My whole life, I’ve been called an “African booty scratcher.” Sure, I know it’s funny when you’re NOT African but it’s so offensive when you are. People are so ignorant and believe whatever they see on TV. There are a few thing,s however, that I need to clear up for the sake of all of us Africans.
All Africans do NOT know each other. I know, it’s very tempting to think that just because someone is African and someone else is African, it automatically makes them related in some sort of way. Being “African” is a broad category. I am Nigerian and NO all Nigerians don’t know each other either. I’m so tired of people asking me if some random boy at my school is my brother. Some traditions require you to greet other Africans a certain way or call them a certain thing but this is usually unlikely and you only have to do it to elderly people out of respect. For example, I had a Nigerian gym teacher in middle school and every day before I walked in class, I had to say “Hi Auntie” and kneel down on one knee. My whole class swore she was family even though she didn’t even know me outside of my school.
All Africans are NOT poor. How many times have you seen a commercial for kids in Africa with flies on their eyes, asking you to donate money to save their lives? The exaggeration in these commercials is SO irritating. I hate that being “African” is automatically associated with kids who are starving and dying. Now, I’m not saying that there actually aren’t kids out there struggling. I hope they get through whatever it is that they are going through. But that doesn’t mean all kids in Africa are struggling. Stop assuming that just because I’m African that I come from a place where kids have no homes and walk to school with no shoes. I promise y’all, everything is not the way TV and the media portray it to be.
All Africans do NOT speak another language. This also means that all Africans speak the same language. If another girl comes up to me and asks me to say something to them in African, I’m literally going to spaz. First off, “African” isn’t even a language and second of all even if I did know a language like Yoruba or Igbo, it’s not right to assume I do. I wasn’t raised in a household with two Nigerian parents. My mom is African American. The way most kids learn another language while growing up is by association. You grow up hearing it every day as a child so you learn it right? Well, since my mom isn’t Nigerian, my dad didn’t speak the language much around me when I was younger, so I never learned to speak it. People ask me all the time to translate things and I literally just look at them sideways because, no.
I know I can’t be the only one out here suffering from the African stereotyping and jokes. Africa is a huge continent and cannot be generalized in any way shape or form! So let’s just stop.
By Afolasade Aina, Sophomore, Brooks College Prep
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