The movement of human beings from one place to another is not a new concept. Centuries ago, most of the movement occurred locally. However, the development of effective transport systems has promoted international movements.
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The term Diaspora, refers to any group of people who share a similar sense of identity and connection to a real or imagined place of origin away from their country of residence.
African Diaspora refers to a group of people who share the same African identity and connection, but do not reside away from Africa. The characteristics of the African Diaspora depict it as both a condition and a process.
African Diaspora as a process
The explanation concerning African Diaspora as a process describes a continuous trend related to the formation of African Diaspora through migration where the Diasporas and Africa continue to maintain linkages. There have been several movements among the Diasporas themselves.
An example is the Caribbean communities in America, who have been moving to central, southern and northern parts of America. They move in such a way that the African Diaspora constitutes the entire portion of the Atlantic and the United States.
Since the late 20th century, there has been a rapid increase in the number of Africans moving to Europe. This process witnessed an increasing diversification in the number of countries sending and receiving immigrants. This development was due to improved economic fortunes in most European countries.
Thus, most people moved to seek a better life in these areas. In addition, their integration into posterity and political sphere amounted to immigration pressure on their borders (Patterson 16). The African Diaspora is a process that developed from the time of trading Diasporas and slave Diasporas.
These two periods witnessed the mass movement of people into countries abroad. The process continued after the emergence of new African Diasporas in the late 20th century.
The formation of colonial borders and new national identities reinforced African Diasporas’ identities, and pushed them into the circuit of international migration (Patterson 24).
There has been an equal growth of an African Diaspora in the Northern America, especially in the United States. By the year 2000, there had been over 700 African natives residing in the United States (Patterson 25).
The number of African natives in the Diaspora had tripled by the year 2002 due to the increased movement of Africans into the United States and the European continent. Most of these African immigrants are well educated.
A large number of African Diasporas moved to the United States to seek employment opportunities. The old African Diasporas act as a link to help their relatives in Africa to reach the United States.
Once in a foreign country they form an association that brings them together as community known as African Diaspora.
African Diaspora as a Condition
The linkage between African Diasporas is their black race, which is a condition that emanates from different points of view including the aspect of race. One critical aspect of the African Diaspora is a condition of self-conscious identity, which lies mostly in the issue of their color, image and constant engagement with their homeland, Africa.
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This persistence in identification with a common origin based on color or race is what led the African Diaspora to the immense growth (Patterson 19). The African race as a state led to continuous inscriptions and representations of the homeland in the Diaspora.
Diaspora in the homeland is the bond that ties the African Diaspora and their homeland together. Due to the African race and historical mistreatment by other races, most African Diasporas consider it crucial to remember, imagine and engage African affairs.
This has also resulted in different Africans with their temporal and spatial framings to remember, imagine, engage in African affairs, and create a community of African Diaspora in another country.
Due to complex ebbs and flows related to the African history and various regional host countries of African Diaspora, it is evident that the engagement between Africa and its Diasporas has been built and shaped by continuities as a process, and race as a condition. Other aspects include changes and ruptures.
The racial discrimination against some African Diasporas by their host countries created a condition and mindset among the African Diasporas that the basis of their identity is color.
This made them have doubts concerning their relationship with their host country. Contemporary African Diasporas are differentiated and inscriptions of gender, generation, class, political ideologies and religion, mediate their internal and external relations.
However, the conditions that unite the African Diasporas vary from one set of African Diaspora to another (Patterson 30). Due to historical injustices based on race, Diasporas take it as a condition to link with native Africa, which they consider as their home of origin.
The aspect of advanced communication and transport technologies influences the modern Diaspora communities to possess a different approach concerning the issue of linkage. Modern Diasporas do not view race as a condition that links them with their homeland, but refer economic status as a source for linkage.
Patterson, Tiffany Ruby, Robin D. G. Kelley, Brent Hayes Edwards, Cheryl Odim, Agustín Montes, and Michael O. West. Unfinished migrations: reflections on the African diaspora and the making of the modern world. New york: Havard university press, 2000. Print.