What is African?

One out of two people is likely to argue about what makes a valid African. This is generally an open-ended question because the questions can be answered in many ways, most of which are valid. Some of the things that come to the mind of many people when confronted with this question are prime nature, primordial, tribalism, atrophy, black, etc. This could be a major misconception because people with Arabic, Asian, European, the diaspora outside Africa and often those with mixed ancestries are conveniently excluded in context of what is African. There are few ways to which one can approach to answer this question. Valid arguments can be drawn from stages in evolution, or from periods influenced by western civilization, or preceding revolutions. These views are valid in each case but are also borne with extremely complex explanation. This is by no doubt a rigorous commitment.

To simplify, an African is an indigene, or inhabitant, any person borne with ancestral heritage from Africa. African Views is focused on the inextricable proprium that contextualizes what bears African elements and heritages everywhere, including current indigenes of Africa, African diaspora, emigrants, people with mixed heritages that includes African, and all those related either by genotypes or by phenotypes.

The diversity of people of African ancestry is a magnificent one. Perhaps one of the most powerful and least utilized strength of ties so far. This includes the indigenes, inhabitants, and the relatives connected by genotype or phenotype who constitute the Africans anywhere in the world. In many cases, we often hyphenate the nationalities to which an individual or a group belongs, such as African American. This is useful on many levels but not ultimately determinant in context of being African. The question arises though when confronted with an African who has a full European ancestry and now has been naturalized as a new citizen of the United States of America. Is this person now an African American? Many would argue that is incorrect. If this person is patriotic to his sub recent heritage he or she may want to claim being African, or might not even be unable to divorce themselves from being African in their character and mentality.

It is evident that we cannot know humanity unless we know that the body is perfected by the being and has existence according to its spirit. This is the meeting ground between the inner and the outer reality. The principle of sufficient reason states that every being has its own reason for existing. Principle of contradiction or non-contradiction affirms that the same thing cannot at the same be and not be. The same thing cannot be affirmed and denied of itself at the same time under same respect. Principle of Excluded Middle states that a thing is or it is not. Between being and non-being existence and non-existence there are no mediums. Between contradictions there are no means. Principle of Agreement asserts that things that are identical with the same thing are identical with each other. Two things, which agree with a third thing, agree with each other.

All these values are basically inextricable from the unique quality of Americanism. It would be expected, because America is a place, that people who are indigenous will by nature and acculturation possess or embody these qualities. This makes the American system great, predominant, and attractive among other things. These sets of values become a nature that is inherent with most American born citizens and it is usually those values that many immigrants in America embrace. It is this very thing that is unique and has endured ultimately as the authenticity of Americanism and the American spirit. It is what is known by politicians as the American way of life.

In his presidential address to APA convention, Chicago, May 1957, Francis J. Braceland said: “ In light of history this new Freudian psychology heralded the end of purely mechanistic concept of man... no one approach to psychiatric disorder can claim a monopoly upon wisdom, understanding and therapeutic efficiency... we spouse a comprehensive form of psychiatry and ... integration is the watchword in our emphasis... the net result of the evidence (from all branches of study) under scorer the need to approach psychological problems from the humanistic point of view, which affirms man's spiritual nature.” In the context of Americanism and the American spirit, man is not void of its primordial state of existence. We can argue about evolutionary improvement or advancement of civilization. But an American of European heritage can not void that its primordial existence any more or less than Africans in America. Although, the route, vehicle and purpose of American journey may have been different initially, the genealogical consequence is essentially equal on the aggregate. European Americans are of mixed European cultural heritage as much as African Americans, so are the Asians or people of the Americas. A similar example can be made of someone born into a Jewish heritage. That primordial existence sticks according to the rules of the culture. This makes it possible for a Russian to be Jewish as much as an American or an Israeli. So, in context of what is African, an African American is not much different from a Brazilian of African ancestry or to an Algerian or a Zimbabwean, or even a Nigerian, or Haitian, or Ghanaian, or Ethiopian for that matter. The difference is nationality and some degrees of culture. That primordial existence is in short, African. Note that same primordial existence applies to Europeans everywhere as well.

Who we are can perhaps only be interpreted properly when viewed according to the historical chronology of the human events? The goal here is only to justify what is meant and understood as African, in the context of African Views. The problem of identity has plagued many people of African ancestry for a long time, nut not only in those in the western worlds, but also those in Africa and everywhere else. This problem needs to be recognized as a major obstacle to gathering appropriate constituencies and faculties required for progress. That is why African Views grapples with this difficult dilemma of identity in the context of racial healing, ethnic conflict resolution, and peace and harmony among diverse cultures -- with a rational dialogue that bears witnesses to our common senses. We hope that our discourse tends towards agreeing on a comprehensive knowledge and such understanding that will serve a lasting private and public peace.

See observing African in the context of Race in the
Heritage menu, under cultural sustainability