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Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(2), 24; doi:10.3390/socsci7020024

Parsing the Gulf between Africans and African Americans

Sociology Department, McDaniel College, Westminster, MD 21157, USA
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Received: 9 December 2017 / Revised: 28 January 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 7 February 2018
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Abstract

The rise in African immigrants to the US provides an opportunity to assess relations between Africans and African Americans in college. An online survey of 322 current and recently-graduated college students (including 45 Africans, 160 African Americans, and 117 whites) assessed respondents’ experiences of racism in US high schools and colleges. Semi-structured interviews of 30 students (10 African, 10 African American and 10 white students) supplemented these data. Even within a sociopolitical context of more visible racial intolerance, Black intra-racial cohesion was absent. Although more first- and second-generation Africans (73%) felt that they had been judged while living in the US compared to African Americans (34%) or whites (20%), for 70–80% of respondents, this had occurred only in high school. Despite experiencing these judgments, Africans’ identity related more to their focus on education than their race, reflected in a higher proportion who felt intense family pressure to attend college (65%) compared to African Americans (37%) and whites (39%). Interview data confirmed previous reports in the literature that African Americans lack a sense of connection to Africans, attributed to Africans’ purported sense of superiority and disregard for African Americans’ ongoing struggle to end oppression. These mixed-methods data suggest that intermingling in the college environment has not resulted in first- and second-generation Africans and African Americans sharing a common in-group, race-based identity. We discuss the implications of overlooking ethnic distinctions due to presumptions of racial homogeneity that deprive Black individuals of their uniqueness. View Full-Text
Keywords: Africans; African Americans; Black; ethnicity; race; racism; stereotypes; acculturation; immigrants; identity; college student; slur; African booty scratcher; akata; assimilation; bullying Africans; African Americans; Black; ethnicity; race; racism; stereotypes; acculturation; immigrants; identity; college student; slur; African booty scratcher; akata; assimilation; bullying
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Nsangou, A.; Dundes, L. Parsing the Gulf between Africans and African Americans. Soc. Sci. 2018, 7, 24.

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