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You’re Not the Only Ones This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

I am an African European who was born in London, and it never ceases to amaze me how ignorant some people can be. Throughout my life people have always asked me how I could be black if I am British. It's almost as if they think that all Caucasians live in one country and all blacks live in another! Then I go through the process of explaining that America is not the only country where black people live.

It is actually quite simple: all black people came from Africa (if you go back to their ancestral lines). African slaves were auctioned off to owners living in many countries. So it makes sense that black people have dispersed throughout the world. For the most part, however, in American society people have accepted all black people as African-American, which I feel is a total injustice to our race. They have taken one set and made them the global stereotype for all black people in the world.

Recently I was talking to an African-American girl. She asked me if I was from England and I replied that I was. She then asked why I was black if I was British - as though the two could not be connected, which just shows how society has regressed in terms of racial profiling. The thing that I find even more troubling is that most Caucasians actually know the difference; it seems to be the African-Americans who know little about their race outside of this country. It is almost as if they have been brainwashed, focusing on the history of blacks in America, while the fact is that blacks all over the world have suffered too.

Not to discredit American civil rights leaders (like Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr.), but I think Black History Month is a fraud, since it only highlights the hardships of American blacks. Black History Month should be about the triumph and suffering of all black people in the world; otherwise they should change the name to African-American History Month. They should talk about other people, like Jamaica's Norman Manley, whose efforts led to the New Constitution of 1944 granting full adult suffrage. Or Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in jail and then became South Africa's first black president.

If you look at the big picture, the world is too preoccupied with fitting people into categories instead of trying to learn about each culture. It is very sad that this is happening, because eventually a big portion of our culture will be lost if someone doesn't do something about it.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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