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5 Things Africans Living in America Are Tired of!

1."African" is not a language

When I hear things like "do you speak African" I chuckle a little bit to myself. Africa is a continent, not a country; and an African is a person from Africa, not a language. There are 54 countries in the continent, Africa - each with its own unique cultures and dialects. Africa is very linguistically diverse, with nearly 2000 dialects spoken. So please, if you must know what language an African speaks, ask them exactly that - "do you speak any African languages?"

2. We don't all know each other

A lot of people do it without even realizing. When you tell people you're originally from Africa, some people feel the need to mention a random African they once came across - stating their name as if to suggest we might know them. If an African tells you "I'm from Cameroon", please do not follow with "oh I used to work with a guy from Senegal".... completely unrelated. We don't need you to credential yourself.

3. "You speak good English for an African"

Firstly, English exists in more areas of the world than England and America. Many countries in Africa are English-speaking countries; colonization is to thank for that. So, the "for an African" bid is simply ignorant; however, it took me a while to realize that many people who said this to me were not complimenting my English, they were complimenting my accent because it isn't quite as "strong". Many foreigners speak very good English, they simply have an accent. It can be frustrating when communication barrier is created from ignorance.

4. Those "donate a dollar" charity commercials

You know those commercials where they show you a malnourished African child in an effort to draw emotions and ask you to donate just one dollar per day to "save this child" from hunger? Despicable! I know areas in America that are far worse than those villages they use to tug on donor emotions. Sure, there are undeveloped parts of Africa going through serious economic struggle; but show me one country on the entire planet that doesn't have these parts. What upsets me is that there are gullible enough Americans who attribute that little part to the rest of the continent. Trust me, there is far more beauty and wealth in Africa than the TV charity organization will ever care to display. They're not really there to help the people, they're there to reap their riches.

5. We didn't grow up with wild animals parading our backyards

Not sure why some people have this idea that all Africans live so deep in the jungle that we meet face to face with lions on a daily basis. Wild animals are only common to certain geographic regions, and not all parts of Africa has them. A lot of us had to visit zoos, just like you, in order to see these exotic and wild animals. We have cities with tarred roads, skyscrapers, and even electricity (gasp!)


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