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Q: Why do so many people from African nations call themselves African?

I am intrigued, Africa is a continent not a nation, so if you are from an African nation do you think of yourself as African first and then that nation, or both equally? I ask because I see so many people on this site refer to themselves as 'African'. Or has African replaced the label for the term 'black'?

 

Personally I am from England, I think of myself as English first and British a distant second, (and European over my dead body).

7 years 39 weeks ago in  Culture - Other cities

 
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Posts: 2735

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Same as people from asia calling themselves Asian...what's the difference. If you are from the asian continent more than likely you will call yourself Asian no matter if you are korean, japanese or chinese. Geez and I thought I need a vacation!! 

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7 years 39 weeks ago
 
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OMG ....how old r u? before i answer ur question ..

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7 years 39 weeks ago
 
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  Yeh, I was confused by the question at first but after the 'European over my dead body' line I realised, shit yeh, i've never called myself that, pff, are you kidding? And lump myself in with all those hairy Greeks, sheep shagging Turks, frog eating French, and all that rabble? Not a chance. I'm a football hooliganing, chip butty eating, warm beer drinking, fooking Brit, and i'm fooking proud of it.

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7 years 39 weeks ago
 
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'African' is not the new word for black; African Americans are black but they don't call themselves Africans and there are Africans that are not black....e.g the majority of the Libyans, Egyptians etc.

Personally, when abroad every time I have been asked where I am from I have always answered with the name of my country, but it is people of the west  especially that only depend on media for knowledge that have always thought Africa is one big dark country where only poverty is found, so they always look puzzled trying to hopelessly guess where in the world my country could be... so then I say it is in Africa then they so 'ohh okay you are African', so one ends up giving up always having to explain the geographical location (which part of Africa) the country is and we say we are just African.

No big deal, amongst ourselves we identify ourselves quite well.

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7 years 39 weeks ago
 
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Well, you are right. Africa is not one nation but that doesn't change the fact that  a person from Africa is an African and I see nothing wrong with identifying oneself as such.

 

I believe the label one chooses to identify themselves with depends on the context of the discussion - if the context requires a generalised way of speaking, I identify myself as an African, not as a Malawian. If, on the other hand specifying my nationality is the only appropriate way of presenting myself, then I will tell others I am a Malawian.

 

I have seen the same kind of thing with some westerners on this forum. When they are discussing an issue, they sometimes say ' in the west this is what we do' or 'we westerners find ABC about China not acceptable'. You will find that the terms 'West' and 'Westerner' are even much broader than 'African'.

 

Another thing: Although Africa has different peoples and different cultures, there are some patterns of life and philosophies that are  shared among most of us Africans and which make us distinct from the rest of the world. Of course such life patterns may not be found among a few African countries like Egypt etc. Identifying oneself as African therefore is, to some extent, simply a way of acknowledging the shared life & values we have.

 

There is another reason I often first identify myself as an African ( outside this forum of course). I have met many Chinese who, for reasons I don't know yet, assume I am an American. When I am with such kind of people  I find it more helpful/convenient to talk about myself as an African than identifying myself as a Malawian. It helps a lot ( at least in my case) because that immediately gives them the right lenses with which they should look at me. Just telling them I am a Malawian doesn't help as that often solicits such questions as ' Is Malawi in America?' ( Malawi in America. My foot!!!!)

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7 years 39 weeks ago
 
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Nigerian guy in my building once told me he always introduces himself as African because he assumed no one would know Nigeria was on the map.

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7 years 39 weeks ago
 
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It can indeed be confusing. I always identify myself as American. The problem comes when they ask me what part of America do I come from. When I tell them Puerto Rico I often need to specify it is in the Caribbean, and explain that it is not in Africa (though Puerto Rican cooking is very heavily influenced by the Yoruba culture from Western Africa).

Blanc stares follow, so I have to explain that we are a Protectorate of the US, not a State nor a republic.

 

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7 years 39 weeks ago
 
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it is actually funny. in my experience they usually specify which country. my guess is we can usually tell by looking that someone is african (black people).

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7 years 39 weeks ago
 
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Because in Africa there are so many countries that even you have not heard the name..so just for making it easy for listener..they reply Africa..

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7 years 39 weeks ago
 
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well why dont you complain about Chinese calling you a westerner, in your eyes that must be much worse, doesnt matter what you call yourself, but wouldnt be very polite to refer someone as an african

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7 years 39 weeks ago
 
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I  have been told that there are instances where the Chinese refer to Africans as something like "fei zhou ren" (forgive the pinyun) which has been explained to me as meaning from the 'poor country".  I can't vouch for the veracity of this, though.

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7 years 38 weeks ago
 
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Like Sidi said, because they're from Africa and most others know precious little of African geography beyond South Africa and Ethiopia. I admit I only know six or seven other countries in Africa, and most of the ones I know are a result of meeting African people here in China.

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7 years 37 weeks ago
 
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