Skip to main content

What does it mean to “look African”?

• Aug 11, 2010

by Geraldine Amakihe, Contributing Writer


Sudanese model Alex Wek


Ethiopian Liya Kebede

I didn’t know I was African until I left Africa.

A loaded statement coming from a Nigerian; an Igbo girl. Nonetheless, it is exactly the way I used to feel, before my family relocated back to the States from Nigeria. Before I left the confines of my father country, declaring me an African person was redundant‐ a statement of the obvious — so I never had to consciously think about it. In Nigeria, particularly in my Igbo culture, my father’s name and my education were the two most important cultural indicators.

When I moved back to the US I quickly realized that I was now “African” and was constantly expected to represent a billion people. And that being anything other than “that African girl” was considered an upgrade.

Countless numbers of people thought they were complimenting me with reassurances that I didn’t “look African”. Some would wonder about my last name, and upon discovering that I was Nigerian, would give a range of responses;

Oh wow! You’re African??”

I thought you were just ‘regular’ black”.

Oh! So, THAT explains your features!”

I remember an instance when a teacher told me that he just knew I was African because of my “big features”. I also remember cringing inwardly as he emphatically stressed that my African look basically boiled down to my full lips. That day, as I sat in his classroom, I fiercely wished that I could be the complete opposite of what he thought was the African look. I wanted to be thinner lipped and lighter skinned, solely to force him to recognize that his so‐called African look, as dominating as the idea was, was a fallacy.

Whenever the African phenotype is mentioned, the stock image is usually the stereotypically flat description of dark skin, full lips and backsides, wide noses, and highly textured hair. To delve into the misconception even further, let’s lay out all the cards and attach “poor”, “dirty”, “backwards” and “starving” to the description. People seem to find it difficult to reconcile the notion that there are just as many people who might look this way, as there are people throughout the continent who don’t, but still identify as African, and that these people fall into all levels of social status. It’s irritating when we allow ourselves to mindlessly gorge on misinformation dispensed by myths and media, and continue to dismiss people for not fitting a narrow margin of the supposed African look.

Shouldn’t it go without mention that different people identify as African, and the current categories should be expanded? However, common sense ideas often seem to be the hardest to understand or implement. For instance, with a country like Nigeria, which is an arbitrary amalgamation of hundreds of ethnicities from Fulani to Igbo, facial features and body types vary incredibly. If we step outside of Nigeria, Alex Wek and Liya Kebede are both from East Africa.

They look amazingly different, and yet, by looking at them, people would assume only Alek as the “pure African”. None of these regions are homogenous, and prevailing features run the gamut from the deepest to the fairest of complexions.

Let’s continue to extrapolate that example and apply it to Africans in the diaspora; Colombians to Canadians, Americans to Argentinians and the catch‐all African phenotype begins to dissolve. The African look is a multi‐dimensional one, and we shouldn’t rely entirely on the media to provide accurate information. We should constantly challenge ourselves to think outside the proverbial box and to question ourselves, because in doing so, we can expand our familiarities, and in turn, challenge the status quo. It is also our responsible, as black people, to stop associating certain African features with poverty and backwardness.

We need to totally rethink Africa and, by extension, our perception of African beauty.

148
Leave a Reply

avatar
135 Comment threads
13 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
125 Comment authors
Naila Mollel-MatodziClaudette UKCocoaGoddessHi thereSaye Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
ej
Guest
ej

I thought you were just ‘regular’ black”…i got this all the time in middle/high school…and my 1st & last names are very igbo…

and when i went natural ppl (and evn other naijas) accused me of having a curly perm/texturizer/jheri curl or being “mixed” just b/c my curl pattern was looser than what they thought a nigerian’s should be…smh

vonnie
Guest

so much cosign! Iman, Alek Wek, Liya, Charlize Theron are all from Africa, do they look the same? No? People are astoundingly willfully ignorant and AIM to stay that way it seems. I’m packing now to move to a box in the middle of nowhere so I can escape the idiocy.

http://socialitedreams.wordpress.com

Libby
Guest

Well said.

teachermrw
Guest

Well‐stated. This post forces all of us to think beyond the proverbial box. I would hazard it to say that even many Black Americans possess a stereotypical image of what African is.

eve
Guest

yeah i’ve had people think i was “regular black” WHATEVER THAT MEANS! lol

African is as descriptive as saying European. NOT VERY! From British to Russian?!?! totally different people. Kenyan (me) to TUNISIAN? lol different people!

i have blood relatives that look COMPLETELY different than me! Darker, lighter, tight coily hair, loose curls, and we’re all related and “african”.
*sigh*

great post!

iri9109
Guest
iri9109

im 1/2 nigerian and when i was transitioning i told my cousin that i was gonna cut all my hair off and she was like “oh you really gon look like a african now”…i laughed it off, but in my mind i was side‐eying the mess out of her.

TheLadyDayDreamer
Guest
TheLadyDayDreamer

WELL WRITTEN!!!

Taharqa
Guest
Taharqa

LOL, I find this post to be so ironic b/c I can relate.

My mom is from Trinidad and my dad (RIP) is from Grenada. My family originated from Montserrat. My father was mixed black and Asian. I was born in Brooklyn, NY. I have had people come up to me and ask what country I’m from b/c I look foreign. The classic one I get all the time “But you don’t look American! Where your parents from?” Given the history of the United States, please tell me what is an “American” supposed to look like?????

donna
Guest
donna

I had a man stop me a few months ago and said are you African I said no he said what are you then? I said Philadelphian…I had to LOL because I was serious (what does Philadelphian look like!).

So many countries in Africa with so much variety it is something how my look would be defined as what Africa looks like but not Liya.

Em
Guest
Em

Thank you for this post! It always disturbs me when someone implies “looking African” as a negative thing. I’m sure if I said “oh you look European” to one of my weaved up and/or relaxed relatives they would not be offended at all! SMDH.

nana.OT
Guest

This is so true. I’m 1/2 Ghanian and 1/2 Swazi (Swaziland is in southern Africa) and people are always telling me I do not look African. But if anyone knows the features that are associated with various African countries you can dissect my body and tell which part came from which parent and African region.

b.
Guest
b.

