Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans


19 June 2015


Being an African-American has never been so hard as nowadays. Yes, Barack Obama (partly from Kenyan heritage) was elected U.S. President. Twice in fact. Yes, Obamacare is huge progress for many. The heart of the matter is whether their situation has actually improved. Depending on the decade you compare with, there’s progress and there’s decline. A graph would probably show a period of slow progress, fast progress, slow decline and now accelerated decline.

To be entirely honest, I wonder which continent would be better for African-Americans right now. Africa or America. I feel there is more joy, happiness, and pride in Africa. Perhaps there is even less violence in Africa. Definitely there are less incarcerations in Africa compared to America. Even the level of prosperity in Africa and America appears to be almost equal between both: a few have-it-alls, a small middle-class and many have nots.

Future socio-economic developments may even show a more favourable situation in (parts of) Africa than in the USA. For African-Americans. For white Caucasian people the situation in the USA would be safer as a white Caucasian is like an open wallet in Africa.

To me the term African-American is somewhat misleading as I doubt someone would consider Africa as his/her motherland. To me the label African-American suggests that he/she could/should/would return to Africa. Yet, reintegration is hardly an option as African-Americans blended far more into American society in comparison with other ethnic groups.

Many other ethnic groups cherish their cultural roots (e.g., language, religion). Somehow, I even doubt that African-Americans know their original (main) tribe (e.g., Bantu, Zulu). Blending into American society and ignoring their cultural roots brought them far less than other ethnic groups.

Blending into American society may have even robbed African-Americans from their joy, happiness and pride. They got little to nothing in return. Perhaps their attempt to blend into American society is even the ultimate reason for the violence and hatred against them. How can you even fully blend into a society if your skin colour always provides a striking marker of your heritage?

A group provides safety and security. An individual is alone and vulnerable. A closed ethnic community brings even more: culture, language, religion, traditions and pride. The recent attack and multiple homicide inside a nearly 200 year old black community church in Charleston, South Carolina, is like a stab in the heart of a community. The message conveyed to the sole survivor was clear: you don’t belong here, you’re not one of us, you must leave (NBC News). Apparently, that is the prize of integration, assimilation and blending in, while not being able to change your skin colour.

Perhaps Barack Obama could (and should) emerge into a new role after the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections. Somehow he owes that to the African-American community who elected him as their leader. It’s time for him to live up to that role albeit in a new capacity. Blending into a society should come with a bonus and not at a cost. And many hands make light work. 

It’s time for another: YES WE CAN. But this time for a community rather than an individual.


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