wherever else. We still have ties and links to our heritage and ancestry. Even if a black Briton has never been to their parents or grandparents homeland, they are still raised with a sense of being African or Caribbean. There are people in the UK who still ask British-born blacks where they are from, meaning where you are originally from. This wouldn't happen in the US, unless they are asking what part of America you come from.

This can be a strength because it means that a black Briton's definition of black is somewhat broader and is more connected to age old traditions from Africa and the Caribbean - I think this is very healthy.

In the US, they are several generations and hundreds of years deep when it comes to being black. Most black Americans have no idea where they originally came from due to slavery. So their understanding of being black is within an American context. It is not related to Africa or an island or to a culture outside of the US.

This means a few things: 1) black Americans have created - have had to create! - their own culture - and ways of being. There is a black American experience(s) and a distinctly black American expression. You see this with fraternities, sororities, colleges you can go to, areas you can hang out in, shops, dances, lifestyles, politics, organizations. There is a whole black American world that exists in America and it is also sub divivided.

You could be black in the US and not really mix much with white people if you didn't want to. Black America is a pretty self-reliant world (even if black Americans don't think so!), and there is a perspective on what it means to be black that black Brits don't have. I think black Britons are still struggling to find their identity in the UK and I think there is less sense of solidarity and community than there is in the US, although this may change with time.

Black Britons do not have anything like the level of self organization, identity or ways of being that black Americans have. One, because we are a much smaller population, also because we still have strong links back to our original heritage, because we came as immigrants and that came with a sense of the UK being a host nation, and also because the history was not so segregated as to allow for the development of a particularly strong black British identity.

Also in the UK, there is more interaction among the races even if there is not as much advancement as black Americans have. I'd say that in the US there is less integration but more advancement, or opportunities for advancement.

I also find that black people in the US are a lot more proud to be black and make no qualms about it, whereas black Brits are almost afraid or ashamed - somehow they think it's being racist to be black and proud. Black Americans also will claim their space and claim their rights because America is THEIR country, whereas black Brits I think still give the impression that they have to wait to be granted opportunities rather than going and taking or creating them - although it wasn't always that way.

I also think that black Britons can't help but have a bit of a colonial mentality going on whereas black Americans don't have that. America is the only place many of them know, and they have no ties that they know of to anywhere else, so they have to know and claim their rightful space."

Also, as an educated black middle class person I've found many more people like me in the US and I no longer have to downplay being privileged or feel weird about it like I did in England. Nor am I now just the only one black girl in the room all the time. I can be proud to be black and not feel weird about saying it. I can talk about issues that impact me as a black person and have room to do so and not pretend it's not real. And then I can also not do any of that and be a black Briton here in the US.

There are similarities of course... I think racism and inequality for example operates in pretty much the same way everywhere, or has the same effects. But there are some fundamental differences."

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  1. I agree with her 100% black people in the UK are all from somewhere else which is Africa and the caribs, in the US if you are black you are just black in the UK if you are black you are black Nigerian or black Bajan, and there are still divisons, black people haven't been in the UK long enough to be all under the same hat. Brilliant article

  2. Kwame MA McPhersonJuly 21, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    Great article. I'm Jamaican and identify strongly with being of African descent, just raised in the Caribbean. Fundamentally, the comparison between the US and UK is down to age i.e. the length of time Black/African people have been in both countries and what that brings. All in all though, creating or embracing a culture foreign to many Black/African people is still a challenge and may continue until the attachment to somewhere else is no longer apparent...good article

  3. Black people of Caribbean descent are also of descendants of African slaves unlike African Americans they have a country that they can claim solely as theirs. Anyway in the U.S. today the term "African American" is an umbrella for a lot of black ethnic groups include the current president... but Black Americans serve as the dominant leading culture. I would think the same would apply to the dominant Caribbean community in the UK as the de facto "Black British" culture.

  4. I somewhat disagree the message this article is sending....

    I am an American who is black: My mother is from the Carribean Island of Grenada, and my father is from Brooklyn, New York...

    I don't consider myself an African-American because seriously lets face it we are in the now...

    This "Black Culture" the Black Britons so desperately wish to have do you really want to sacrifice for that because all you are really doing is segregating yourself...Beacause if you are black and you talk, walk, or dress different then now your white washed because so many stereotypes are created when you have your "OWN" culture.....

    I mean fuck for god sakes your British that is your culture now...

  5. I must say i really love this site. Mainly because it allows me to see what others think. And it allows me to think deeper about what i believe. But i'm always baffaled when i read a Black person talking about assimilation and segregation. In a perfect world that would be idea. But we do not live in a perfect world. I often times wonder why we Black seem to always want to assimilate into a society that don't want you. Yes there are things you must do to make it. But it always seem that we want the approval of others. You will never get and it is really not needed. I am a Black/Africa American man...i have no issue with that. I have issue with Black people in the Uk or thru out Europe. I have many Black friends threw out Europe and yes we may have different cultures...but we look at ourselves as brothers so to speak. I don't believe in separating Blacks from other Blacks no matter where we come from. When i was walking in Brixton in the UK i felt like i was around my people. Yes we spoke differently ... but when i met some of the people it was so cool. I didn't look at them as some separate entity. I looked at them as my people. Being white washed is someone in my opinion who try so hard to be someone that they are not. Someone who is so desperately to fit into an idea and belief that is not yours. I am very proud to be called Black/African American even if we are in the now..... I'm also afro latino as well... But still a proud Black man. What it all boils down to me is this... call yourself what you like...but it will never negate the fact that you are Black. Be Black American/British....what ever...But remember you are Black and proud. I don't feel because i was born in America that i have to adopt all the ideas and ways of thinking and living. That silly to me. I'm my OWN person and i know where i come from. I don't need to assimilate nor separate to feel apart of any society. All i have to do is live and be aware of what's going on in this world. And i will say this're only white washed when you try so hard to be something that you are not. When you adopt all the ideas that you were taught by others. When you feel the need to down play other Blacks because you want to appear more desirable to others. Por Favor!!!!