I’m appreciated reading this because I’ve recognized this for a while. The older I get the more I appreciate the diversity of the African continent. Some people don’t realize Africa is a continent, so there’s a long way to go in changing the minds of many. I suppose I fall in the “regular black” category (whatever that is). I cannot definitively trace my heritage directly to one particular tribe or culture on the African continent. However, I also abhor the lack of distinction given black Americans in that we are often lumped together and not recognized as individuals. I’d go… Read more »

A Simple Thing
Guest

Ugh, this is SO true. The amount of times I’ve had to correct people on talking about Africa like it’s a country…like it doesn’t have a diverse range of people. I though Binyavanga Wainaina’s article “How to Write about Africa” is a brilliant satirical piece on this topic. You can find it here: http://www.granta.com/Magazine/92/How-to-Write-about-Africa/Page-1

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

It’s odd, I am black American and my father(I realize out of love)praised me for being dark‐skinned, since most of my family members are lighter and taught me that being “black”(African descent) is beautiful. So, whenever I thought of Africa, I used to think of shaved bald or braided beauties with full cheeks(although this is a stereotype too). It’s all about perception and what we are all taught.

RB
Guest
RB

Although I agree with so much that has been said thus far @Vonnie, I believe characterizing Charlize Theron as an African in this context is a bit of a conflation. A Chinese‐Jamaican IS Jamaican. That doesn’t make him or her African or European. He or she is still racially Asian. I think the author was trying to say that “African” is often pigeonholed to “one” look…The Congo if you will. I have often heard West Africans described as dark‐skinned with flat noses, etc. Many Igbo, Fulani would be such a confusion to people who buy into such characterizations. And vise… Read more »

Go hard
Guest

this igbo gal living in the states agrees 100%

NM
Guest
NM

STORY OF MY LIFE! Great job on this article.

b.
Guest
b.

Okay, A Simple Thing, that was the best satire I’ve read in quite some time. All I could do was laugh on the inside while shaking my head. Thanks for that link; I’ll have to look at that site more often.

MissyD
Guest
MissyD

Its not until you leave your home that you realize how different you are. I’m from Charleston, S.C. my people are called the Gullah/Geechee and it wasn’t until I left S.C. that I realized that not all Black people looked like me. From the moment I arrived in N.C. EVERYONE asked me “why do you look so African?” I didn’t understand what that meant until I was in college. I didn’t understand why people asked me that as if it were a bad thing. I would stare in the mirror, study faces of my realitives, and study the faces of… Read more »

DaliSalvadorAde
Guest

Great article! I too am Nigerian (Yoruba), and when I was younger I found myself struggling with the “african” in me as well. Your article summarized well the stereotypes Africans have to deal with; stereotypes that pay no regard to the wide diversity that is seen on our beautiful continent. Interestingly though, I have had somewhat of an opposite experience than you. Whenever I meet someone, they automatically assume that I am “African”, I have never been told that I look like Black American. I believe that it was a mix of my demeanor and how I dressed that lead… Read more »

kadiane*francophone
Guest
kadiane*francophone

” Countless numbers of people thought they were complimenting me with reassurances that I didn’t “look African”.”

Yep !

DaliSalvadorAde
Guest

What’s more, I must COMPLETELY agree with what you mentioned about how the media conditions our minds to percieve a certain group of people. The woman who I consider my adopted sister is from Ethiopia, and she looks nothing like the “stereotypical” Ethiopian woman (tall, thin, big and curly hair, thin nose, thin lips), and she finds it frustrating when people don’t believe her when she tells them that is where she is from. Such a shame. We are all such beautiful women but our minds have been distorted to think otherwise.

Kech
Guest
Kech

Great article! So very true. Africa i one of the most diverse continents ever and we are not all born from the same ‘Mama Africa’. Even being Igbo and living in the UK, I get similar comments. Got a similar comment from an annoying aquaintance, and I said ‘of course I look African! My parents and grand parents are African dumbass!’ What the hell am I supposed to look like, Chinese??? I guess I offended them but they need to think before they talk. I guess they meant it in a derogatory way. I am proud of my full lips,… Read more »

Jc
Guest

Great article and I agree with the conclusion. I do want to play the devil’s advocate though. I think that when you adapt to a foreign country (I am Kenyan living in UK for ages!), you essentially become part of the community. I have never not once been handed an immigration form when entering UK from another country. The hostesses always say to me that the forms are not required for British citizens. Do I regard this as a negative? Actually no this is a sign of a progressive nation where skin colour, facial features and hair are not determinants… Read more »

Efuru
Guest
Efuru

Yes! To everything! I usually feel especially disheartened when black people (from across the diaspora) hold this exoticised, imperialist view of Africa. I remember when I first moved to the UK, a popular insult among the black school kids was ‘you african!’ (cue my confused face).

jessica
Guest

Yes! this article hit it right on the tip of the nose! Growing up people always said to me oh..u dont look african u look like a regular balck girl. Until they heard my last name then they would start to ask questions.But now as i get older people are always asking me what my nationality is..

DBCO
Guest
DBCO

I have gotten these kinds of “you must be African” statements all of my life because I have full features and wear my hair in its natural state. The funniest/saddest incident that happened to me based on other people’s ignorance was at a music festival in Atlanta a few years back. Some “Afrocentric” dude saw me sitting with three other sistas and started doing some weird bowing and scraping with fist pumps, Egyptian hieroglyphic‐like movements to me b/c I suppose he needed to acknowledge me as the “African Queen” because I am dark‐skinned with Afro‐textured hair and the other sistas… Read more »

NG
Guest
NG

Great write‐up. As an Igbo woman born and raised in the states, I’ve been the recipient of all sorts of comments that indicate that I am different, “the other.” As a secure adult, I take pride in how my heritage in all the ways in which it manifests itself, both physically and culturally, regardless of the ignorance i might encounter. In furtherance of this theme, is the must see TED talk of the Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie who discusses the “danger of a single story,” specifically in what it means to be an African.

http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.html

serenissima
Guest

@ RB: why isnt charlize theron African? Her frist language is Afrikaan and she lived in South Africa until she was 16… I actually think she’s the PERFECT example of why this whole ‘looking African’ thing is an ignorant mess…

serenissima
Guest

*first

trackback

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Charyjay, Lindiwe Vundla, Nikki T, Alexis Hancock, Black Girl Long Hair and others. Black Girl Long Hair said: What does it mean to “look African”? http://bit.ly/afyZvY #naturalhair […]

Nicole
Guest
Nicole

It angers me when anyone makes a distinction between African and black people. There is no difference! You are an African‐American — a person of African descent whose family has settled in North America. The use of the words “black” (Negro), “white” (Caucasian), “yellow”(Asian) and “red” (Native American) stems from an ignorant system of human classification created by ignorant European individuals. Stop calling yourselves black. That term was used for the sole purpose of creating inferiority in comparison to Europeans. Black is always deemed scary, dangerous and untrustworthy (Children are always afraid of the dark, right? People are warned not… Read more »

