An African American in the Global Community

Good Afternoon World Wide Web,

I’m interested in sharing a story.  I want everyday people to view this blog and think, “I get it.”  With that being said I’m going to tell you about my morning so far and bring a little of my life experiences and questions into the blog.  I went to a forum this morning where there was representation from countries around the world.  From a color perspective, the majority of those represented were in the beige and white family.  They could easily check “white” as their race, assimilate into society and if they lack an accent would enjoy white privilege without a problem.  Everyone went around the room introducing themselves and stating their countries of origin.  When it was my turn, I stated my name, occupation, and why I had an interest in being there.  There were a few items that I noticed but the most important was, there weren’t any African-Americans present.  I’m not saying that there should or shouldn’t be.  I’m stating what I saw.  There were several white American born people in the room.  Actually, the person moderating the event appeared to be white American and he even had white American constituency present.  I thought, WoW!  In a growing economy, where the world is becoming increasingly diverse and expanding across borders, there aren’t any stakeholders from the community present besides ME!

I have to admit when I say my first and last name, there’s somewhat of a pass because of the Latin origin.  There were several representatives from various parts of Latin America present.  The un-chartered waters that I meet when I walk into a room and can speak another language is interesting to explain.  I’m a sell out to my community at times, and I’m Latina to others….It’s the life and times of the mixed experience.  How can you explain in a parochial society that you have an interest in both places? How do you help people who have no real reason or interest understand that you are a stakeholder in both places?  We’re still getting there.  I imagine that after the world has given “everyone else” no choice but to accept that, “the world’s transactions and interactions are now GLOBAL” people will be more accepting.  The truth is, by that time the rules to engage will have already been created by the stakeholders with a seat at the table and everyone else will be following them.

I can’t make you understand how it feels when I go somewhere and there’s a surprised look or receptions when I say, “I’m African-American” but speak another language yet when I see someone who is an immigrant speaking proper English as their second language, it’s accepted makes me feel.  It reminds me of the dual consciousness that still plagues the community.  The homeless diaspora; where Africa is far away and America is beyond reach.  To explain that I  have an interest in the international conversation just furthers spaces me away from the collective “Black or African-American” community.  There’s a tendency for white people and even some immigrants to believe that if there is a native of Africa in the room that means “Black American” representation.  Although the country of origin is the same, there’s a disconnect in many cases.  There is language. cultural barriers and so much more.  Moreover, immigrants from Africa tend to speak multiple languages.  They even get a pass because on a larger scale, more people expect that they will at least be bilingual.  I’m sure that this isn’t the reality everywhere.  I believe that more culturally diverse places around the world have people who are active and participating on a global scale in business and conversations.  I’m bringing attention to a confederate south and other less progressive leadership pools where those changes haven’t begun to take place.

What do you think?  How does your city look?  Chime in below.  Progress happens in the details.

Until the next,

-MarjorieIam