  6. Oh man sorry for the mistakes in my previous submission. On my phone typing....

  7. Thanks for your comment negroamor4! Don’t mind the mistakes, you’re not writing an essay. It’s real, that’s what matters. I agree with you totally, as a black person you shouldn’t downplay the fact that you are black.

    The problem is sometimes, that other people may a have different idea about what is black and what is not black. But understand what you’re saying and I agree.

  8. I must say "negroamor4u" its nice to be able to share opinions with somebody who is on somewhat the same wavelength...
    But I really have to disagree,

    "Whitewashed" is the term giving to some black when they are different than the stereo-typical "Black Person" I mean can I help myself that I happen to prefer Billy Idol over Marvin Gaye or Whitesnake over The Temptations I mean maybe I just happen to like those guys and that type of music, does that mean I'm ignoring my race or trying to be something I'm not...Of course it doesn't..I don't downplay myself being black nor do I praise it or "up play" my color to me its simply irrelevant I mean it doesn't mean anything except I have darker skin than my "White American" counter part that bleeds "red" blood as well..My short time that has been served in the military I had the opportunity to meet a lot of people, its interesting to see or hear how people think..I mean some people have a negative image about "Black People" because what's on T.V. or what their friends or family has told them and oddly enough most of the info produces a negative image so when we are introduced to new people we should revel in the opportunity to project a positive image no matter how difficult it may seem, contrary to what you see on T.V. all black people don't all want to become rappers, ball players, or engage in low level criminal activity...
    And I have British friends but I don't neccessarily feel closer to the Black ones, I mean I am an American and they are British and their is a big difference no matter what color you are...

    I welcome your response, actually I look forward to it..

  9. Hello Rebel American.. Nice to meet you so to! You know I don’t totally disagree with what you have sad. But I do let’s say don’t see eye to eye with you on a few things. But as for the term whitewashed you’re right that is and were the term. I guess for me I have my own term of what whitewashed is. Now the obvious question I have to ask you how can you prefer WhiteSnake over Marvin Gaye or even Billy Idol…are you for! Hey each to his own! But I will ask why? I ask that because I’m wondering what your influences were growing up. Did you grow up in a household that played Soul Muisc? Did live in an area that was predominantly white? I ask that because a lot Blacks that I have run across that seem to prefer others music over their own…well has had that upbringing. Not that you have, I’m just asking. Not that you have to like soul music because you are Black. But as I stated the people I ran across has had that kind of upbringing. Either they lived in an all white area. And when to school with no other Black person in the school. And when that happens you have already set up what your child will find desirable. I never understand why any Black person on this earth would ever send their child to an all white school. I don’t care how good the education system is in that district. Because there is, some education that is very valuable that you can’t get in a school. Such as self love! Such as Black Pride! And just being able to be around people who look like you and get you as well. My friend sent their son to an all white school because they lived in an all white area.(never understood why they moved into that area) I was totally against it because to me it was setting him up for major issues.

  10. I protested and protested! Well it came to past that he was being called the N word every day. The teachers were making remarks to him…just so much was going on. Now I know that is not everyone’s experience… Also the desire to fit in because most kids want to belong…so you take on others persona. See it’s a very slippery slope that many people don’t think about when making simple life choices. Ok back to where I left off…no it does not mean you are ignoring your race because you may like those artists. Hey I liked Billy Idol’s on! Now as for praising myself because I am Black yes I do. I mean I don’t go around saying to everyone. “oh I’m Black look how beautiful the Black skin is” Even though that is how I feel about my dark Black skin. And no I don’t play it up because it is what it is. I love the skin I’m in…it is the skin that was given to me. So many Blacks seem to always want to play down who they are to make others like them. I not one of those kinds of Black man. I love me and where I come from and if others can’t get’s on them. It is not my job to educate others to make them feel safe about being around a Black person. Because what happens is…you’re so into trying to prove to others that you’re not like the Blacks you see on tv…or wherever. That you forget about who you are and what makes you …you!!!! I’m not concerned about my white counterpart! I don’t care if they think I’m like what they hear and see on tv. Because when all is said and done…they will think you are cool but still have a distain for your people. So in reality you’re not doing anything!!!

