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Embracing the Hyphen

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Photo By Roxanne Campbell

Today, one of the most discussed developments among black students at the  University of Virginia has  been the rise in the number of second generation Africans enrolled at the University.   This has resulted in the coming together of what scholar Paul Zeleza refers to as historical and contemporary African diasporas.   Over the past year, many self-identified African students have shared their experiences and raised fascinating questions about how these new demographic realities might transform the ways in which we conceptualize diaspora, community, the future of Africana studies, etc.  A brief sampling of their thoughts are in the video below. Though some folk look at change as  problematic, we embrace the exciting political and cultural opportunities that lay ahead.  With that in mind, the following two quotes offer much food for thought:

 

“Diaspora is simultaneously a state of being a a process of becoming.”

“It is fashioned as much in the fluid and messy contexts of social experience, differentiation and struggle, and through the transnational circuits of exchange of diasporic resources and repertoires of power, as in the discourse of the intellectuals and political elites.”  Paul Zeleza

“In America it is crucial that Africans, African Americans, and Caribbean peoples open up a dialogue about identity. The political, social, and economic benefits of an all-inclusive African American racial identity would make an enormous difference to the lives of everyone. It would require broadening the agenda of Black America to include the interests of African immigrants. “ Msia Kabona Clark

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