African American and African relations is quite a complicated one, they do not really have a good relationship with each other due to a lack of understanding of themselves. According to US Census figures, the population of all blacks living in the United States is about 13.3% of the total US population and is estimated at 43 million people. The population of the blacks is made up of 94 percent black Americans, 4.4% Afro-Caribbeans and 1.7% Africans.

Africans and African Americans mainly understand each other only through what they see and hear on television, the internet and print media. This has given rise to many wrong negative preconceived notions of each other.

For instance, black Americans are portrayed in movies as criminals, gangsters, prostitutes and the like are shown to be very lazy, Africans who have never been to the US simply swallow this information whole and choose to distance themselves from the black Americans. Africans have also been portrayed by the western media as been backward, uneducated and primitive; sometimes even as cannibals.

Some Africans believe their accent causes African-Americans look down on them and this fuels the division.  African Americans also feel disrespected by immigrant Africans who tend to look down on them based on their low level of education and wastage of opportunities.

There is also the issue of class, according to US for Research on Immigration Policy 1990 statistics, the median household income of an African immigrant was $30,907 while that of black Americans is $19,533. About 47 percent of African immigrants are college graduates and 22 percent are professionals compared to only 14 percent of the black American population who have college degrees. This has made some Africans look down on African Americans and this increases the divide.

All these factors cause both groups to distance themselves from each other. Research has shown that a major reason why African Americans and Africans don’t get along is because Africans do not understand what the black Americans passed through during the era of slavery and so relate freely with white people which upsets some black Americans. Afro Americans also don’t understand what Africans have passed through back home.

African Americans seem to have embraced some African cultures such as wearing African traditional wears like Kente cloth but just because they share a similar complexion does not lead to automatic friendship.

Both groups have not been able to communicate with each other to share their significantly different experiences and histories and thus fail to create lasting relationships.

This division between black Americans and Africans has cost both sides a lot; it has prevented Africans from getting many opportunities in the US, it has prevented black Americans from keying into the economic prosperity Africa offers and lots more.

Africans and African Americans need to come together, understand and embrace their cultural and historic differences in order to forge ahead. It is only when they do that that they will forge ahead, succeed and eliminate poverty which is currently plaguing the black race.

Common Questions and Answers about African and African American Relationship

Why don’t Africans like African Americans/Do Africans like black Americans?

Africans and African Americans have a complicated relationship which some people interpret to mean that that they do not like each other. The reality is that they do not understand each other and hence do not relate well but that doesn’t mean they dislike each other.

Africans vs Black Americans?

I saw this in the Google search suggested ideas and was wondering why someone would ask that. Africans and Black Americans are not against each other although there have been and still are some little tensions between them.  Contrasts have already been discussed.

How do Africans feel about African Americans/What do Africans think of black Americans?

Majority of Africans’ feelings towards black Americans are influenced by what they see in Hollywood movies. They feel all black Americans are violent, lazy and sometimes crazy people as depicted in most movies but this is not true.

Difference between blacks and African Americans?

There are a number of differences between Africans and African Americans some of which are:

Color: Africans tend to be very dark skinned due to the hot temperature of Africa while Black Americans are generally lighter skinned than Africans as the temperature in the US is cooler. There is also the fact that some African migrants married white American women which gave rise to a mixture of colors and lighter skinned African Americans.

Body Build: African Americans tend to be bigger in stature than native Africans

Accent: As a result of environmental factors, African Americans have an accent which is a blend of African and American accents while Africans have a thick, heavy accent.

Culture and Traditions: Africans have a rich culture which they inherited from their ancestors and still practice most of them till today while African Americans do not really have a defined culture as they are not originally from America.

Language: Africans belong to different ethnic groups, each with their own language. African Americans speak only English.

Foods: Africans have many different foods while African Americans have a limited variety of foods.

Difference between African/Black and African American culture?

