{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Soo how are we feeling about first generation Africans being the star panelists for several of these corporate Juneteenth panels? Before anyone starts accusing me of wanting to drive division, it just strikes me as being as an inappropriate as asking me, an African-American descendant of slaves to star on a panel about life in Africa just because I’ve visited a couple times (which I have). So, I’m seriously trying to make sense of it", "post_id": "60ce15f596a8d3002110aeaf", "reply_count": 129, "vote_count": 29, "bowl_id": "58f82700c1ca28001625dc30", "bowl_name": "Black Consultants ", "feed_type": "bowl" }
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Soo how are we feeling about first generation Africans being the star panelists for several of these corporate Juneteenth panels? Before anyone starts accusing me of wanting to drive division, it just strikes me as being as an inappropriate as asking me, an African-American descendant of slaves to star on a panel about life in Africa just because I’ve visited a couple times (which I have). So, I’m seriously trying to make sense of it

likesmart
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I'm always impressed by the fact that black people are quick to create division. I don't see that among white people regardless of their nationality they see themselves as white. It's just a corporate even not history Channel. I don't know why it's such a big deal. I am african but I have met a lot of black Americans more educated about Africa then people born and raised there. I'm actually happy to see black people talking about black things especially when it's not from there own place that creates unity. I listen to many black Americans about Africa because they took the time to educate themselves about the continent. I really think this type of post are very bad.

SPM 1

Actually, if your Juneteenth panel isn’t highlighting Black Texan voices, you’re doing it wrong anyway.

So OP doesn’t have a “mindset”, it’s just about respect for historical accuracy and avoiding cultural appropriation.

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Curious how you know they’re 1st gen? Or did you see an African name and just assume? If they’re born here are you insinuating that they’re not every bit part of black American life as Ados? What if one of their ancestors was an uncle who was forced on a ship to America and left behind 15 children? All this to say we have more in common than divides us. I chose to focus on that part but that’s just me. Also I notice this kind of attitude doesn’t often apply to our Caribbean brothers and sisters. Only those from the motherland. Very interesting to see.

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I didn’t say that anywhere sis

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I’m Nigerian by birth, moved here 10 years ago. Married to an African American and therefore my kids are African American. I get invited to these panels all the time and I just decline and look for African American colleagues who can better represent the community. I am black, faced racism but African Americans can tell the story better.

likehelpful

I think a part of "representing the cause" is being very deliberate and clear about what the African American experience actually is.

Yes, we're all Black, but we are not a monolith. We do not all have the same history. Even if they think we're all the same.

A2's stance is absolutely correct. It would be inappropriate for someone to present themselves as a spokesperson for the African American experience when they are not African American. Communicating exactly why that is inappropriate is also very important to the cause.

likesmarthelpful

I appreciate those who have shared their range of perspectives. I find some of the responses to this thread quite revealing. It seems like some of you want us “all to be Black”, but I hope you aren’t the same ones who want African or Afro-Caribbean students and employees to create separate student groups and ERGs with separate funding to reflect their unique experience (which they do).

If you can understand the value of African or Afro-Caribbean orgs for the authenticity they bring to those experiences (which they are highly valuable),I challenge you to understand that Juneteenth should be about a very specific Black experience-that of those formerly enslaved and their descendants. If you can’t get the nuance, I hope you’ll ask yourself why.

Again, if this ask is divisive, then think twice before you say that African or Afro-Caribbean club you led in college was not.

Also to the point that only “black people create division”-factually inaccurate. The Irish are proud to be Irish as the Italians are to be Italian, the Koreans to be Korean, and so on. I also have Irish friends who would be offended to have an Italian on a St. Patty’s Day panel. While African-Americans don’t have our own government, we have a culture and experience of our own-just like any other nationality.

Lastly, I get that corporations don’t have a responsibility to drive accuracy let alone authenticity in Black stories, but I’d hope that some of us would be mindful in those matters-unless folks are saying they feel forced to participate in these things, which is an entirely different matter all together.

likeupliftingsmarthelpful

C1-again, these are people I know. Did I attend every panel? No, but I know these people.

As mentioned above, corporations have shown time and time again that they Blackness as a generic monolith. That won’t change until we speak up in these types of situations (and honestly numerous others).

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Honestly, I’m not “feeling” anything. It’s white people who lead these companies trying to be Juneteenth aware so not thinking about the people and ages and so forth representing this holiday. Keeping in mind, most didn’t even know what Juneteenth was until last year 😂😂😂

What do you expect💁🏿‍♂️

like

Yep. All facts

like

I empathize with you OP but wanted to say the comparison in your post is dishonest. First generation Africans have lived here all their lives so while they do not share the same history, they share citizenship and understand the present day experience of Black people in this country. You have only visited Africa as a non-resident. It’s nowhere near the same.

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C1

Do you really think any self-respecting Consultant is sitting on a company panel without doing research?!

In the instance of Juneteenth and other cultural-based events, it’s the research + specific connected perspective. So even the AA friends that you know that didn’t know Juneteenth, their specific connected perspective is what bridges the gap.

It’s the same way that I would prefer to see a Black woman speaking on Black History Month panels even if there was an equally or more well-versed white woman raising her hand to speak on the topic.

