I have been thinking about African American blogs that proclaim to focus on Black issues in a way that white blogs do not. I read some of these blogs everyday. And over the past few months I have grown absolutely tired of the usual manner that Africa, and Africans, are obscured and made invisible in some of these blogs.
Outside of a cursory understanding of Darfur, most African American bloggers know precious little about the continent. Not that they should by virtue of being African American or even Black. But many posture as if the continent is part of their natural terrain in the narrowly proclaimed and self-serving blackosphere. And in so doing the working assumption is that their view of Africa is more correct, and more sophisticated, than even that of African bloggers.
This is essentialist nonsense that has a long history in the sometimes contrived relations that exist between African Americans and Africans.
I want to be bold here and say I am very disturbed that many of these bloggers render Africa, and Africans, no more than imagined and impaired figments.
I decided to make this point when a very prominent blogger in the Afrospear proclaimed Bono to be a Black struggle hero. More precisely, he called Bono an "Honorary Field Negro" and I assume that he thought this to be a congratulatory position for the right kind of white man.
I wrote and asked him what he was talking about and he seemed to be stumped. He offered to rethink his position. Some of his readers then wrote in to extol Bono's virtues and the role that he plays as an agent for Africa.
One particular comment even went as far to question why Africans "come over here" and then look down on African Americans. The author of this comment also took offense because I called Bono a white-boy. She then offered a contaminated and contrived analysis of how the Irish cannot be viewed as white.
Now ain't that just f*cking bent-over, double-consciousness, genius?
I half expected that the next comment would assert that Africans are Africans only and not really Black. Thankfully, we did not get there. Yet.
Two days later the blogger made up his mind again and reconfirmed to me that Bono was indeed a struggle hero and that our differences had to be relegated to the fact that his Blacks grew up in the West, and my Blacks grew up in Africa.
The implication was that his view of what Bono meant to Africa was dictated by where Africa was conceived. And since he is in the West, Bono can be a savior for the Africa of the West.
My Africa is enigmatic to the West, including its rightly weighted African Americans, and, therefore, not really real "over here" where my birth defect has made me ignorant of the fact that Bono knows more about 'saving' my people than me, or even my people.
If this was a white man or woman talking such sh*t we would have assembled a race-riot to confront his chauvinism. But because this came from the mouth of an African American who has assumed steering priority over Blackness here in the US, and the blogosphere in general, we just let his ignorance slide.
But I ain't buying that excuse. Ever.
If I did I would just allow all ignorant bloggers to perpetrate the kind of exacting violence that colonialism started in the name of the West.
I still read some of these blogs and continue to be amazed at the manner in which the disfigurement of the continent is perpetuated among them.
Now how is this different than what most white bloggers do?