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Are You, Like, African-AMERICAN or AFRICAN-American

Gene Demby | NPR   in 
August 18, 2014

Over at NewsOne, Donovan X. Ramsey contrasted two approaches President Obama has taken with black audiences: 1) the finger-wagging, pull-up-your-pants approach that he often takes with African-Americans, like the graduates at all-male Morehouse College (“We’ve got no time for excuses … nobody is going to give you anything you haven’t earned”), and 2) the laudatory tone he took with young African leaders who traveled to D.C. this week for the Africa Summit. (“So the point of all of this is we believe in you. I believe in you. I believe in every one of you who are doing just extraordinary things.”)

Ramsey said that as a black American, the president’s different approach to the young African luminaries made him “a little jealous.” Weren’t the young men from Morehouse poised to do extraordinary things for their communities, too?

This bifurcation, Ramsey argued, illustrated the difference in how folks see and treat native-born blacks and how they perceive and interact with blacks from elsewhere. One often-cited data point is this: While first- and second-generation black immigrants compose a tiny percentage of the American black population, they’re overrepresented at top universities and annals of commerce. So, the thinking goes, blacks who aren’t “from here” are harder-working and less entitled than American-born black folks.


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