The presence and continued immigration of blacks into the Diaspora have generated increasing interests and debate from scholars, the general public and policymakers.
Many authors have argued that the continued migration of Africans in the Diaspora is attributed to interplay of inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary facets. Such facets have been thought to penetrate the presence of blacks in the Diaspora, for example, Europe and the United States (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
As a result, the immigration of blacks and the inter-play of influencing facets has resulted to complications of notions of race, identities and desire which are assumed and presumed in the revealing faces of experiences of the ‘black other’ in the Diaspora (Kamari and Debora 20-379). By focusing on themes and contemporary currents of intellectual nature, different researchers have theorized and re-imagined a variety of historical and contemporary issues which are related to the broader topic of darkness.
This paper explores the importance of understanding ‘the black other’ as an essential factor to explain the experiences of the African Diaspora (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
Why an Understanding of the “Black Other” Is Central To Explaining the Experiences of the African Diaspora
A firm grasp of globalization trends has been regarded as a crucial component to understand the constitution and reconstitution of race by transformations of a worldwide scale and magnitude (Kamari and Debora 200-379).
As such, the explorations by Jacqueline Brown, Naomi Pabst, Jayne Ifekunigwe and Ariana Hernadez-Reguant are essential components in understanding the link between contemporary processes of globalization and the kinds of transnational circulations which are spun by aspects of slavery and imperialism. According to Kamari and Debora, these links occurred between global conceptions of skin color (darkness) and culture (Kamari and Debora 20-100).
For instance, Jacqueline Nasy Brown has explored the topic of blackness by defining the term ‘Diaspora’ and associations between the Diaspora and Global black kinship.
She, therefore, suggests that this association can render certain aspects of black subjects, their identities and their histories to be invisible (Kamari and Debora 20-379). According to Jacqueline, the recent inclusion of Africans in Europe (black Europe) in the African Diasporic framework has been regarded as setting it up to represent items which are new in the global catalogue which aspires to exhaustiveness (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
Jacqueline, therefore, explores black Europe and the African Diaspora through an approach of discourse location. She does this issue by highlighting family and kinship ties and their origin, and later immigration into the European territory e.g., the Nassy family, reunions and other family setups (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
For instance, she depicts family ties and kinships e.g., reunions, which played a crucial role in theorizing the Diaspora through encounters between different kinship ties (Kamari and Debora 20-379). Therefore, the author theorizes the Diaspora as a form of desire which is premised on differences that are expressed in terms of place and kinship.
She explores different historical epochs in societies such as Holland, Curacao, Aruba and the United States. According to the authors like Jacqueline Brown, Naomi Pabst, Jayne Ifekunigwe and Ariana Hernadez-Reguant, the meaning of blackness in the distinct national and historical contexts requires explanation and even interpretation (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
Similarly, Naomi Pabst explores the issue of darkness/blackness and demonstrates it as a paradox. She also regards it as the beginning and the end of the racial classification of the American society within the schema of darkness and whiteness (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
In this regard, she points out that “to even state that a mixed-race subject is black or the reverse is to reference the joint realities of both mixedness and blackness” (Kamari and Debora 379). Therefore, Naomi Pabst argues that the debate on how to situate the inter-racial of blackness or whiteness has been explored in the legal domain, grassroots movements and census taking (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
Deborah Thomas explores effects of hegemony that are currently weakened in the Creole multi-racial nationalism which had been consolidated by intellectual and political elites during the time of independence (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
As such, the transnational migration and technological proliferation in the field of journalism and the media is perceived to have tremendously contributed to a case where the expressions of the African populations are paramount within the innovations of contemporary Jamaican particularity (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
According to the essays by Jacqueline Brown, Naomi Pabst Jayne Ifekunigwe and Ariana Hernadez-Reguant, the factors mentioned above (amongst many others) have been depicted to play a tremendous role in the amplification of consciousness among the ‘black other’ in the African Diaspora (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
As such, the authors (aforementioned, like Debora Thomas) explore how the working class in the African Diaspora e.g., Jamaica pursues and negotiates the African-American and American hegemony as a result of their ethnic consciousness. In this regard, the authors illuminate how the newly ascribed and powerful perception of transnational racial mapping and national belonging (especially in the African Diaspora) has continued to influence the development of strategies and discourses (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
According to Kamari and Debora, such influences are usually perceived to be of a nationalist nature and occur in the home countries of the ‘black other’ (Kamari and Debora 20-379). Therefore, according to the authors (aforementioned), such occurrences have been evident among the ‘black other’ who work in the African Diaspora (e.g., in the United States).
Also, the occurrences have been used as a discourse to mitigate the influences of global economies which have been thought to be reinstated by the national economic hierarchies of earlier imperial occurrences (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
The authors also depict the varying social impacts that the ‘black other’ have in the African Diaspora. This is important as it has drawn attention on the manner in which immigrants lives (either collectively or individually) are shaped by quotidian experiences of race in the host countries (African Diaspora) (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
In their essays, the authors also highlight the challenges which are faced by the ‘black other’ who strive to adjust to life in the African Diaspora e.g., the United States. This is through negotiating the hard lives present in the African Diaspora’s realms of politics and culture, which are shaped by ethnic discourses (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
For instance, the essays depict the experiences of the ‘black other’ and the ways in which such communities shift to notions that are culturally biased. In addition, there are incidences where culturally biased notions of ethnicity have been highlighted as means through which the ‘black other’ in the Diaspora use to shield themselves from discriminatory occurrences that are racially biased (Kamari and Debora 20-37).
Similarly, this phenomenon is an essential social manifestation as the efforts by the authors have depicted the localization of the ‘black other’ socially, demographically (in terms of settlement) and economically (in business) (Kamari and Debora 20-79).
Therefore, the authors use the ‘black other’ to depict an understanding of the formulation of the cultural differences within the framework of ethnicity. This depicts the way the immigrants appear to combat racial stereotypes and negative associations (Kamari and Debora 20-379). According to Kamari and Debora, these stereotypes are usually ascribed as part of the experiences of the ‘black other’ in the African Diaspora e.g., the United States (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
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 20-379). In addition, understanding the racial influences of the ‘black other’ requires an understanding of the racial concepts that point at a person.
These conceptions have been depicted (by the authors) to have been brought to the African Diaspora from their specific regions or home countries. Therefore, such racial-self conceptions (mentioned above) can affect (simultaneously) the contemporary social dynamics of ethnicity and race in the African Diaspora (Kamari and Debora 20-379).
Kamari, Clarke, and Debora Thomas. Globalization and Race: Transformation in the Cultural Production of Blackness, Durham: Duke University Press, 2006. Print.