Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My new interest- the world of black people in America

I made a comment earlier about how sometimes I identify as "Black". That's an obvious enough way to identify- after all, no one will ever mistake me for any other race if they lay eyes on me. And yet, in my head, and perhaps in real life, there's a slight difference in identifying as a Ghanaian immigrant and as a black person who happens to be a Ghanaian immigrant. Ghana is so steeped in my blood and psyche- everyone asks me where home is and it's an automatic response. And yet, I find myself reading a lot of blogs by Black people who are not necessarily African, I find myself searching out novels by Black authors who are not necessarily African. I'm learning about a whole new culture and its actually a lot of fun. Strange in some ways to be on the outside, but not fully and not obviously so, but to also recognize traits of behaviors and cultures that have endured even with years of separation and divergent experiences, heritages and histories.

When I met my first Jamaican friend and eventual college roommate, I was intrigued by the similarities between her and me, my culture and hers. I wanted to learn a whole lot more, and I did learn some. Of course, as fresh of the boat immigrants, our views of our college world and of America were very similar. In a strange way, several years after freshman year, I feel like I'm again discovering yet another culture and am just as intrigued by similarities and differences.

I think I'm beginning to understand the worldview of Ghanaian-Americans (for lack of a better word) who can be both Ghanaian and Black and African and American and all things in between. It's a talent, I think, that some people perfect and others don't get so well. But how someone views themselves  is none of my business. Me, I'm working on trying to understand me.

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