  11. I don’t have to wear my Blackness on my sleeve…it apart of who I am. I guess Rebel my brother…and I say that because to me that is how it is. You may not like that…but too bad!! Lol! Look I just don’t believe in giving anyone power over me. I can’t do it! I don’t have a greater respect for white because just because they are white. No respect goes both ways..and that’s how it is with me. People who look at tv and think that is the reality of Black people are just plain dumb. That tells you how small their mind is and I’m not interested in them because of that. Now when I meet anyone I am me 100%! I don’t change the way I speak to make them feel comfortable. I don’t speak with a high pitch tone in my voice because I’m speaking with someone white!! No! I can articulate without sounding like others. See those things are neither necessary nor needed. I see a lot of Black people doing that and all I can do is shake my head. Hey man I don’t discriminate but nor do I go out of my way to make others feel good about themselves. That is not my job! And I have many friends all over the world. In the UK Black and White…but I have a stronger connection to all of my Black friends. Mainly because we get each other and we both have the similar struggles in this world. Lastly I do not put others on a pedestal.. I don’t need others friendship to make me feel good. I’m just not into that! And let me just say this as well… If you think that most things are not about race…then you have blinders on. It is what it is…but we have to see that and keep it moving and make changes. But never ever will I compromise me…to fit into someone else’s world. I really look forward to your response. And I do respect what you have said. And if I am wrong I want to be corrected because I don’t know everything. I’m all about learning … Sorry such a long reply…but I’m very passionate about how I feel about me and my people. No matter if they live in America or the UK…. And just so you know I’m FIRST BLACK…THEN AMERICAN… If most of these Americans had the chance they would send us back to where we came from….

    1. Hello negroamor4u,

      I liked what you had to say in your comment above and wanted your advice on an issue I'm having. What I'm asking is what does it mean to be black.... Let me elaborate.... So I am biracial my mother Mexican and father black, although my father left us and I have never met him. So I basically grew up in a predominantly Hispanic and white culture when my mother married and had children with my stepfather who is white. So I have been completely alone in my blackness you can say. There where no black kids in my school or neighborhood and the only thing I learned about being black was the movie roots and the subtle racism within my family. They would always tell the story of how I got my name. My mother wanted to name me precious but my grandmother said that what if I came out ugly and my mother should get an abortion so my mother wanted to keep me even though I was going to be black and named me after the nurse who delivered me. Now my grandmother loves me and calls me her favorite lol. My uncle would carry a stick in his car and call it his ni$$@r beater and would turn to me apologetically and say except you your not one. Also my step fathers racist remarks. So now that I'm an adult I've watched every movie about slavery and being black that comes out but I haven't figured out how to get in touch with what being black means to me. I've had a hard time figuring this out when my only role models are on TV such as Oprah Winfrey but no one in my family circle to demonstrate and live what it means.... Maybe your views?

      Thank you

  12. @Afro Europe; Great just wanted to make sure I was understood. I have a habit of typing really fast and making many! And I realized something..even with all the education I have.. (just talking about my education because it shows you can have it…and still lack in some areas) I cannot write worth _ _ _ _.. So I’m going back to school in the evening to take a writing class. It is needed… Thanks Afro Europe

  13. Actually no I didn’t grow up in a pre-dominantly white neighborhood, nor did I grow up in a house hold with a mother that played nothing but 80’s rock..Quite opposite actually being that I grew up in a very religious house hold (Christian) so the music that I was surrounded with was strictly Gospel…and the Hip/Hop and RnB was secular music that could get you sent to hell…I listened to Hip/Hop, Rnb, and Rap all the way to my first year in the Marine Corps until I stopped listening completely minus a couple of songs here and there…But it’s not who I grew around, which I will agree we reflect who, what, and when we grew up, but with me I simply loved reading books and watching Adventure movies which also had a part in turning my interest in opposite directions…I can also remember on Saturdays and Sundays when there was nothing else on Television because I didn’t have cable all they played was 80’s movies and with that you get 80’s music….It was a real slow transition it started with one band, then another, then with a movie that had a song I liked, and so on and so on until I knew it I like 80’s Heavy Metal, 80’s Rock, 80’s Pop more than anything else…I remember my first time my mother picked me up she really noticed after all we listened to was “The Scorpions- Love at First Sting, Shine down-The Sound of Madness, and Phil Collins’ Greatest Hits”….I mean it wasn’t intended it just so happened that as I grew older I just began to appreciate a different style of music...I mean call me “Ignorant” but if you want to live a certain lifestyle then you have follow the steps that people who live that lifestyle have already taken forgive me if most of those pretty much all those people are white…Like I said the media whether Television, Magazine Articles, and the Radio they have virtually the most influence, and what I see and hear pretty much shapes and influences my decisions on fashion, musical preference, career, women, and I think you get the point…

