Panel challenges to define cultures

“Africans vs. African Americans,” an open panel discussion, will challenge the stereotypes between Africans and American Americans

Willie Morris, president of the African Student Association and the panel’s host, said it is important to attend the panel because many myths and stereotypes about African Americans and Africans exist about each other.

The panel is at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Charleston/Mattoon Room in the Martin Luther King University Union.

Morris said Africans and African Americans share a common connection in culture but struggle to see one.

One of Morris’ friends, originally from Africa, immigrated to America.

Morris said many African Americans made fun of her because she looked and talked differently.

“I want to try to create an understanding on both sides,” he said.

Priscilla Owiredu, a senior business major, had a similar experience.

Owiredu was raised in Chicago, but her parents were born in Ghana.

Growing up, Owiredu said she was ashamed of her African culture because her classmates teased her.

Owiredu said turning 19 years old was a turning point.

“I finally became proud of my heritage,” she said.

Sammy Mbua, a senior health studies major, was born in Cameroon.

He immigrated to America at the age of 5.

Mbua returned to Cameroon for two years during high school and came back to America to finish high school in Chicago.

Mbua said he faced the ridicule of being different.

However, Mbua said he did not get mad at any particular race or ethnicity.

“It is an individual person being ignorant,” he said.

The experience of living in two different continents, Mbua said, helped him to be less judgmental and more open minded.

In Africa, he said there are many stereotypes about African Americans, but he has learned that not all of them are true.

Until he moved to Chicago, Mbua did not understand that concept.

The panel can help Africans and African Americans openly talk about stereotypes and come to an understanding.

Mbua said Africans and African Americans need to work to together.

“It is time to look toward the future,” he said.

Mbua said both groups are all Black people and should move forward together as a group.

General admission is free.

Zinika Livingston can be reached at [email protected].