Anne
Guest
Anne

+1

Afrikween
Guest

” Countless numbers of people thought they were complimenting me with reassurances that I didn’t “look African” i couldn’t agree anymore. I don’t know why people think that saying that is a compliment. I’m congolese girl living in the UK but most people tend to tell me ”oh u don’t look African” or ”u look Jamaican or carribean” and the best one is ”oh u r too light skin u can’t be 100% African tell he truth” and I had a bajan/guyanese classmate who used to nag me for 3yrs to tell him what am mixed with bcs i couldn’t… Read more »

R
Guest
R

Being that I live in Harlem,NYC which seems like the mecca of all brown immigrants, I do understand why people say “regular black”, but I think its rude! Being called Black in America (at least here) means you’re not an immigrant or decendent of, english is your first and only language unless taught by school, and you don’t have any other blood relatives that originated from other countries. (I’m not talking about a cousin or uncle that married a Jamaican and moved to Jamaica. lol) I mean all your family originates from America. I take pride in being Black because… Read more »

CollegeChick
Guest
CollegeChick

This post was well written, I especially agree with your statement in some situations: “Whenever the African phenotype is mentioned, the stock image is usually the stereotypically flat description of dark skin, full lips and backsides, wide noses, and highly textured hair. To delve into the misconception even further, let’s lay out all the cards and attach “poor”, “dirty”, “backwards” and “starving” to the description.” I am 1/2 Ethiopian and 1/2 Kenyan and before I went to College and people ( really just Black people)made those same assumptions about me because I was African. But once I entered College being… Read more »

HR Professional
Guest
HR Professional

Thanks for the article, I even understand where you are coming from, however all the things you list as being stereotypically African, happen to be things most Black people (American and continental)are ashamed of having. There is nothing wrong with being perceived as stereotypically Black. If Black people were considered beautiful or our features were referred to as classic or refined we would take pride in them. Sorry, I am not downing your article or even saying that people are not wrong for ignorantly assuming, but I really find nothing wrong with having the majority of the features some rail… Read more »

RB
Guest
RB

@serenissima …well to be clear, sure Charlize Theron is African in the realm of nationality, maybe even under the umbrella of ethnicity (although, knowing many South Africans white and black, they make a big distinction between black africans and british, afrikaans, etc.) And as an aside, Afrikaans is 95% dutch (read dutch)…let’s not be confused. I just think it’s silly to bring her up in the context of this article. There are races in this world…namely African, European and Asian. Each has many varieties. To say Charlize Theron is an African variety is ridiculous.

Anuli
Guest

This happens to me all the time. It’s like a chapter out of the story of my life, but I deal with it. I don’t have a problem with people assuming that I don’t look African because I understand their predetermined notions of what an African looks like and where they come from. I can’t fault that. What I don’t like is when people refuse to believe me and try to tell me what I am supposed to be. “You’re too light to be African”. Both my parents a Nigerian (Igbo). Just accept me as I am.

Nina
Guest
Nina

Sorry, couldn’t ignore this:

If we step outside of Nigeria, Alex Wek and Liya Kebede are both from East Africa.”

Geraldine
Guest
Geraldine

Greetings Everyone! Thank you all for commenting on the article the way you have. I’ve dealt with aspects of this issue my entire life, and I knew that there were other people who would probably identify very closely to it. The BGLH readership is so intelligent and sharp, so I was eagerly waiting to read all of your thoughts. @DBCO and DaliSalvadorAde: You both concretely illustrate the point of the article. @serenissima: Initially, I actually was going to include Charlize, but I felt that her case was a pandora’s box, and perhaps, needed its own article. @HR Professional: I appreciate… Read more »

Ivy
Guest

igbo kwenu! as i’m getting older, more and more people are telling me i “look african”, probably because i’m natural now, but it makes me happy. I am 100% Nigerian (raised in the States) but i never used to look especially Nigerian. the fact that now people are recognizing my features as African brings me lots of joy.

Ayanna
Guest

I am West Indian and I actually get EXCITED when anyone makes a reference about the ‘African‐ness’ that they might be read in me. In DC this summer, a Nigerian guy asked me if I was African and said he guessed I might be from Sierra Leone. Some years aback, again in DC, an older East African man thought I was East African. I really do have a craving to connect to my people and roots which were lost during the transatlantic journey to the Caribbean and when I hear things like these, I wonder what they are reading in… Read more »

Camille
Guest

Thanks for this post. The comments are always are a good reminder that we are sisters in a boat TOGETHER! My mother is Ghanaian and my father is black American and I have experienced both sides (too african/not african enough). Then, of course, I went to Ghana and saw family members who ran the spectrum from black as night to almost white as snow and that showed me that “African” is so many things. This post also reminds me of Kodwo Eshun’s book “Black Gold of The Sun”. He went back to Ghana looking for his “authentic” Ghanaian experience and… Read more »

mek
Guest
mek

Well‐written post and interesting comments. My experiences with “looking African” have been quite different though. Where I’ve lived, it is viewed better to be/“look” African than “regular black,” because to be African from Africa is to be exotic, and exotic is good, plus there are positive connotations associated with the mentality of Africans as opposed to African‐Americans, who are stereotyped as stupid and lazy. This is frustrating for a whole load of reasons, one of which being that it shows how fragmented and complex African identity is among African‐descended groups and non‐Africans alike. I am American with no recent familial… Read more »

...
Guest
...

Great piece! I really can’t stand the fact that the people still don’t realize that Africa in itself is not one entity–it is made up of different countries, cultures, customs, looks etc. Even within one country, you will find hundreds of ethnic groups. But even more so, I hate that even to this day there is a negative association with Africa.

Kalamari
Guest
Kalamari

I’m Jamaican (born and raised for a few years) and I’ve heard the “You look African thing too” but because I grew up with relatively few negative opinions on Africa (somehow… or maybe I just ignored them?) I was always confused/took it as a compliment. Two incidences stick out the most to me: 1. I was walking through NYC when a black women stops me with my friends, stares at my fro and then looks me in the eye and asks me what part of Africa I’m from. I just stare back, a bit shocked at the random question and… Read more »

Nappy Kitchen
Guest
Nappy Kitchen

@CollegeChick

I think you might find this article interesting.

http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2007/03/07/17622/

Nappy Kitchen
Guest
Nappy Kitchen

DBCO

That must have been a very embarrassing experience. Its happened to me before. Especially when you are wearing a head wrap. It is very insulting and crude.

Nappy Kitchen
Guest
Nappy Kitchen

Whats ironic about Alek representing Sudan is that you can tell that she is from the South. Liya on the other hand could pass for a Sudanese but from the North.

Miss B
Guest
Miss B

Oh wow! You’re African??”

