Ignorance to My African-American Identity

Courtesy of Answers Africa

Being an African American teenager in the United States, I’ve been subjected to lots of stereotyping growing up. My parents were both born in Uganda, Africa, and came here to get an education and form a family. I’m blessed to have grown up in a cultured environment and know people of several different races and beliefs; however, many people aren’t as lucky or just fail to educate themselves enough not to stereotype others.

I remember being turned to when the topic of slavery was first discussed just because I’m black and everyone knew that my parents were African. Those ignorant people failed to realize that Africa is a continent with 54 different countries; the one that I am from has several different tribes, each of which has different cultures of its own.

One time a boy came up to me and started making clicking and clucking noises and asked me if I understood what he was saying, despite the fact that I can’t even speak my native language, and that that isn’t even how it is spoken. It just goes to show how little people allow themselves to know.

I’ve even had people stereotype other races to me, making jokes about how a certain girl must be incredibly smart just because she’s Asian or that all black people behave inappropriately or speak with incorrect grammar. Stereotypes have always been a serious issue in the world, and will continue to be unless people learn to judge each other based on personal characteristics alone.

-Bona Zabasajja