Jul 18 2013

Obama can better exploit the talents of Africans in America

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 8:12 PM

More than a million Americans claim sub-Saharan Africa as their place of birth. And yet the administration of President Barack Obama — the son of a Kenyan — shows scant awareness of the potential benefits of mobilizing American-Africans on behalf of positive change in the sub-Saharan. In a new essay, in the monthly political magazine In These Times, I analyze this and other missed opportunities in Obama’s studied approach to African affairs.
Africans in America remain strongly attracted to their countries of origin. A dozen years ago, so many migrants to the U.S. from Ghana wanted to retire in Ghana that a Texas home builder built hundreds of homes in Accra for them. And so on. My best Senegalese friend, who works in Chase bank as an executive, insists that his entire family watch TV from Dakara every night — in Woloff, his native language. Maintaining roots (homeland) and wings (integration into American society) are old hat in this country. A week ago, I had two Nigerian men over for dinner — and their pregnant wives, both of whom their husbands met by going on wife-hunting trips to Lagos. In many ways, Africans in America care deeply about both maintaining their roots in their new homes, but also preserving and promoting what’s best about where they came from.

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