I thought you were just ‘regular’ black”.

smh @ “regular black”- LOL! if that’s not ignorant I don’t know what is‐ some people just don’t realise how ethnically diverse Africa is.

Achieng
Guest
Achieng

You took the words right out of my mouth.

I live a Kenyan living in Sweden and someone once told my fiance that I have european features and don’t look African at look.

It blows my mind how some people love to dwell in their ignorance!!

Hiwot
Guest
Hiwot

I’m Ethiopian and I can soooo relate to this. I always get that “Oh but you don’t look African” type of comment. Some people need to understand that Africans are extremely diverse, they can be lightskinned, chocolate, short, tall..it dont matter!

Ruvarashe
Guest
Ruvarashe

The media does influence but how shallow would we all be if we allowed the media to be our ultimate source of information. I too am Zimbabwean (located in the southern region of Africa) and have experienced many interesting situations… the surprising thing is that it mostly comes from other black people. I hope for the day when we could all embrace each other in truth and not ignorance.

LBell
Guest
LBell

I forget where I read this, but: There is more DNA diversity in the African continent alone than in the other six continents COMBINED. Regardless of where you fall on the evolution‐creationism scale, if you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. I am dark‐skinned with Afro‐textured hair, full lips, and a full butt that’s starting to droop with age. 🙂 I also have high cheekbones and a straight nose, which people have claimed as evidence of my non‐African ancestry. I tell them, “Maybe so…and maybe not.” I never got the “Are you African?” comments until I went… Read more »

Andrea T
Guest
Andrea T

Well, just to chime in, it goes both ways. Recently in grad school I heard an African classmate on many occasions refer to some of the lighter‐skinned girls with long hair as being mixed(they are definitely not). She saw a picture of my mother and said the same thing(again she is not, and the picture shows my whole family, including me and my sister, also with long hair). I overheard her and another African girl (each from different countries) discussing my (rather long) hair. I think that to her, seeing my mother’s picture cleared it all up. They were asking… Read more »

Andrea T
Guest
Andrea T

Oh, and not Ethiopian but I get tired of hearing people try to put them all in the same box in terms of features, etc. as well. I’ve heard people insist that they all have the same hair and skin tone and make silly comments about that. So I’ve heard people told that they were too dark or their hair was the wrong texture to “really” be Ethiopian or Eritrean…

sba
Guest
sba

Do any Africans get grilled by other Africans abou tnot “looking” or “being African”? I get that A LOT. I’m at a point now where I have to fake a “Ghanaian accent” around Africans just to avoid being questioned about MY being from Ghana.

b.
Guest
b.

MissyD, Ayanna and mek summed up so much for me. I just want to say that I’m enjoying reading these comments and I’m learning a lot from the various experiences. Thanks BGLH and Geraldine for putting this out there.

trackback

[…] From BGLH — I didn’t know I was African until I left Africa. A loaded statement coming from a Nigerian; an Igbo girl. Nonetheless, it is exactly the way I used to feel, before my family relocated back to the States from Nigeria. Before I left the confines of my father country, declaring me an African person was redundant‐ a statement of the obvious – so I never had to consciously think about it. In Nigeria, particularly in my Igbo culture, my father’s name and my education were the two most important cultural indicators. […]

FunkyHairChic
Guest
FunkyHairChic

If I had a dime for anytime I’ve heard that “But you don’t look African” comment. I am of Ghanaian descent and many people wouldn’t know unless I told them my name. They would ask where my name originates from and then sparks the dialogue. Mostly other Africans know that I am African without having to ask. They would look at my last name or my features and automatically know exactly where I’m from. I have the full lips, wide nose, dark skin, high cheekbones and big butt, but I still get that perplexing question, “You’re African??? Really?” It’s crazy… Read more »

alice
Guest
alice

what people really need to understand is that human life originated in africa and every phenotype and genotype is simply a mutation or evolution of the darkest skin and eyes and highest textured hair based on where subsequent generation migrated to and settled. dark skin and kinky coarse hair is a trait designed to protect people from the hot sun…so as early humans migrated away from africa and the equator…they evolved to not produce as much melanin (skin hair and eyes) and their hair became less textured because the climate was not as hot and humid. This is why we… Read more »

Sia
Guest

i could’ve written this piece…story of my life! “you don’t look African.” my own people want to throw me out of the club!
honestly, the best thing to do is to turn it around and ask them, “well what exactly does an African look like, darling?”
it shuts them up every time.

One foot in, one foot out…
@SiaNyorkor_NJ

Sheal
Guest
Sheal

Some of the comments here are shocking in their ignorance so let’s discuss Charlize Theron, why not. She is as ‘African’ in race & culture, which is what this discussion is referring to, as George Bush is native American, which is zilch. Afrikaans is the name that the dutch imigrants to South Africa in the 18/19th century called their native European dutch dialect. Why change the name of their language? As an insult and gesture of contempt for the black natives. In calling their european language Africaans they were stating that Africa belongs to them and not to ‘the blacks’.… Read more »

Sheal
Guest
Sheal

Some of the comments here are shocking in their ignorance so let’s discuss Charlize Theron, why not. She is as ‘African’ in race & culture, which is what this discussion is referring to, as George Bush is native American, which is zilch. Afrikaans is the name that the dutch imigrants to South Africa in the 18/19th century called their native European dutch dialect. Why change the name of their language? As an insult and gesture of contempt for the black natives. In calling their european language Africaans they were stating that Africa belongs to them and not to ‘the blacks’.… Read more »

Q
Guest
Q

Great article!

@MissyD: I can relate to your story. I’m also from Charleston, SC; when I moved to GA and NC everyone also asked me if I was African because of my features. As a matter of fact, I met the writer of this article because people thought we were the same person.

thelady
Guest
thelady

Africa is the most genetically diverse continent. Any facial feature you can think of is also found in Africa. I wish people would expand their minds and do some book learning (just google it).

maria
Guest
maria

This is a topic on which many Black folk need to educate themselves on. It’s so embaressing to hear how ignorant we are of one another. I don’t get the ‘Regular Black’ comment either, why aren’t other people of African descent considered regular? When i think about it that word i would associate with plain. We as a people stand out among others we are anyting but ‘Regular’. Also, none of us have originated from America, the Caribbean or any other place you may find us living today alien to the African Continent.

maria
Guest
maria

At Sheal, thank you for the little insight into the South African background. I also felt it an insult that Charlize Theron is looked on as one of the many faces of Africa. She is as European as her name.

nana
Guest
nana

This was very interesting. I’m not too bothered whether people say I look African or not because that is their opinion which does not necessarily define me. In fact, as I get older I am learning to love my features as they are. Unfortunately I find that as black pleople, we tend to judge each other harshly on several issues. One of the problems I have to deal with is I get judged for the way I speak. I am African but went to a British school as a child. There are so many times I’ve been told,“You are so… Read more »

Sister Teddy
Guest
Sister Teddy

Could have been an interesting story & feedback, but unreadable because the advertising overlay made about a third of each screen unreadable. Is looking African a function of using certain devices for your hair? That is the message the layout gives.

