Earth to divisionists: We are all one race!

2011-01-15 13:49

My friend Sentletse ­Diakanyo, whom I tend to disagree with on ­almost everything, recently ­posted a blog piece called We Are Not All Africans: Black ­People Are!

It’s obviously ­controversial and was bound to get a lot of attention.

There was nothing new about the case he brought forward, which claims that only black people are African.

This reminded me of a Peter Tosh song from his 1977 album, Equal Rights.

The lyrics go thus: “Don’t care where you come from/ As long as you’re a black man you’re an African.”

Tosh was simply singing about the lack of belonging felt by ­descendants of former slaves.

They can identify themselves as African, but are they really African? Which state in Africa do they belong to?

Can you ­really call yourself African when you don’t contribute anything to Africa?

Sentletse says in his post: “Historically, the term ‘African’ never had any ambiguous ­meaning.

To Africans today, it still does not have any ­ambiguous meaning.”

What he fails to realise, though, is that the term African, when used by a certain generation in the past, was used to identify a group of people – that group being black.

Now if we go back a little further, there was even a time when black people in South Africa were referred to as the Bantu.

So Sentletse mistakes the evolving nature of language for a definition of what an African is.

It is as simple as that.But I will continue to ­entertain this debate.

In his post, Sentletse doesn’t really define what an African is. His answer is a simplistic: “If you are black, you are African.”

There is no acknowledgement of the complexities of blackness.

Using Sentletse’s very own logic, which claims that Caucasians actually originated from China, not Africa, he concludes by saying that white people should in fact claim to be Chinese.

According to this logic, we can conclude that the black people of Papua New Guinea, even though black, are in fact not
African because they originated from southeast Asia.

Therefore, we should agree that being black does not necessarily mean being African if we use Sentletse’s very faulty argument.

And since science tells us that Chinese people originated from Africa, the silly question that must be asked is: does that mean Chinese are in fact ­African?

Scientists today claim that there is in fact only one race – the human race.

Separating ­ourselves by physical appearance has no scientific basis.

Human beings are referred to as Earthlings because they live on the planet Earth.

A person of any colour born in South Africa, for example, is called a South African.

No one denies their South Africanness simply because of the colour of their skin.

South Africa is on the African continent and, therefore, a South African is an African ­regardless of colour.

­Unfortunately, it is as simple as that.

No great revelation here.This country has been divided for too long. Those divisions didn’t work.

To attempt to ­divide us again, even under the guise of creating debate, isn’t doing us any favours.

» This article first appeared on 

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