There are a lot of differences between both cultures as African Americans have adapted to the western way of life while Africans still practice ancient traditions passed down from generation to generation. Examples of such differences are seen in the following:

  1. Greeting: Africans greet very differently from Black Americans. Africans tend to greet a lot, they have many different greetings for different situations and in many African cultures, young people bow or kneel when greeting elderly people while Black Americans simply greet the American way with a “Wassup”, “Hi”, “Hello”, etc.
  2. Dressing: Africans dress in their traditional attires most of the time in wears such as the Kente cloth, Ankara, etc while the Black Americans dress in western styles with Jeans trousers, T-shirts and the like.
  3. Respect: Africans are very respectful people as this has been the tradition passed down since the time of their ancestors, Age plays a very important role in African culture as older people are given a lot of respect by younger people. Black Americans on the other hand have been influenced by western culture which does not care much about respect.
  4. Burials: Burial ceremonies in Africa are usually elaborate with many funeral rites performed and sometimes with eating and drinking included. African American burial ceremonies are usually done in the simple western way without any big ceremony.
  5. Child Naming Ceremonies: Africans usually throw big parties to celebrate the arrival of their children to the world while African Americans do not roll that way.
  6. Marriages: Marriages in Africa are usually a very big deal in many cultures, a man who wishes to marry an African man’s daughter must visit her family in the company of his family members and with some food items and drinks to ask for her hand in marriage.

If the family of the girl agrees that the man can marry their daughter, a wedding date is fixed and a large traditional ceremony is held with traditional rites performed. Additionally, depending on the religion of the couple, a Church or Islamic wedding is also done after the traditional one with a lot of celebration and feasting with lots of people invited.

African American weddings tend to happen in the simple American way with the man and woman informing their parents and proceeding to get married in a church or court wedding sometimes with big celebrations or just a small party with few invited guests.

  1. Festivals: Africans have lots of festivals held at different times of the year to celebrate many different things, some popular examples are New Yam festivals, Fishing festivals, etc while black Americans have few festivals.

Black Americans are not African/Are Africans and African Americans the same?

Black Americans or African Americans as the name suggests means a person who is partly African and partly American while Africans are fully African. Therefore they share an identity but are not the same. Africans and African-Americans also have two very different and distinct cultures.

Are Africans and African Americans divided?

Yes they are to a certain extent. This division is as a result of several factors such as different histories, cultures and beliefs.

Are African Americans from Africa?

Yes, all African Americans have at least one ancestor from Africa.

Why do African Americans look different from Africans?

African Americans look different from Africans due to a number of reasons already discussed above such as environmental adaptation and intermarriage with whites.


  1. Africans have got a better memory of the past. They know well the circumstances how their folks had gone to other countries and by what means. The powerful and clever did not go. And now these people come back and give the Africans lessons on taxation, public procurement and democratic rule. Of course, they are not amused.
    On the other side, the Afro Americans when coming to the land of their forefathers are amazed at the way of life they are having there.
    Whatever the present complex relations time will work for both sides.
    Only one situation puzzles me. That is the situation of music. The Americans have had huge and immense gains from the music which has got its origin in Africa. No jazz worldwide, if there had not been the music from the Africans. Why not ask the Americans for paying royalties? At least 3,7 % of all turnover made by jazz in the USA and the rest of the world in the past and future should be paid to the African nations, based upon the size of their population. The perverse situation is that music corporations from the USA and other countries visit remote places in Africa, find there patterns and melodies of unique music, return to their homes, play this unknown music as their own and demand royalties from African nations when their radio stations bring this kind of pure African music.

  2. These comparisons of Africans and African Americans is both inaccurate and offensive. Let us understand that African Americans doesn’t represent one tribe/ethnic group but is a blend of multiple tribes/ethnic groups. That was brought to the Western world against their will. No one group is any more African than the other. If an African lion is subdued and transported to an American zoo, it remains an African lion by identification. If that lion decides to give birth to cubs, her cubs will also remains as Africans by identification.


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