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

I’ve recently begun to envy Africans. Working in my schools African Student Union really taught me to appreciate the diversity in music, food, and appearances of the different groups of Africans (east, west, north etc.) When people say someone “looks African” the uninspired stereotypical reasoning behind it is the coarse hair, dark skin, or fuller features. But if you look at the different countries, really look at the people from different regions, you can find a lot of similarity in their features. The same way Koreans, Australian aborigines, and many more racial sub‐sects share similar features. As a black woman,… Read more »

Vanisha
Guest

heck… i wish people asked me was i african : / what a compliment! although, i am african‐american –but i remember when my sister was dating this nigerian guy and when he brought us around nigerian ladies that were only speaking their native tongue, i asked him “do you think that they know that we (me and my sister) dont speak their language??” he said “oh yeah, they know you all are not african” ..just my luck lol. but i wonder how do they know?! but when i think to myself “she’s looks like shes from africa” i dont mean… Read more »

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

We all will have different opinions (as witnessed here) based on our own personal experiences, however… they are just that, “your own” personal experience. As entertaining, sad and down right heartbreaking some of these stories may be, it clearly proved,(to me anyway) that not only do “We” need to learn about us but so does the rest of society. As much as we may not like to admit it, we are ALL “mixed” so to speak. Of course some more so than others but not one of us can claim to be “pure.” I’m far from an authority on the… Read more »

Leo the Yardie Chick
Guest
Leo the Yardie Chick

@ Nana — I hate that ‘sounding/acting white’ jab as well. As if every black person on the face of this earth is supposed to speak slang (i.e. not sound white) and, as I’ve realized from spending time on the net, supposedly wanting to do well in academics over athletics is ‘being white’. *eye roll* It’s bad enough when non‐blacks have such backward concepts of black people, but it’s worse when the ignorance comes from members of your own race.

Clara Disi
Guest

I think it’s funny your said “Regular Black” because my best friend and I use the word “RBs” to describe African Americans. Africans have a look and I myself can spot a full Nigerian from anywhere. I think maybe because there are so many looks to Africa and most people from the specific countries can only spot their own peeps so you can’t expect others to do the same so they just say you look African.

yo
Guest
yo

People are so diverse in Africa from the darkest to the lightest. And I’m not even talking about those who are mixed. People need to do some research and educate themselves,really

dEB
Guest
dEB

africans come in all colors. There are white africans as well.

ChellBellz
Guest

I’m West Indian which to me is just another way of saying my African Ancestors were dropped off somewhere else. I never understood why a African American couldn’t embrace that they are of African Descent. this “regular” black I get it, okay if you were born in America and have deep roots nine times out of time there was some mixing and mingling and loss of identity. I’m fully aware that people have different looks but when it boils down to it, people get on my nerves when speaking of Africa as a whole country. To refer to you as… Read more »

ChellBellz
Guest

I’m reading more and more comments and I’m truely understanding the throught process of my grandfather so many of you who can relate to this story prove his theory right, and “some” Black Americans need to pick up a book and start researching their backgrounds maybe to give them an identity. It’s funny because my friends of different colors would never give up and say oh I’m Regular Indian, Chinese, Japanese…if they know where their family is from they rep it, not matter how many generations have lived here. But i also wonder if Black Americans since they just don’t… Read more »

Bishop Corbett
Guest
Bishop Corbett

After reading these blogs, I just had to chime in. No, I am NOT satisfied, as a Black “African‐American” that I don’t know where my ancestry begins. I have always said that my heritage was either stolen by the White man or sold by the black African. I have many African friends and I am truly jealous of them. I am jealous because they can reach back hundreds, thousands of years and know their history. Mine was cut off when my Great‐great‐great‐great grandparents set foot on this land. One day, I hope to visit Africa, I don’t care what continent… Read more »

dvine
Guest
dvine

i’m african‐american and i’m just considered black.. lol.. you are from the “MOTHERLAND” so maybe that’s why ppl are so amazed.. you actually have a culture and a language.. I feel like we were robbed of that..

Haymanot
Guest
Haymanot

I’m Ethiopian and I’ve heard it all…It used to bother me when people tell me that I cannot be African and attempt to come up with what I really am. LOL..but now I simply try to educate everybody that I happen to interact with that questions my ancestry, especially for African Americans who have been for hundreds of years denied their connection to Africa.

imcafeaulait
Guest
imcafeaulait

@BishopCorbett The thing is, with MOST of us “African‐Americans” is by the time we get to this current generation of “blacks” that have, who’ve had 5–6 (or 7)generations here, we are likely mixed up with SO MANY DIFFERENT cultures and nationalities that we are no longer just “African” Americans. Most of us have some part Native American, some French, German, Irish, Italian, to the Caribbean and further south, etc. This is why our president spoke so much truth when he said we are literally “mongrels”… Almost NO two “African” American families can claim the exact same heritage/ethnic lineage.… That’s the… Read more »

Romy
Guest

Dalu Geraldine Amakihe!

I enjoy reading your post and I am happy you wrote about this topic at BGLH.

Abbie
Guest
Abbie

no none has ever asked me if i’m african. I’m very dark full lips the nose, butt and hips.but people don’t believe im Yoruba Nigerian. But my hair is grows fast. People (mainly africans) assume I’m Senegalese or Hausa. and my family joke and a say i have “indian hair”

I’ve always understood the difference between the people groups in africa. and an Ethiopian look as African as a Ghanaian

Shukura
Guest

finally
a great post

a real post

thankyou

Barbara
Guest
Barbara

I can related to what she is saying. My parents are from Ghana but I myself was born in the states. Most people think I am black american but when they find out my parents are from Ghana then all of a sudden they see the “African” features in me. Some people have told me, “You are not black black”. I have never heard the term “black black” before. Both black americans and non black people look at me differently after they find out I am Ghanaian American. I don’t get it. I was born and raised in the states.… Read more »

Shelly
Guest
Shelly

Good Afternoon to all, I think that everyone needs to remember that BLACK is a color just like white, not a race. The next thing we should all remember is that every person that looks black do not come from Africa. Please have a wonderful day.

kechy
Guest

@maria, Charlize Thereon is a face of Africa. just because she is WHITE doesn’t mean she is not. its like saying that it is an insult for all other races except the Native Americans to be considered American. she is an African. I am a Nigerian and I take offence to people thinking that every other race except black isn’t African. this is 2010 people. we to starting accepting the fact that no one race owns a particular geographical region as much as they want to.

