Africans and African-Americans Debate Their Respective Heritage

By mARY | Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), February 14, 2013 | Go to article overview

Africans and African-Americans Debate Their Respective Heritage


mARY, Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque)


A far-ranging discussion about the causes of tension between African-Americans and Africans in the U.S.

engaged a roomful of people for more than two hours Wednesday at the University of Dubuque.

With a panel of eight, mostly students and professors, and an audience of about 30, the exchange focused on myriad topics, from media stereotypes to cultural heritage and individual initiative to missing role models. The event was part of UD's African Heritage Week.

Many in attendance said the primary difference between the two groups contributes to much misunderstanding between them.

"The Africans who arrive here are the educated, middle-class elite who have come with a mind-set to succeed," said associate business professor Lawrence Muzinga, who immigrated to the U.S. from Congo 20 years ago. "It's not fair to compare them to so many African-Americans who feel entitled and do not feel the same urge or have the role models to work hard to succeed."

His African heritage will

always be part of his identity, he said, "because Africa was born in me and America will never take Africa from me."

Loras College senior Jeilah Kanake argued, "You can't continue to be African when you live in America. There is a time when you take on your version of American."

When she and her family came to the U.S. from Kenya, she saw that white Americans saw no difference between Africans and African- Americans, but she felt unwelcomed by African-Americans. …

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