  14. My people are people who have the same interest and hobbies as I do, not if they have the same color skin that I have…I think you should make it your job to maybe not educate but to definitely how should I say sort of indirectly force a realization, and I think you are right people who “say I don’t like Black People; or I hate White People” are close minded and some people will never get it while others will turn a new leaf, you don’t have to force them to like you but if you happen to be compatible in areas of interest they will take to you and want to be around you no matter what they think about your people, at least you changed the way they perceive at least one..
    Now my “Negro Brother” I’m going to level and get personal with you….I happen to like GQ magazines, I happen to like Calvin Klein, I happen to like certain movies and television series that well what do you know feature a lot of “White People” which can’t be helped now does that make me wish I was “White’ well my brother it does SOMETIMES is it my fault not necessarily how do I combat that type of thinking I use as you say my “Blindness” the artificial ignorance or naiveté to forge thoughts in my head such as maybe they don’t have Black People trying hard enough to break a barrier or open a door, and maybe all they need is someone who is willing to set race/color aside…I hope you understand what I’m saying…
    And I am first an AMERICAN down to the goddamn tiniest micro cell in my body…Secondary I am a BLACK man…Does that mean I agree with the way history happened to go down of course not, does that mean I agree with all my countries philosophies and policies of course not, do I wish things could just change right now of course I do….
    But as I said as long as we acknowledge that history happened all we can do is leave it there and push for the positive and equality and push to make race irrelevant not an issue..
    Like you said not everybody will open their mind to such change, but I can guarantee that the people who think another man is “Inferior” just because the color of his skin happens to be darker, that thinking will die out, and how will that happen people like you and I making sure of it by simply being just like the powers at be but better…
    Again I welcome and look forward to your response…

  15. Hey Rebel! I do understand where you are coming from. You have painted a vivid picture for me to see. And with that being said i have an even great respect for you. Now within all of that i just ask you why? Even though i get it...i guess my thing do you feel about being a Black man? I think it is perfectly fine to like all kinds of music. I like music period i love music that i don't even understand. Ad it is fine to like people no matter the color or culture. But don't you think you're cheating yourself? And what i mean by that is, if you are so connected to the white culture and ideology who are you? I mean it is ok to like anything but did you loose who you are? Did you lose the pride in being a Black man? Do you support anything that is Black? Do you watch Black movies? Do you use Black products? Not that you have to but there is a thing about giving yourself away to be someone else. I'm not judging you i'm trying to understand you better. I look at it like this..i can be around my non Black friends and they know i am Black. And i like that because there is a certain respect they give me. Not only because i am Black but because i am a proud Black man. I make no bones about how i feel about issues in our community.

  16. I say what is on my mind in front of them. I don't down play me to make them feel good. I have a mind a body and i spirit that will not let me just flip flop all over the place. I have to have a certain level of respect given to me or i'm not happy. Not that my friends have to walk on egg shells around me because they don't. But what my non Black friends like about me is that i am different from them. Yes we may like a lot of the same music, moves etc. But they like that i keep it real and that i will stick up for myself as well as my people. They like my! And they like that i am not like them or trying to be like them. See you can like a way of life with out losing you! Just that simple! Let me ask you most of your friends are white..right? And that's cool if that is how you get down. But that also says to me you may not spend enough time around our people to fully understand us/u for that matter. Hey i grew up in the 80's in the ghetto and i'm proud of that. But i also knew that i didn't want to remain there. I knew i wanted better and thanks to my parents pushing and demanding...things are cool. I didn't look to others as my roll models. I found my roll models in my parent who are PROUD BLACK PEOPLE. I watch tv and as you know there was not many Black shows on at that time. But i made sure when there was a show with people who look like me was on...i watched. See no matter me living in the ghetto the ghetto was not in me. And don't you know even with the life you wanted to live...there are Black people that live that way as well. And they are proud Black people who don't feel the need to emulate others. See brother we have all that everyone else have and more. We don't have to look to others for anything...because we have it. The thing that some of out people do is look to others and find comfort in their illusions

  17. You say your people are people who have the same interest and hobbies as you do. But i am lead to believe that most are non Black..right? And that is fine i can not nor will i ever tell anyone who to hangout with. But i will ask you this how many Black friends do you have? Is it even or one more than the other? You can hang with whom ever you like but i ask you don't you think you're missing out? I mean there are many Black people who like that same as you do...even though i don'! But that wouldn't mean that you and i couldn't be friends. You understand what i am saying? Some of my friend i hang with don't like or do much of what i like to do. But they like being around me because i'm fun and i can talk!!! And once around me they love me because the know i'm harmless. Unless you disrespect me then i'm not cool! Because i respect everyone. And as for your interest ...what do you like to do that Black people like to do? I mean you can't have given away all of you! No disrespect intended here... What i mean by that is even though you like rock music, pop music ...whatever have you fully embraced your culture...Black culture.

  18. Oh my "Negro Brother"....let it rip my man!!! I don't like GQ magazine and i do like Calvin Klein and i don't watch tv series or go see movies that don't have a viable Black character in it. Only because i look at it this way...this is 2011 and we are still fighting hard for everything.We fight hard to be seen and heard and people in Hollywood has the nerves to think they have a clue what i want to see. I look at it like this...when i go see a so called Black movie..i scan the audience to see who is there. And guess what i don't see any others in our movies. But we will run and see a movies staring them...why!!!!! If you're not interested in me why would i give you the time of day. It is not out of hate but out of principle!!! We cannot continue to close our eyes to what is going on here.Why is it in 2011 racism is at an all time high? And don't say all Black people hate whites because that is not true. But the ones who hold the so called power...oppress us. Wow!!! You sometimes wish you were """"""White""""" !!!! Well at least you are honest and i have mad respect for you for that alone. I want place blame on you but what i will say is....Stop giving other power over who you are or who you can be. As i said i grew up in the 80's and saw maybe some of the same images you have. But i realized at and early age that ...that was not the reality for me. And what you seem to have missed is that there are and have been Black people working hard to break barriers. If it had not been for people before you and i we would not be here now. There as always been extremly intelligent Balck people pushing for people like you and i. And even to this day you have that. Have you not seen what has happen from the determination of Black people? All Black people are not lazy and shiftless as so many people say we are. Are you lazy and shiftless??? I don't think you if you're not then there has to be many other that are not.