great post by the way

telle
Guest
telle

@kechy well we are not accepted in europe! Britain is the only country that recognizes africans born in the uk as british. the rest like germany, italy, france etc still call us DIRTY negro inmmigrants and other things! they always say we don’t belong here! well i’m not saying the british are not racist! but anyway why do we have to accept caucasians as africans just because they grew up in africa?? when they don’t accept us or acknowledge us no matter how good we are at what we do? why do we have to justify them? and i don’t… Read more »

telle
Guest
telle

one thing that worries me about some of these comments is that most african kids born in the states and in europe call themselves more european or more american than african! i am zimbabwean and my name is french i hate it because i am african not french… 100% african no matter where i grew up! integration doesn’t mean forgetting where you come from. you don’t see white men with african names! yes just let them take over! we have already lost our customs and traditions! they keep theirs alive! wake up africans!

seekandushallalwaysfind
Guest
seekandushallalwaysfind

The problem with black Americans identifying with Africa is that it’s not a “natural” thing. It is something that we must consciously remember to “keep alive” within ourselves. If most of us were to go by how we feel on a day‐to‐day basis, we would not feel any authentic connection to Africa, at all. Additionally, most blacks in America have not a clue where in Africa their ancestry originates. I remember when I was growing up, and from what I gathered, most of the adults around me were under the impression that Africans did not identify with (and shunned) American… Read more »

trackback

[…] “Oh! So, THAT explains your features!” […]

Olivia Amakihe
Guest
Olivia Amakihe

Wonderful post Geraldine..it introduced a subject that should be discussed more often and also created an interesting dialogue judging by all the comments. Great Job sis!

b.
Guest
b.

@ seekandushallalwaysfind

+1

LaughingEyes
Guest
LaughingEyes

i am a Motswana student in Canada, BC. through the cooperative education programme my uni offers to its students, i have first hand experiences with student life across campuses‐the highs and the low associated with my heritage‐ what in some circles is referred to as africanism, blackness, exoticism, or alienism. you cannot fathom the depth of the last statement but before i explain what i mean by that and tie it to the topic at hand, let me first extent a heartfelt apology to Mek on behalf of that individual for his careless use of words. Mek wrote, “My most… Read more »

kechy
Guest

@telle, i understand what you’re saying and i do know a lot about SA and Africa as a whole and i am an active supporter of all things African to the extent that I’ve dropped my foreign name because i feel i don’t need it. yes, it is true that most European countries see the blacks/Africans there as dirty immigrants but why should we do the same here. why don’t we be the bigger people and accept them even though we are 100% certain that they are too stupid and ignorant to understand and accept that we are all human… Read more »

trackback

[…] read an article from BGLH Online called “what does it mean to look African,” and I just agree with everything the author […]

Lamariposanegra
Guest

@ Sheal. You know what else is ignorant? That people think that Native Americans were all wiped out and that there aren’t anymore Natives here in the US. *Sigh*

Lamariposanegra
Guest

@ChellBellz African Americans haven’t lost their African‐ness because of mixing. Yes mixing went on, but during slavery Africans weren’t allowed to speak their native languages or hold on to any cultural identity they had from their countries because slave owners knew that if they didn’t have their culture they would truly be a broken people and better for enslavement. There was also no record of where each individual slave was from. Why would there be? They didn’t care as long as they had one to work their crops. So how about you open up a history book.

TAB
Guest
TAB

Totally posting late here but I can totally relate to the OP. I’m from Kenya, now in the U.S., and I’m constantly told here that I don’t “look” or “sound” African. I look more like Liya Kebede w/r/t features and complexion than Alek Wek. It’s funny how people who’ve never set foot anywhere on the continent feel qualified to decide who looks “African.” It is refreshing to see so many BGLH posters who understand that we come in a wide variety of skin tones, hair textures, facial features and body types … without twisting our desire not to be stereotyped… Read more »

dami
Guest
dami

I have had this problem all through out my school up till now..people dont have the decency to ask about my background so they just write me off as just being black in colour and nothing else. I am nigerian both parents are fully. people have thought that i am half indian and half ‘black’..or somalian or carriabean. all which i dont mind, but having such defined features doesnt mean that your not african, puh‐lease dont argue with what i do know.

kona
Guest
kona

“are you AFRICAN?” I am darkskinned with very high cheekbones, full lips, a fleshy nose, and almond eyes. I am African‐American, meaning my parents and grandparents are Black and were born here in America. Growing up, people told me I looked African or joked about me being African, because they associated that identity with ugliness. I was never called ugly though, some ppl even told me I look like an African princess. And other people who are African have asked me where I am from. People still ask me am I African. I don’t hate the fact that they ask… Read more »

selena
Guest
selena

I am born black in America; my father is scot/irish & African American, my mother is African‐American, light‐skinned, european features. Get over this nonsense! The 1 drop rule still reigns. If you’re mixed you not IN as anything other than your dominant race which will always trump your precious “mixtures.” I have aquiline features and my skin color is called “beige”, a ridiculous description of a skin color. More like ginger according to a photographer/artist whose judgement I trust. I identify as an “African‐derived” person. I almost NEVER mention my mixtures. I also hate the fact that Europeans have so… Read more »

okunoba
Guest
okunoba

I got into a heated conversation with my somalian friend today about what is considered an African look. According to her, African look is when u are dark, with nappy or tuff hair and flat nose. I was not only shocked but also appalled that these narrow discription was coming from a fellow African. I tried to tell her that Africa as many diverse looks and that it was wrong to put the look of a whole continent into one basket of the bantu look. I think she was trying to say East and North Africans don‘t look like Africans… Read more »

Amaka
Guest

That’s so stupid she would think that bing a Nigerian girl with east African friends I noticed how they want to look so white sometimes it’s funny cuz whites don’t even want them n when they come to America they are still referred to as that African stopp denyng Ur history jare!

