Globalization trends which occurred in the nineteenth century have been perceived to have effects such as constitution and reconstitution of race. This is by transforming the world in an enormous dimension. As a result, there is a shift in the perception and meaning of skin color throughout the world (Kamari and Debora 20-379). Therefore, it is important to mention these occurrences so as to understand the existing links between contemporary processes of globalization and transnational circulations which are instrumental factors that affect existing kinds of international circulations. Globalization and transnational circulations act as a central component in explaining experiences of the African Diaspora (Kamari and Debora 20-379). The aim of this paper is to depict the importance of understanding ‘the black other’ as a component which underpins explanations and experiences of the African Diaspora. This topic is explored by analyzing the writings of Jacqueline Brown, Naomi Pabst, Jayne Ifekunigwe and Ariana Hernadez-Reguant.
Why an Understanding of the “Black Other” Is Central To Explaining the Experiences of the African Diaspora
According to Kamari and Debora’s collection of essays (written by the authors mentioned above), a firm grasp of globalization trends is crucial towards understanding the constitution and reconstitution of race. Therefore, globalization has been thought to enhance transformations in a worldwide magnitude (Kamari and Debora 200-379). In Kamari and Debora’s collection of essays, the ever shifting meaning of blackness amidst a burst of globalization is explored. As such, this exploration is an important component in understanding the link between contemporary processes of globalization and the kinds of transnational circulations which are spun by aspects of slavery and imperialism. Historically, this occurred between global conceptions of skin color (darkness) and culture (Kamari and Debora 200-379). In addition, it also occurred as a result of the work of various people such as policy makers, activists, anthropologists, religious revivalists, political figures and racial categories which were globalized and categorized. Thus race is an important analytic component to explore ‘the black other’ and to explain the experiences of the African Diaspora (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
Some essays e.g. by Jacqueline Brown, Naomi Pabst Jayne Ifekunigwe and Ariana Hernadez-Reguant in the book by Kamari and Debora in 2006 form an important component of the book and as such, the book (‘Globalization and race: Transformation in the cultural production of blackness ‘) has elucidated the formative and problematic effects of the African American populace and their identity on other populations within the African Diaspora or Black Diaspora (Kamari and Debora 200-379). The effects highlighted by the authors include insightful explorations of the impact of black America on dynamics such as politics and racism in the twentieth century (Kamari and Debora 20-379). In addition, the authors also mention experiences of Africans in the Canadian territory (Kamari and Debora 200-379). Therefore, such a vivid inquiry (depicted in the book) enables one to understand ‘the black other’ as an important component in the experiences of the blacks/Africans in the African Diaspora.
The concepts of space and race during the early times of the twenty first century in Harlem and the continued trafficking of sex workers (females) of Nigerian origin in Italy are among the factors which have been explored as effects of globalization which are experienced by blacks in the African Diaspora (Kamari and Debora 20-379). In addition, the exploration of racism in South Africa enables one to understand the effects and the persistence of racism in ‘new’ South Africa’s language, which has always been purported to be non-racial (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
However, according to Kamari and Debora, such a language (in the South African context) is regarded as one which is laden with racial undertones. Also explored by the authors are “the ways through which the Cuban timba music expresses and consumes blackness in adolescent girls of West Indian origin who are fascinated with Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (Kamari and Debora 379). In the American and London context, the exploration of how the American music was incorporated into the rap culture of Africans in London depicts a clearer understanding of the African Diaspora, its experiences, dynamics and culture (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
Therefore, the authors (aforementioned) have effectively connected race to gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion and sexuality. In this manner, their essays depict a clear revelation of the experiences of Africans in the African Diaspora. For instance, they reveal the manner in which ideology of belonging, new class economies, constructions (and presence) of social differences are continuing to emerge from the global transformations that are ever on the rise (Kamari and Debora 20-379). The manner in which the authors explore the issues (mentioned above) is a crucial asset in understanding the experiences of the ‘black other’ in the African Diaspora. This is further coupled with the enormity of globalization trends which have resulted to transnational interconnections and emergence of a global culture.
The authors also explore the experiences of African descendant immigrant groups from regions such as the Caribbean, Africa and Latin America, among other regions. Therefore, the authors explore ‘the black other’ “in a sense which is broad and diasporic and that which tends to incorporate a wide spectrum of the groups of population that comprises the African Diaspora of the current world” (Kamari and Debora 20-379). Therefore, the manner in which the authors depict darkness/blackness as a racial marker simultaneously underscores the aim of this paper whose thematic approach and component lies on the importance of understanding ‘the black other’ as a crucial aspect in exploring and understanding the emphasis put on racialized experiences of immigrants of African origin. This is amidst the attempts of such immigrants to navigate the socio-historical dynamism and particularities regarding race and racism e.g. the United States (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
According to the essay written by authors such as Jacqueline Brown, Naomi Pabst, Jayne Ifekunigwe and Ariana Hernadez-Reguant, the ‘black other’ in the African Diaspora have often found themselves in the Diaspora’s system which has racial undertones. This has configured them into one dimension as ‘black other’ within the bounds of race and the cultural logic of binary black-white racial cultures (Kamari and Debora 20-379). The immigrants of African descend (who are darker skinned) experience new dimensions of racism and racial discrimination, which goes along with their “newly ascribed blackness” (Kamari and Debora 200). This situation has been regarded as enormous (by the authors) as it has the tendency to exist among persons that have not been classified or self identified as black, even within their native contexts. Such trends in racialization can in turn inform the immigrants of their own identity and self definitions and also affects their daily experiences (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
The essays by Jacqueline Brown, Naomi Pabst, Jayne Ifekunigwe and Ariana Hernadez-Reguant have pointed out that the massive influx of ‘black other’ into the African Diaspora has tremendously changed the dynamics and social makeup regarding race and ethnicity. This is in line with the assertion that immigrants in the post 1965 era and their descendants continue to challenge the assumptions which underlie the African Diaspora’s racial categories (Kamari and Debora 20-379). According to Kamari and Debora, this occurs through consistent assertions and enactment of the kinds of identities which are not consistent with those that are historically dominant in the host nation’s racial and ethnic categories (Kamari and Debora 20-379). For instance, the demographic influence of the recent non-white immigration “foreshadows the demise of the black/white bimodal conceptualization regarding racial identity and race relations in the U.S.” (Kamari and Debora 20-26). This point of view has also been consistent with that of Ariana Hernadez-Reguant.
The experiences of the ‘black other’ (mentioned above) are shaped and reshaped within the social framework which is particular to the environment in the African Diaspora (Kamari and Debora 200-379). In addition, understanding the racial influences of the ‘black other’ requires an understanding of the racial concepts that point at a person (Kamari and Debora 20-37). These conceptions have been depicted (by the authors) to be brought to the African Diaspora from their specific regions or home countries. Therefore, as depicted from the essays, such racial-self conceptions (mentioned above) can affect (simultaneously) the contemporary social dynamics of ethnicity and race in the African Diaspora (Kamari and Debora 20-79).
Kamari, Clarke, and Debora Thomas. Globalization and Race: Transformation in the Cultural Production of Blackness, Durham: Duke University Press, 2006. Print.