  19. To combat that type of thinking i think you will just need to read more about the successes of our people. And weather you like it or not surround yourself with people who look like you. People who can relate to you weather you are different or not. Brother if you lived here in Chicago i would take you to the Du Sable museum....they have so much history about what our people have been thew and over come. Man i have so much to say!!!!!!! But hell i wrote book! But i will say this you can be an American first if that is what you like.But i will say this i am a human being first then a man and then a Black man then an American. I don't fall for this i'm an American thing that so many others do. To me that is their way of thinking! Now if you still think everything is not about race in this world then you still have blinders on. But that's ok and this is just my opinion... And that thinking that you mentioned about "that the people who think another man is “Inferior” just because the color of his skin happens to be darker, that thinking will die out". It won't because it has been here since the beginning of time. Race will always be a factor in this i wish it were not...sure i do. But that is just wishful thinking. I don't hate anyone but i love me and my people. And a lot of us needs to be educated on what it is to be Black in America...and everywhere else as well. Man its lamost midnight and i have to get up in 5 hours for work. As you can see i can go on with this. But i do look forward to your response and know that i mean no disrespect. But i don't hold my tongue either. Oh what is funny is that even though i don't know you. And we are very different i think you're cool! And i respect your honesty...bedtime man..

  20. Oh something I wanted to add were you can never forget the past. The past is there to remind of what you don’t want to happen ever again. And I cringe when I hear Black people say forget about the past. Only because you have to understand your past to make the future what you want it to become. Now you never hear anyone telling the Jews to forget about the holocaust!!!! Every freakn year there is a movie that has something to do with that. So I just don’t like when I hear these so called progressive Negros saying forget about the past. Jamas!!!!!!!!!!!! As I said before you can think all you like that skin color and race don’t matter…but you’re wrong. And it will always be…we at least in our time. The thing is for so many Blacks to stop thinking they have to be the ones to heal the freakn world. Or better yet make others like us. They are a non MF factor to! You probably won’t get that if you don’t watch Black tv shows. And just stop trying to prove to white people that you are like them. Or you think like them …Because you sure as hell will never be one of them. And I will say this…I give you 5 to 10 years…these people won’t be around!!! You will see… Somebody cool and Black like me will! One more thing you can wish you were white and to me that is sad because it says to me that there Is not much self love in you. You have not accepted who you are the strength that you possess. But I for some reason have respect for you. Normally I’m all over someone who wrote what you wrote… Just something I was thinking about… When you are conditioned you can be controlled. But the sad part is not knowing that you are conditioned and controlled. You just follow….and your lead………………

  21. Wow!! I must say I’m impressed on so many levels, also I just realized that our post are public and anybody can see them..I can’t even disagree with half the things you said, you are right on so many levels, but for the most part I honestly think we think do have different ways of thinking..
    It’s umm sort of complicated, but what I noticed is that a lot of the “Black Movies” that come out are exactly that “Black Movies” and the cast & crew will say that this is a “Black Movie” I have a huge problem with that..I mean if you are in a position to make movies as a black person you have the ability to integrate the talent as I said movies are a huge influence, and yes it may be true a lot of white people don’t see “Black Movies” is most simple they simply can’t relate, but if they can relate to or like an actor playing if the film the chances increase that they will see that movie…any way like I was saying I mean if you are a Black Producer why wouldn’t you want to make a film that attract the masses, while still holding on to your pride so to speak…
    And to me there is no “their” way of thinking, it’s only our way and some people may be a little bit detached from that with their radical views…I have pride in myself not necessarily my color but myself meaning everything to where I come from, my parents, neighborhoods that I have grown up in, people that I have met, places I have been, and what I want to do with my life all that attributes to who I am and that is what I have pride in..
    I told some body one day no matter what color I am or what color the other person is, we both bleed “red” ….And I remember what I told my grand-mother “I think that I am not black, but I am a diamond that reflects all colors” now please don’t take the last comment literal…
    But yes maybe I don’t hang out with enough Black People; I will try and change that hopefully some interesting ones will come around…
    Again I look forward to your response…

  22. Hey Rebel what's good! First off i just had me a nice bowl of grits...and 2 slices of bacon. Now tell me bro have you ever had grits? Man if not you have no idea what you're! Ok now time to respond... Wow!! I'm pleasantly surprised that you agree with anything that i said. And yes these post are public...but surprised no one else has joined in. But it's cool as long as you and i can get to learn from each other its cool. Because believe it or not i am learning a few things from you...i said! And sure we think differently and that i totally fine i think. Ok i think it is fine that when a Black movie comes out they call it a Black movie. I mean Blacks in Hollywood have a really hard time finding a job. Plus a Black movie don't mean that only Blacks should see it. White people don't say white movie because they are what they are. And they don't have to say it because all you have to do is look at the cast. You spoke about the masses, well the masses don't want to see our movies.Why i don;t know but i think it is because as you say they can't relate. Or they are not interested in who we are as people. But we will run to see their movie. Well not me i don't do it... I will watch it on cable...but then again i really don't do that.