Raquel
Guest
Raquel

I don’t think it’s shame. I’m Ethiopian, I think it’s genuinely the way others treat you and without realizing it you embody it. I’ve heard my whole life: “you’re African? Wow you’re beautiful” “Ethiopian women are the most beautiful of Africa” “You guys are watered down Africans” (my Nigerian teachers) And this isn’t even from White people, who honestly cannot tell the difference. It’s rather from Black people in America who exoticize us. I’m not one to allow such backward thinking to affect my self‐image, but not everyone is as evolved. Also, NO ONE in East Africa thinks they are… Read more »

Yaasha
Guest
Yaasha

I am both Ethiopian and Black American, but I am most often perceived as Ethiopian by other Africans and those familiar with the stereotypical Ethiopian look. From everyone else, I always get the question, “What are you mixed with?” It’s something that never ceases to annoy me because it shows just how much Americans, both black and white, have a very narrow concept of blackness in general, let alone a concept of “African“ness. People find it hard to believe that there s such a thing as a light‐skinned Nigerian, or that a black person can have a loose curl pattern… Read more »

Kurly Kels
Guest

I’ve been told for many years that I “look african” and I think it means 1 of 3 things. First off, the person could be plain‐out ignorant and can’t tell black people (for the lack of a better term)from African people. Secondly, they might be refering to the way one might carry themselves with pride and dignity. Thirdly, the truly ignorant use it as an insult to say you look dark and rough. Personally, I don’t care what they mean by it nor am I insulted or flattered. Plainly-put..I’m NOT African. If I were African maybe I’d care about whatever… Read more »

wini
Guest

Your right Kurly.… i was told i looked African by 2 members in my church! my reply was ‘well we are all African descendents!’ And yes while I am not insulted or flattered… i am finding it as irritating as hell! Hence this reply.… I’m not dark, not rough as the above reply quoted, I had just sang a solo was being served in the kitchen, was having a conversation about going to Jamaica for a holiday.…2 people members suddenly piped up.…’we thought u were African!’ I couldn’t believe it!! Maybe there were other factors that irritate people — who… Read more »

DeeJ085
Guest
DeeJ085

I agree that people, even I’m guilty of making assumptions about African features. Some Africans from certain countries don’t look any different from African Americans. Then there are some Africans that have distinct features according to what country they’re from. I hear alot that I look Ethiopian which I’m not offended by, but my family is not Ethiopian, we’re Americans. I have a pointy nose, high cheek bones, and almond shaped eyes and I guess that means African to some. But black people no matter what our nationality have a million different complexions, features and hair types. Some people are… Read more »

MK
Guest
MK

This article is very well written in that it captures the way that Africa is still today viewed as a homogeneous mass not the diverse CONTINENT with more than 50 countries! As an African I find it surprising how some people say: “you don’t look African” and fail to see it as essentially an insult smdh I guess the only way to overcome such ignorance is as my lecturer put it is to ‘demystify’ Africa and the myths associated with it, of course the media images of Africa do not help as the words “starving” and “poor” have become synonymous… Read more »

Vickytoya
Guest
Vickytoya

It’s funny because I always get Africans who come up to me and tell me that I look African and I don’t look American. They say I don’t act like I’m American because I’m really nice, polite, smart and set a positive example. I’m like Whaaaaa? Are you friggin serious..lol. They don’t seem to realize that America is a melting pot of cultures. And there are plenty of positive respectful people in America I know plenty of them.lol. I just find it funny.

Tia
Guest
Tia

i so agree sis, i guess we both have our stereotypes about each other ( continental africans and African American). i get the same thing.

Happykinks
Guest
Happykinks

Many people think that im not African in fact I have had one person who tried to correct me saying that I am African American, well in a way, yes, because I was born in America, but I refuse to classify myself as that. I am NIGERIAN not African American and I would never see myself as African American due to the culture differences. If I go to Nigeria, I have family there, we speak Igbo, wear different attire, eat different foods and have traditions that tie a stronger knot within our family. And if I say I am African… Read more »

Amakaamakaobiechie
Guest

Yessss oh preach I hate when my friends are like no Ur African American like we are I’m like no I’m Nigerian two different things!

Lucy
Guest
Lucy

I am African American (meaning that my African ancestors were stolen from Africa and brought here to America). Altough I don’t have a problem saying I’m African American I wish I knew which country/tribe I descended from. I agree with you HappyKinks when you say you’re Nigerian and not African American because you have solid connections to your Nigerian culture — and that is very important. As an African American I have strong connections to the American culture; Yes I love it and I love being American but I also wish I could have connections to my African culture.

Mira
Guest
Mira

ALOT of people are filled with ignorance. they just need help getting out of the closeth and exploring what they dont know 🙂

Gerald
Guest
Gerald

I am an African‐American male that just happen by and I love the posting and the video. What I like best is the pride you have in self you are wise beyond your years.

Tia
Guest
Tia

What the hell is “regular ” black! lol please tell me, the pereson who made that statement is so ignorant about Africa and themselves. Africa is sooo diverse, its a shame that people think there is “one way ” to look African as you described. I am AA and i can pretty much tell when someone is African, mind you it isn’t always their “look” but it can also be how they carry themselves, for instance, it seems more Africans use oils than perfumes as fragrance.Africans often look more “serious” and its just something i sometimes know by living around… Read more »

Stock Image
Guest

This is really interesting, You’re an overly skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and stay up for searching for extra of your magnificent post. Additionally, I’ve shared your website in my social networks

Nichole
Guest
Nichole

Everyone that is Black is of African heritage. Separating Blacks into groups based on where they are from just makes Black as a people more separated.

May
Guest
May

That is definitely not true. There are people in Asia who have been living there for thousands of years that are coal‐black. That doesn’t mean Africans are more related to them than to e.g. fellow Europeans. The natural color of your skin is determined by how persistently your ancestors were exposed to UVB sun rays, nothing else. There is no “Black as a people”. There are more than 3300 ethnic groups in Africa alone! Look at their genetic profiles and you’ll see the similarities are only skin deep. To divide the human species into subspecies and subsubspecies based on something… Read more »

Onyedi
Guest
Onyedi

I can’t begin to say how many times I’ve dealt with the “OMG you’re African?” “You don’t look African”…Or the “You’re pretty for an African” (I guess that’s supposed to be a compliment?). Despite being born in America, I’ve never hesitated to let any one know that I’m Nigerian, or to be more specific Igbo. Those roots are what define me. It irritates me how the ignorance and misconceptions about Africa as a whole and Africans still prevail to date. When people learn we have high rise buildings and high‐ways in Nigeria, along with cars and houses that would rival… Read more »

Patience
Guest
Patience

People can be so ignorant . Africa is a diverse continent , so African comes in different Shades. I am Liberian ‚and when I tell peopel that I am African they are shocked, their first response is you don’t look African I thought you were from the Island. They always assumed that My mom and i are from the Island. I ask someone that last time what she meant that I did not look African ‚and she said my features were not like the average African that she encounter.

Adeola
Guest
Adeola

I have always been told that I do not look African and I get told this just because of the simple fact I have small facial feature. Even with my very African name people still never guess I’m African they say you can’t be Nigerian or you don’t look it. I think to myself I do look African because I’m African and this is what me as an African looks like I am 100 % Nigerian just born and raised in England.

