Is it time to ditch the colour Black for our true heritage, African?

Is it time to ditch the colour Black for our true heritage, African?

The African Or Black Question: Colour or Heritage? – Ade Sawyerr

In an article I wrote last year, I wondered what people of African descent would make of the declaration of 2011 the International Year for people of African Descent, http://www.obv.org.uk/news-blogs/2011-year-people-african-descent, and to what extent they would benefit from the message of recognition, justice and development that was intended to be the hallmark of the celebrations.  Though we are yet to evaluate the significant outcomes of the year of celebration, it has forced on us a question that is being asked about what people of African descent should be called in the Diaspora – ‘The African or Black Question’?

Questions of identity are complex, sensitive and personal, and therefore reaching consensus even after extensive discussion may be difficult.  Any answer must be well reasoned and cover issues of race, ethnicity, culture, changes in terminology and colour.  My conclusion after considering this issue is that the colour Black does not quite denote our identity in Britain and that our heritage and historical geography, African is a more enduring and fitting term for our identity as a people.

Continue reading “Is it time to ditch the colour Black for our true heritage, African?”

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Vision of unity

Vision of unity

Ade Sawyerr looks to the future for African and Caribbean in Britain.

African and Caribbean people may have followed different routes of migration to Britain and may have different cultural practices but, to all intents and purposes, they are seen by the authorities in this country as one people.

The first generation immigrants tended to form their own community organisations, support and self help groups that advocated and facilitated their settling and integration into the main communities.

These welfare organisations, formed because of the need to survive in an alien environment, provided an identity that still held on to their old way of life in the countries of origin.

The organisations helped supplement what the statutory sector offered in the area of social support – so health groups, housing organisations, supplementary educational agencies, employment and enterprise based as well as arts and leisure based community organisations were set up to cater for the culturally sensitive needs of those earlier immigrants. Continue reading “Vision of unity”