  23. Because for me if you're not interested in me...why should i be interested in you. For me it is that cut and dry! And now that i think about it what can't they relate to? Just look at the movie and see we are not all that different anyway. Yeah some of us may speak differently and have our way of joking....but anyone can pick up on that if they are interested. And as far as intergrating different talent...well they should do the same as well. So i have no problem with things being for us. See we Black people can't always be the ones to give in. If no one else is willing to move forward why must we? And being honest even more i don't relate to their movies as well...but i use to go see them. I still say their way of thinking because that is exactly what it is. To me that is!!!

  24. When you say you have pride in who you are but not necessarily your color... Well then i think you're not truly whole. Or better yet you're missing out on you. You have to be complete to truly have pride ...i think! And yes we all bleed red that is so true. But accepting all of you is the key. I get what you were saying to your grandmother and i have no issue with it. Look all i can say is's a nice saying. But the reality most don't think like that. And the thing is to be aware of that. It is ok to like/love others and their culture, but if you don't like who you are and where you and your people come from. Or what they have brought to this land then you're totally ex-ed out! If you emerge yourself in someone else s culture and not be interested in your own YOU'RE NOT LIVING YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF! YOU'RE NOT COMPLETE ...YOU'RE NOT WHOLE...YOU'RE A PIECE OF YOU...FRAGMENTED!!! Hey is fine to be friends with anyone you get along with...but if you exclude your own there is an issue. Be around other Blacks and you will see you have more in common than not.

  25. As i said before if you lived here we would hang out! We would probably get into it from time to time....but so what. All i'm trying to do here is get you to see that Black people have a lot to offer. And that Black people have offered so much and will continue to do so. What i have learned is that if your only around one type of people...then that seal who you are and how you think. Ok i'm not going to write a book! But tomorrow is another! Oh i do pride myself in my color and who i am and what i have to offer. But i don't exclude my people nor anyone else. But if i do hang around other non Blacks they have to be aware of who i am and my struggles as a Black man. I will not sugar coat anything just so i can be anyone's friend. I have many friends that get me and who i am!!!!!!! Now tell me how many Black friends do you have? And please answer the question.... And i don't date others because i'm not attracted to them...i really don't find them attractive. Now that is i didn't fall for the forbidden fruit! I am the one everyone should be! A strong man...who happens to be Black and madd! lmbao!!!!! I look forward to your response...and we must keep our dialog going....

  26. If you make a conscious effort to meet more Black people…you will be pleasantly surprised. We are good people who want what everyone else wants. But we may go about it in a different way. But you will have to also be open and willing to listen to what others have to say. Cause a lot of us may have experienced the same things and a lot of us have not. But that’s fine as well… But I do know we can relate on some levels and that is what you connect on. We all have to be honest about who we are and where we want to go. And we have to also know that…there is nothing that can hold us back. If you just sit and think about what we as a people have gone through… Man we are really strong mind and willed people. We have overcome so many adversities that it would baffle your mind if you really knew how many.Not that you don't know! I just started my blog… I haven’t written anything yet…but I will. Been really busy lately and not sure anyone would read! But I am doing it for myself …..As! But my email is there so we can talk more if you like..

  27. Well I used to leave in the South for about 4 yrs so I’m well aware of the effects that good southern cooking has on your taste buds…You know I don’t say Black People don’t have a lot to offer because I’m Black and I have a god damn lot to offer…You know you said Black People shouldn’t always the people to give in but I think you meant we shouldn’t always be the people to take the first and furthest step well I have to disagree on that one, I mean if we don’t take the initiative then who will am I right or am I right?? Well that’s what I think...”Culture” you know that’s such a complicated word because…
    This is one of the dictionary definitions the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group: the youth culture; the drug culture.
    See I consider Hip/Hop music a culture, as well as Rockers, or Gothers, or Ravers, or a culture Travelers…But what I’m trying to say is culture just doesn’t have to be racial, meaning somebody shouldn’t think I like something because I’m black, the way you dress can define your culture, the way you speak, music you listen to, and so on…There are so many things that can define culture and race doesn’t have to be one of them is what I’m really trying to say..
    Besides I mean falling for the forbidden fruit come on live on the edge hahaha…And what do you really mean you don’t date “others” I wonder does that mean what I think it means Hmmm I guess I’ll wait for your response because I shall not assume maybe I’m thinking in the wrong context…As far as women goes I’m attracted to all kinds of women I won’t gage my attraction off of skin color, ethnicity, race, and nationality I like em all…
    And for sure the dialogue should stay open you know..I’m totally for it…

  28. First off let me clear up something... When i said do you date others i was talking about non Black! Man i was LMBAO!!!!!!!!! And i was saying that i only date Black women because that is what i'm attracted! So i hope that clears this up for you because i think you were eluding to something else....not me bro!