JMS
Guest
JMS

Brilliant artlce and very well put forward.We need more educational artlices like this. The problem is with media they like to DEFINE how we see life and how we should act etc… Once a stereotype is shown to you it is HARD to forget it.The key is to have an open mind and not be so set in our ways and mindsets and to replace what the media says with the truth. John 8:32 — “and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” I am of Congolese descent and have been told that i don’t… Read more »

Zoe
Guest
Zoe

I’m half African (2nd generation)and half white — and it’s funny because when I tell other Africans that I am Cameroonian they question me because of my lighter complexion. Africa, though, is the most diverse continent in the world. The word “African” is pretty vast and undefinable. With the people of Africa alone, it would be possible to repopulate the entire globe. It’s where human life originated. I agree — it’s ridiculous to say someone does or doesn’t “look African.” EVERYONE is African deep down.

Nalia
Guest
Nalia

I am proud to be African.

Cacey
Guest
Cacey

well, if i see someone who has what i perceive to be west african features, then usually i’m spot on when i assume they must be from west africa. there are african guys in the math department at my college, and they “LOOK” african. So i wasn’t surprised to find that when they introduced themselves, their last names (and accents) confirmed what their phenotypes had already proclaimed loud and clear. So i mean, let’s not act brand new. When someone says someone looks african, we all know what they mean. It doesn’t mean anyone is hating or saying someone looks… Read more »

Monique
Guest
Monique

I am African. My mother is from South Africa (the country not the region)and my father is from Ghana. I suppose I have had the exact opposite reaction of most here that have posted. I have always been told that I don’t look African and I take it as an insult. This is upsetting to me because I have always been the odd ball in my group of African friends always having to prove that I am African to outsiders who think I am trying to be African by hanging with Africans. Weird! I associate “looking African” with looking exotic.… Read more »

sierra
Guest
sierra

if you think its negative then its negative. but if you know being african doesnt really have that much to do with your features, then why gie it the time of day. most people dont mean any harm when making such remarks

Dara-Nilaja
Guest
Dara-Nilaja

The fact that we are even having this conversation is disappointing. It makes you realize that no matter how good you are as a person, you are only judged by aesthetics. People around the world are being programmed…They are being fed images of what our ‘Black” culture is really about. How can this be an insult when people of Africa are the most resilient, strong, diverse, beautiful, and driven people on the planet. As an African American woman, I feel a bit cheated because I know I am a ‘hybrid’ African. I wish I could claim Africa to be my… Read more »

t.a.r.
Guest
t.a.r.

I appreciate this article.
It reminds me of the ignorance of a phrase I truly hate to hear or read: “she looks like a white girl dipped in chocolate.”

zebra skins
Guest

I simply wished to appreciate you yet again. I am not sure the things that I might have accomplished without the type of suggestions shown by you on such a problem. It previously was a traumatic issue in my opinion, but looking at a expert style you dealt with the issue took me to jump over happiness. Now i’m thankful for your assistance and then trust you really know what a great job you are putting in instructing the others using your webpage. I’m certain you haven’t come across any of us.

Anna
Guest
Anna

I love being African American! Wouldnt change it for anything in this world. My mother is from Nigeria, the way we can tell if someone else is nigerian is by facial characteristic, high cheek bones is a big one. If i’m in a cab and the guy ask are you Nigerian? it’s a great feeling to know that I’m distinguished amongst everyone else and at that moment i have a bond with my brother and we carry on conversations about food and family. Wether we are from the same country or not I believe we have a bond with our… Read more »

Nix
Guest
Nix

As the author indicated, there is no universal “Nigerian look”, so high cheekbones are not the dead giveaway you believe them to be. I’m Nigerian as well, with one Igbo parent parent and one Yoruba parent, and I pretty much look like everybody; I’ve been told I look Fulani, Igbo, South African, African American, and others I no longer remember. I always try to explain to those who need the education that Africa today is pretty much like black America today–in some places, there’s been some blending.

trackback

[…] healthcare professional, makeup artist, and newbie blogger. You might recognize my article, What Does it Mean to Look African. I’m from Atlanta, Georgia, but I currently live and work in […]

charm
Guest
charm

i always get that i don’t look african by non‐blacks and blacks alike and honestly it disappoints me, its a sick stereotype that is carried that all africans have a “LOOK”, when africa is a continent with over 20 countries each one with people and tribes with different facial features and colours.

Paree
Guest
Paree

I’m Cajun but a lot of my black and African friends think I’m ethiopian or of ethiopian decent. It upsets me when non‐black/African people say I don’t look african. I love that I am ethiopian decent and I say I am Cajun because I’m not one thing, I’m acknowledging all my heritage. And when I hang out with people who are from Africa there is kind of a bond, and we can relate. It’s hard and frustrating because my family isn’t very american, and we aren’t very african we’re caught in the middle. However it does make things a little… Read more »

testdomain
Guest

Some really nice and utilitarian information on this internet site, too I believe the pattern has got excellent features.

yallahs
Guest
yallahs

interesting perspective. i am afro‐am and i always have ppl telling me that i can’t be american and i must be from africa. i simply don’t get it.

Saye
Guest
Saye

I am an African American with direct roots to Liberia, West Africa. You wrote a very good article. People have said that I didn’t look African. Africa is a diverse continent and Africans vary in skin tones, hair textures, and facial features. For example, you may see a person who looks like they are from East/Horn of Africa but they may actually be a West African. Or you may find someone who looks like they are West African but they are really from Central Africa.

Hi there
Guest
Hi there

Ive never seen someone from west african who looks east african. But Ive seen eastafricans who look like west africans. Fase wise though Because we arent built like west africans. We have more slender or smaller bodies usually. I guess its similar to westerners and asians. Asians are built smaller than europeans. Maybe western people are larger in general. I envy west africans because they dont seem to age and out of all west africans i find nigerians are the nicest to me.

CocoaGoddess
Guest
CocoaGoddess

Aw thanks, im nigerian. Where are you from?

Naila Mollel-Matodzi
Guest
Naila Mollel-Matodzi

Thank you for a very good article.
These kinds of stereotypes even amongst Africans either encourage the wrong kind of pride or lead to low self esteem.
In the age of technology it baffles me why people are still ignorant on various African features.

Claudette UK
Guest
Claudette UK

There is a lot of ignorance in the diaspora and as someone who is born in England to West Indian parents we thought we knew what Africans looked like until the recent influx of Africans, which shows the diversity of shades, features and hair textures. We are one people.

Orders Process in 1 Business Day. Free Shipping on Orders $60 and Up. Dismiss

Shopping Cart