Have I betrayed my African roots if I’m not with an African man?

By Divine Muragijimana

Divine Muragijimana

Divine Muragijimana

Alright my African Ladies, it is time to get real with our African fellows. After a conversation a couple of days ago with some of my African guy friends, I went home thinking: if I was to marry a white man, would that make me a traitor to my “color” or my African roots?

I find the need to write about this after several conversations about African women marrying white men. I wonder if it is time for some of the African men to get a reality grip.  I mean, they can’t, and I mean, CANNOT understand why African women can possibly date, marry, or simply fall in love with anyone else but them. What puzzles me is that they truly look confused, and deeply offended by the idea of African women dating outside of the African circle, especially if said significant other is white- that simply puts them on edge.

Let me break it down a bit:

  1. Guys have you ever heard of the little black book? Maybe you thought only guys have it. Well here is a surprise for you- African Women have that little black book full of numbers. And you have probably heard this : if you as a man are not man enough to step up to the plate and treat women the way in which they know they deserve to be treated, one can rest assured, there are other names in the “black book” as well as on speed dial.

That being said and done, African men are not just competing with their village fellows any longer, the world has become a global village. So while  these African guys are fronting,  trying to get a girl who will belong in the kitchen, and find you sleepers when you get home, the African women have a little black book with numbers that roll beyond the villages and the state boundaries.  Therefore, if African men can’t get their acts together, taking African women for granted, then there are other races willing to treat the women in a manner that is becoming. (This off course applies to African Women too). This leads to my next point.

      2.  You are not in your country any longer, and even in your own continent.  Now women have a whole color scheme to pick from. If I was in Burundi, the chances of me marrying a Burundian, beautiful, dark skin man are higher than my being in this wide-world diaspora. Guys, this means you have MORE competition. So you have to adopt: Treat the women with respect, don’t take them for granted because they are African, and most importantly, women have their own careers and have their own plans that might not necessarily include you!

Need I say more on this point? Or should I mention this wonderfully well put together African man who decided that I was just what he needed and not even a week into the “dating” he had already “wifed” me (in his mind off course).  So this week, he told me I was not allowed to travel home because I was a female and could not be safe during my journey, he wanted me to be asleep by 10pm (Ha!), and he was already planning how many children we were going to have, and what he wanted to see when he got home…Needless to say, I walked out of that conversation, and out of that situation never to look back.

  1. Love is color blind. When you love someone, does it really matter what color their skin is?  Trust me fellas, if J’something of Mi Casa -(hey a girl can dream)-turned out to be Mr. Right, I won’t think twice about not marrying him because he is not dark-skinned or Burundian. Let me put it this way, if I find a guy that is of another race/ethnicity, who loves me, and I love them, and we find common ground of making a lasting commitment, then I won’t think twice to marrying him.- Even better, my parents agree.

Don’t you love dark-skin? One of my friends asked. The answer to that is I LOVE dark skin- to not love dark-skin would be like not loving my own skin- which by the way I think is fabulous. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t love another skin color.

There is a greater argument that can be made about a certain lack of respect given to African women by African men- especially if they are career-oriented. There is also an argument to be made for gender equality and such; however, these are all deep-seated issues that require their own column. So in the meantime, African guys who are compelled to complain about African women being with white men should understand that if they don’t step up to the plate, and treat African women well, or love them accordingly- someone else will. Again, the horizons are wider, and the choices are endless.

But understand that African women do not choose to not be with African men. Do I want to be with an African guy- yes. But am I going to wait for one to show up- ah…Nope. African men are not entitled to African women and vice versa. It comes down to personal decisions and preferences. You love and are with the one who loves you, and if he/she turns out to be white…then more power to them. Everyone has the right to love whoever they want and who can treat them the way they want to be treated.

Divine Muragijimana is Burundian native living in NYC, editor in chief of Applause Africa, blogger with Africa for Africa, and President of The Council of Young African Leaders (CYAL).  Twitter: @africaforafrica

  1. Revon Reply

    My Sister, this is a very complicated issue. If White Supremacy did not exist in the world, this question would not be asked.

    Our people – especially the African male – have been so denigrated by those of European descent, that we are made to appear worthless; and, in many cases, “hoochies” and clowns.

    Who defines what is “successful” and who is “successful?” It is those of European descent who have built up “their” world around them. This European-conceived world is designed to “validate” themselves as superior.

    This world they have constructed has been imposed upon us. One cannot fit a square peg into a circle. Likewise, a European-conceived world does not fit in an African brain.

    In other words, we as a people are confused because we have had our true African identity violently stripped away from us and have a European one imposed upon us.

    That being the case, we have allow it to cause us to evaluate each other and size each other up as successful, failures, or eligible by rules someone else created and we simply subscribed to them.

    My grandfather was a farmer who worked in someone elses cotton fields. He and my grandmother raised 17 children. They were poor. He had no car. No corporate job. No big bank account. Yet, I consider my grandfather a “successful” man. I do not measure him by the European-conception of success as so many of us shamefully do today. We ask the White man for everything and we even allow him to define who we are. Yes, we do this because we use his social models to do so.

    The fix: First, we need to break out of the European conceived universe of captivity we are in and learn about our true African identity and stop trying to live under a European model which is a White Supremist model that controls us and prevents us from taking an interest in our African identity. Second, we must realize – and not be naive to its existence – that White Supremacy is the number one problem in the world. Those of European descent (the nations) are on the move and determined to conquer and bring under their submission, non-White persons so as to Europeanize (Americanize) them. Thirdly, people of color must expose this disease and cancer and demand justice from it and ALL people be treated the same.

    What does this have to do with dating? No White man or White woman will understand this. Many Black men and Black women don’t understand this. A union of marriage with ANY person who does not recognize this would present problems.

    As far as I am concerned every White person in the world is a White Supremist “suspect” until White Supremacy is elimated in the world.

    Every Black man and Black woman in a relationship with a White person is a “suspect” as well until White Supremacy is eliminated.

    Every Black man and Black woman who have not come to recognize this dreaded disease of White Supremacy in the world AND who do not take it seriously, is a “suspect” as well because by not taking it seriously, allows it.

    I personally would not have a relationship (dating or marriage) with a White person. Will I become “Europeanized” will she become “Africanized?” I doubt very much if any White person would be interested in adopting an African ancestry and culture. Yet, they would expect us to remain Europeanized.

    No Black man or woman – in America or Europe – will ever get our act together until we cast off from ourselves what those of European descent have imposed upon us: Their identity.

    The world of White people MUST learn to respect our African ancestry and all just as we have “adopted” theirs. Yet, White people would rather not. They want us to continue with their European programming.

    So THEY have a much bigger problem than we (Africans) do. It is a sickness. A dysfunction.

    Rather than respecting people of ALL colors, they seek to dominate them and impose a European-conceived universe upon all.

    Look at the news, here they come. I am an African American male who lives in Africa and I “see” this evasion occurring under the guise of combatting terrorism or protecting U.S. interest.

    I wish I could undo the damage those of European descent has imposed upon us. I wish I could stop the onslaught to come.

    We are too busy tearing each other down, or “hip-hopping” or “clubbing” or “learning the latest dance moves” than looking about us to see what is going on.

    The fault is not primarily our own. We are captives to a European system and European-conceived universe that has made our vision blurred and our minds disinterested in such matters.

  2. Divine Muragijimana Reply

    When we will start taking responsibilities for ourselves and stop this cyclical blaming game?

    We cannot possibly always come to the conclusion of every argument as “the white man’s fault”. Bottom line, African men and and for that matter African women need to take responsibility.

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