Well, first gen here.
1) yes they can direct it to someone else, though *i* wouldn't want to find someone to do free labor for a white corp. specifically around Juneteenth. I would take the L myself and explain that this is American history that anyone can study bc I had to, so there's no excuse
2) visiting somewhere isn't the same as living or growing up there. Living/growing up somewhere isn't the same as knowing history but you can be of the group and still ignorant of history. So as much as I get what you're saying high level, this point is moot. It's about the individuals and what they bring to it.

A lot of first gen folks are very cognizant of the dynamic, and there's more than one way to do what they think is best in addressing it

likeupliftingsmart

I think your story is an important one And if you feel like you want to share it but can't, that's one thing. But the story should be told regardless. And there are many descendants of slaves who have provided resources to teach in their absence.

I find it would irresponsible of me to rely on folks with generations of activism to always be the ones to educate on history. I don't think that stepping in to teach when needed is the same thing as co-opting a story as long as that person is appropriately referencing and drawing attn to what matters.

And that's what I mean when I say- there's more than one way to make sure that blackness isn't conflated by the white gaze

Also, whether first gen from Africa or American or Caribbean or w/e, that corporate event is most certainly going to wrongly center on the black corporate experience instead of the way that corporations feed the prison industrial complex (and other oppressive conditions) with their complacency. And you need people who can redirect that convo to systemic change, instead of centering a middle class experience and micro aggressions. And whether or not someone will do that is not something you can determine from where someone hails from or what kind of white supremacy their ancestors endured. There should be wayyyyy more checks than "where/who are you from?" So yeah I still think that part is moot.

like

Yeah, it feels a little "off" when that happens. I usually assume it happens because they don't have enough African Americans to fill the panel. This seems more common in fields like tech that have less African/AfAm representation than even consulting.

It feels off, but then I remember that the point of the panel and related events is basically marketing the idea "look, we have black people! Look, we sponsor diversity events!" rather than address exactly which people face the legacy of slavery to what extent and focus on their stories/needs. So I move on mentally.

like

I don't think they cannot say no, but they may not fully understand (or agree with) why they may not be the best/right people to be on the panels. And there isn't much harm. I assume good faith; its not like African immigrants are plotting anything; HR/recruiting/marketing asks them to be on a panel or something, they want to be helpful team players, so they agree to participate.

like

Its inappropriate for them to do that. They do not know anything about the ADOS experience. I agree with you.

like

The Black Experience isn’t one dimensional. As a Descandant of the Enslaved, I do hate when our experiences and our culture are flattened. Every group in the diaspora is different, but we are one. I do believe only Descendants of the enslaved should speak on those types of panels. For ex: where I’m from we celebrate Watch Night vs Juneteenth. It’s a unique story, history and heritage around that. An immigrant could not tell that story.

likesmart

Senior Product Manager, you cant be black with that response. Why are you in here?

funny

What I notice is that many people get very, very upset when Black Americans try to acknowledge (or even enforce) borders around our history and culture.

Let other folks tell it, Jazz was invented by Haitians (because anything good that came out of NOLA came by way of Haiti), Harriet Tubman was Ghanaian, and historically Black American organizations need to focus on 1st gen diversity to improve and stay relevant.

So exhausting. I LOVE Black unity, but it’s also okay to let cultures have their proprietary elements.

likehelpful

I don’t think you’re wrong and I’m a 1st gen. Tho it’s a careful line to not drive division I think the nuance in these scenarios is needed. I would hope the 1st gen Africans featured on these panels acknowledge the fact their 1st gen bare minimum

likehelpful

Yea declining is very much an option and likely the one I’d take. I guess I was operating from an assumption that there weren’t other options to be panelists but in reality their likely would be African Americans you could look to highlight instead. Similar to what another commenter said.

like

I am first generation American. My grand father was a history professor. So developing an understanding of African American history and unique but still Afrocentric culture was mandatory.
I still would decline out of respect for their unique experiences

likeuplifting

Who cares. Honestly.

likeuplifting

@op, generally agree with your broader point but find some of your line of thinking a bit off.

1) visiting a place and living / working in it are two very different things. Just is — should be pretty intuitive / self evident.
2) is history passed down by grandparents and parents lived history for you? Don’t think so and therefore not certain an argument that a multi-generation AA can speak more to the black history vs. other blacks

Separately, your posts a bit too long for a weekend read on a cellphone. Consider brevity.

funny

BCG 1

Juneteenth is living history for Black Texans and the Black Texan diaspora. So it’s not just about what’s passed down, it’s about what’s happening in the present as a result of the past.

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Thank goodness someone said it. There’s plenty of African-Africans at the firm - but we’re all grouped in. I just ask that you speak kindly of us as we would of you.

like

Yeah, this irks me, but so do all the disingenuous panels in general. The only way any of this means anything is if we’re getting the same pay as our counterparts, getting promoted for the work we put in and seeing qualified black veterans make partner. Until then, none of it matters.

likesmartfunny

It’s inappropriate. And it happens because white people are more comfortable with non ADOS.

likefunny

Laugh reacting to reality huh? I guess that’s one response 🤷

E1 can’t agree more. Feels like there’s no end to what we can be divided on. We’re all blacks at the end of the day dammit!

Please - can someone list or give example of these panels OP talked about?

I am seeking info for my own awareness as I came across this thread. Not for arguments. Geez.

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