What is an African?

Written by Shirlene Alusa-Brown | June 2, 2009 | Leave a Comment

CNN is currently inspiring dialogue about what makes someone an African-American as opposed to an African, African-American.  There has been debate amongst Africans about what an African is.  Is it someone who is born in Africa, or can someone who is born to African parents in the diaspora, but never raised in Africa, still claim that they are African?

Africans define themselves by who their parents are for the most part, although there are some who feel that if they are born in the diaspora, they are no longer African, just born to African parents.  Even more hotly contested, are the people who have one African parent.  Some claim that if they are not full-blooded Africans, they are not worthy of the title.  The latest Playboy playmate, Ida Ljungqvist, is half Tanzanian and half Swedish and was born and raised, for a while, in Tanzania, yet people claim that she isn’t African.  Why must anyone have to choose a side of their heritage?  And if they don’t deny it, why deny it of them? White and Asian Africans also find that they are constantly called upon to prove that they are African.  How many generations of African-born do they need to be to finally be called African?

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