    So now that you better understand me i can move on still laughing!! And i still say why does Black people have to take the first step. I mean who are they that we have to come to them for understanding? I just don't get why some Blacks feel the need to have to have white friends. If you meet someone and you click then for sure become friends. But in no way will i ever ..ever seek out others for friendship. I don't need them for anything especially for a friendship. I don't need their understanding... I don't need them to see me any other way than the way i am. I think of it like this...ok let me just say it like this.. I reach out to people that i deem worthy of getting to know me. I don't do it because i want you to like me or understand the kind of man i am. I just can't and won't give people that kind of power over me. It looks to me that you may be looking for acceptance ..and i don't need that from anyone. Let alone someone white or what ever...Hell even someone Black...for that matter. Ok so if we don't reach out and they don''t reach out does that mean they are not interested....hell yes!! So why... what is the purpose? What are you gaining from that? Just to say i'm open to others. And if so why do you feel you have to. I'm sorry bro but it appears that you need validation from them. Why must you take the initiative anyway? Why do you feel like you should? What is so great about them that you have to? I just don't get that... I'm like shaking my head wondering why is that so important. What can they really do for you?

  29. And yes Blacks have much to offer more so than anyone else. Because no other group of people have had to go threw what we have gone threw and survived.So 'm fully aware of what we offer. I'm in no way with my head up my a_ _ about our people. So tell me this what do you have to offer?

    Well when i speak of culture i'm talking about racial!! And you're right just because you are Black i shouldn't assume you like what i like. But i will say that most Black people that i meet do like what i like. And the ones who don't may not like a lot that i like but there is some commonalities. And that is what we relate to and build on. For me it is just so simple...i'm not remotely interested in proving anything to others. I don't have that desire in me...because it profits nothing!!!!

    Oh you know what i'm always amazed when meet someone who is Black that will do anything and make any argument to say why they do what they do. When they can just be honest and say they are not just attracted to Blacks. Or they can say they are not comfortable in their own skin. So much so that their whole life is spent trying to be like others. Because some how in their mind...others...meaning white is better. I meet a some Black people like this from time to time...and i just shake my head. I shake my head because they don't realize how they really don't like themselves.

    In closing I love being Black and if i could go back and change it...i wouldn't. I know and love what it is to be a Black man. I love the skin i'm in and very secure with it.I'm proud of it and i'm proud of where my people come from.. I need nothing from others at all!! I don't need nor want their acceptance. All i want to do is live the best life i can. I don't want them to think that i'm great. I don't give them or anyone else power over who i am. I like my people no matter how screwed up some may be. I don't live my life thinking how i can make white people like me. I don't skin in grin in their faces when i'm talking to them. I don't raise my voice high to sound like them. I don't have to dress like them to fit in. I don't have to listen to their music.... i don't have to be around them. But what i do have to do is be true to who i am. I'm never ever going to be a watered down to be white/Black man. Not happening's not necessary! As i said before my non Black friends like me because i am me. They like me because i am a proud Black man. They like me because i like to but mostly because i'm not trying to be like them. I had many of my non Black friends say this to me. And i just told them simply ..that i don't think they are any better than i am. And why would they think that i should be honored to be around them. And that it is not an honor at all.....And that i don't hold them in high reguard...And that i am not thirsty...for any kind of friendship... And that i am good with or without them...

    Oh i do like living on the edge....but i don't jump off that! hahahaah No way! Not my thing... If SHE is not Black i'm not interested...that is my motto!! Still laughing.... Look forward to your response...

  30. Bro, no thats what i meant about the non-black women thing lol!!! I just didn't want to come out and say it dude....Wow, lets just call that a mis-understanding...

    I don't look for acceptance from anybody but I do reach out to everybody and thats just me being me, from time to time I think about if I was white, but as I told you before at some times do I wish I was WHITE yes but for the most part I'm a BLACK AMERICAN I'm well aware of my history whether its my family history, racial history, and countries history..I'm not neccessarily proud of certain aspects of the history but all in all I'm damn proud of my people of AMERICANS (BLACK and WHITE) because I know as a race of AMERICANS that we someway, somehow no matter how long can find a way to put the race thing aside forever by using history as an example of what never will happen again...And let me reiterate once again I'm DAMN proud of my BLACKNESS and of my AMERICAN pride both ways...

    No matter what thoughts may pop into my head from time to time....

    Like I said if she is compatible (attractive, fun, intelligent) I'm game no matter what color, creed, or whatever else...

    So what other topics do you check out..I anxious to hear your replies on some of the other post and what not...




  32. Black identity and pride isn't a good thing, just an white identity and pride isn't. It's nothing to be either proud, nor ashamed of, it's entirely trivial, and doesn't mean anything. To identify with someone, and therefore treat them differently based solely on the amount of melanin in their skin is not only bizarre, it's racist by definition.

    People are just people.

  33. Jenks I understand what you mean. But being White and being Black isn't the same thing. When James Brown sang “I am black and I am proud” it was a response to a society that said you're black, worthless and good for nothing.

    That black people identify themselves with other black people and treat them differently is not a black thing. White people also treat black people differently solely on the bases of the colour of their skin. Yes it’s racist, but to analyse a person or a think solely on the based of what you see is what humans and animals have in common. Unfortunately, Black and White are victims of the wrong images.

    If I would walk in the deep South in the US I would feel safer, as a black person, you ask the road to an other black person than to a white person. I know it’s racist, but it’s also my human survival instinct. Perhaps based on old stereotypes.

