The Reluctant African

The Reluctant African

The Reluctant African

The Reluctant African

Excerpt

No, no, no!" the man to my left shouted, almost choking on a swallow of beer. "Africans are not 'natives'!" At the word "natives" he banged his half-empty glass into the center of the square caf6 table. "Never call Africans 'natives,'" he continued, shaking his finger didactically in my face. The much younger man sitting to my right smiled and nodded in agreement.

I was embarrassed, engulfed by a feeling of stupidity. I looked around to see if other patrons of the café had heard the outburst. No one had; if they had they did not show it. They were preoccupied with their table companions; to a man almost, they silently patted their feet to the music of the juke box. For a long, anxious moment I eyed the men on either side of me. I wondered if they were serious, for after all it had never occurred to me that an indigenous people were maligned or insulted if one called them "natives."

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