Entry 2: second class citizens
The first time that I was made aware of my blackness was on a middle school bus in Silver Spring Maryland (aka in America). It hadn’t been that long since I moved to America from Africa. Our bus was heading to school when it passed an old, unrenovated beat up house. One of the black girls in the school bus shouted:“ Look at that house! Only black people can live in there” she and a few others started laughing, but I didn’t budge, I couldn’t, it cut too deep. Because although she thought this was a joke in that small statement, she told me everything I needed to know on how my people were perceived in America in this country we are second class citizens.
In Africa things are a bit different: our presidents have always been black, our best surgeons have always been black, our best lawyers have always been black, our teachers are black, and everyone and anyone “important” is black. So stereotypes about black people don’t really exist. Africans don’t judge you base on your skin color, they judge you based on your social status. When someone asks for your name what he or she really wants to know is whose family are you from? By your last name they can automatically determine how to treat you. Now I do not agree with both of these methods as a means to determine how one should treat another human being, but I do admit, that it is easier on my heart to know that someone would treat me differently base on something that is always subject to change like my social status than something as permanent as skin color.
The Plane ride
Second-class citizens is the term I use to define how people all over the globe treat first generation African descendants (my way of saying all black people in general). Although, living in America made that term very clear, I am always reminded of the disrespects that the world has for my people, in airports and on airplanes on my way to West Africa. The moment the plane lands in transit to Europe my face cringes. I dread that second plane ride to Africa. My mind anticipates the dishonoring behaviors that crew or the customer service representatives will have. In that second ride it is obvious that we are treated with less love and less respect. It angers me to know that the plane wouldn’t function without the material sourced in from my homeland, yet the people who represent these riches are disrespected all over the globe.
Africa, the land itself has a way of soothing my soul. When I land I forget who I am to the rest of the world. In a land were everyone is black, Africa serves as a reminder that no matter where we are from, as a black person, she will always be your home.
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