  34. I now make it a point to remember that Africans of the Diaspora are every and have always been despite what's taught from 1619- to present in a historical context. Our contributions to global society are real and can be measured quantitatively. It should be no surprise that we are in so many places and are very successful in those places. The slave trade is a blip on the radar of our several million year history. I know its difficult to break out of the mental construct of present day jurisdictions as an attachment to our culture, heritage what have you. However, its that foreign colonizing thing which has always attached itself to us, not the other way around.

  35. Nobody should try and artificially forge seperate identities; they should be comfortable with what they are. If a person speaks with an accent that is clearly from somewhere in Britain, then to me I will always consider them to be British regardless of colour.

    I do not think that the British youth today would ever ask someone where they 'where from' if they spoke with a British accent.

  36. I'm 100% in agreement with you Lola. U go girl and do what u like doing best. I'm speechless and in love with your speech.

  37. Well,

    I'm Black of Jamaican decent born in the UK.
    I don't agree with the article based on a number of observations.
    The first being, the deliberate inclusion of the Oxbridge education.
    I'm not sure what purpose this served other than to highlight elitism and defence.

    I attended Cambridge as well, rarely mentioning to anyone that knows me.

    The article and reason given for differences between the US& UK Black people are far more intricate, based in my view on patronage.

    The class system in the UK is somewhat different than the U.S.
    Britain has a more progressive effective Social model than the U.S.A.
    This is reflected in the less homogeneous need for discreet civil rights in the UK.
    There is a smaller gap between the rich and poor in the UK, hence less forceful need to enshrine this in civil rights.

    The argument put up by the Lola smacks of someone who in all honesty felt that despite her education and her self confessed 'middle class background' didn't get the 'breaks' she may or may not have seen afforded her white counterparts.

    I doubt that many Black people who grew up in the South in the USA in the 1960's would have agreed with her.
    While racial segregation was enshrined in law in the USA at that time, the progressive left in the UK were awarding Malcolm X with honorary degrees from Oxbridge.

    That is not to say the UK is any better than the USA as regards Black peoples lives on the whole.
    The Black Middle class dream as epitomised in the Cosby Show, didn't and doesn't reflect most African American's lives.
    The Desmond's in the UK (similar equivalent)did reflect the class baring in mind both were on around the same time.
    I have lived in the USA and indeed my parents retired there in the old age having lived in the UK for forty years.

    The problem I have with Lola's assessment is that it doesn't take the entire Black Class experience and is instead fixated on her own experience, which she herself states is 'middle class'.

    If I were a poor Black Person I'd take my chances in the U.K. over the USA any day of the week.
    If your a 'Middle Class Professional' the U.S.A may be more comfortable.

    1. I agree with you Black Jacobin. I am Nigerian, who lived both in the UK and I have also lived in the US for over 12 years.

      My kids were born in the US and I can see that they are already struggling with their identity, because the area and the school they live in is predominantly white.
      The next step for me is to find a school that is mixed. I think its important for the child because they alsways want to fit in and are constantly comparing with friends (it's what kids do!). They compare hair, oh why is your hair not long, why is it short, why is your skin that way(there are just about 9% black kids at their school).
      I do not want them to have confidence issues at all, so I am going to find another school for them. In America, I have a few friends who have told me that they did not like the experience of being the only black person in school.

      Going back to Lola's comment, I think I would say find a city/state in the south, have a few kids there, and I can guarantee you that you will have a different view on this topic.

      I also, will take my chances in the UK if I was poor, you get opportuinites you will NEVER get in the US. The reason there are ghettos and poor balck kids who do not have an education because they have never really been outside their environment and do not know what is possible. Another important point is the statistics Miss Lola, what does it say about black poeople is America, number of black kids in jail versus white kids, how many get educated versus white kids? Then have a look at the statistics in the UK.



  39. Well being a product of a foreign mother and an American father, from my own experience I vehemently disagree. Although we may have the comforts of not be immediatly identified as being from another country.. it is clear that we are largely outsiders. You can see this from the backlash created when President Obama took office. Racial tensions flared, and Americans all over the country began to spew their hatred in the air. From my perspective, having the true sense of where you originally come from and having those strong ties to that specific culture gives you identity. You can surmise that regardless where you are and how you are being received.. you have a home base. I have never felt apart of the 'American' culture, nor have i been able to easily relate to other black Americans.. it wasn't until I went to Bermuda (where my mother is from) that i felt a true sense of home... Bermudians kept mistaking me as a fellow Bermudian... It greatly filled a void in me.. finally not feeling like a stranger in my own home.... (

  40. I agree with Lola Adeisoye on the point that blacks in US do not know where they've came from largely. As a black American, I do not feel it's all that important because the country has found a way to embrace our differences; I might add, that cultural differences are greatly valued and free to be expressed. Yes, black America is a world of its own, but that depends on the person. I personally seek to break these barriers by going to a private white institution opposed to the historically-black college that my parents would have chosen for me. I wonder as generations of black Britons mature will the strong ties to ancestry be linked as they are now. Similar patterns may follow that of black Americans.

  41. U can as well came to africa where you will feel more comfortable... U will always be welcame to Africa


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