April, May, June | Identity

No individual is just one thing. Who are we as diasporic Africans? What is our identity? What part of ourselves are we prepared to share with which of our communities? In some contexts our families are power holders, African “big people,” part of large extended families. In other contexts we are isolated, the only one of “our kind.” Sometimes we struggle to be recognized and not marginalized. We may choose to shift context simply by getting on a plane and going to the “mother continent.” Who are we perceived to be when we get there? Are we in-between people? Afropolitans, glo-cal?

How do we laugh, love, and play? What do use to orient ourselves, maintain an internal compass in a world in which external perceptions seem all-important? Despite the long African presence in Europe and the varied roles that Africans and their descendants continue to play, the identities of African diasporans continue to be privately and publicly policed. Racial profiling, police violence, and the “Where are you really from?” question at parties all stem from misplaced assumptions about identity and belonging of African diasporans.

This quarter we  will explore the contested, shifting, dynamic nature of identity. What’s your perspective: personal, social or political? Share your thoughts and join the conversation.

All posts dedicated to this quarter’s theme will be tagged “Glo-cal Identity.”

Clementine Burnley

Clementine Burnley was born and raised in Cameroon. At the moment, she lives and writes in Berlin, Germany.


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Catherine Johnson

Thought-provoking…

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