“I’m Ghanaian-American. Am I Black?”

“The trouble was that at home, we weren’t black. We were Ghanaian. We played high-life music and ate jollof rice and fried plantains. We rolled deep to graduations and had funerals that could not be outdone. We learned to separate ourselves, so that who we were to the world outside our house would not enter the world inside it.
For years I practiced this tightrope walk, but it did not come as easily to me as it seemed to come to my elders, who had spent most of their lives in Ghana. I had no memory of life back home; to claim Ghana over America felt false, but to claim an America that seemed hellbent on rejecting me felt ludicrous. The only role I truly knew how to play was that of “the good black,” the not-black-but-not-white-either black. It was the role I had been preparing for my entire life, but I was quickly growing tired of playing it.”

All. Of. This.

I want so many studies of black immigrants to the US and our identity struggles. There is a special kind of anti-blackness that we grow up in. I am immensely lucky to come from families that had economic privilege and excellent education, so that my parents were able to fulfill the dreams of America and raise children who could continue that legacy.

But the narrative that my family has about itself has so very little overlap with the narrative of Blacks in America.

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