Originally Posted by Liquesce
I feel like maybe that has more room for misconceptions and tensions just because it is so much more emotionally charged a history.
i think you are right. my husband is a new immigrant from Ghana, my family is from Haiti, i'm 1st generation Haitian-American and i grew up in Boston, Sf, NYC etc, now me and DH and dd live in VA. i know all about this tensions from all sides--from personal experience and from research and study over 20 years, i teach Black Studies at a university.
there are painful and absurd misconceptions on all sides of the African Diaspora but they didn't come out of nowhere or simply because certain individuals are crazy. these issues are by-products from racism over centuries----Western racism via the media, text, discourses, laws etc has created these ideas and ideals and definitely assisted in keeping these issues alive. i mean what does the typical American, white, Black or other know about Africa or African culture? didn't Sarah Palin assume the continent was a country??? i always start my classes with a "what do you think you know about Africa" exercise and an empty map of the continent and tell my students to fill it out...most have very little knowledge.
as far as the African American community though, there is a lot of unchecked self hatred in the AA community, it is insidiously and sometimes subtlety and not so subtly taught generation to generation. remember AA were forced to despise their own languages, abandon their cultures, religions, hate their dark skin tones, coarse hair etc b/c whites deemed them savage, backward, ignorant, depraved, ugly, subhuman. thus there is still alot of hatred of blackness in the western world, Obama or no. after 400 years or so AA people have absorbed it all. so when AA people attempt to distance themselves from "blackness" by becoming American one vehicle in doing so is to express their disdain for Africa and Africans. because Haitians represent the closest thing to Africans in the Western Hemisphere we too have been looked down on. some folks are conscious of this but some are simply unconsciously acting out a painful history.
another more contemporary reason for this simply what i call the fight for the crumbs instead the pie. AA people are disproportionately undereducated, poorer and more apt to be criminalized in the U.S. any basic stats will validate this. in certain urban centers where this stridently felt, when immigrants come, move-in and seemingly prosper, there is resentment. furthermore, AA often feel and justifiably so, that the fight for Civil Rights was won off their blood and sweat and when other groups prosper via this legacy and don't give AA due credit: more anger, resentment. add this to the history briefed above, tension and more misunderstanding. and as a PP noted, Africans and Caribbeans also have stereotypical ideas and prejudices against AAs as well.
i am sorry your husband has dealt with ignorant and self-loathing people but please let your husband know that there many AA folks and people of the African Diaspora who seek to understand and honor our connection to Africa and love Africans as family/blood. from WEB DuBois to Aime Cesaire to Bob Marley there are Black Diasporians who expressed their love, commitment and respect for Africa. when Amadou Diallo was killed in NYC by the police it was the AA community who protested alongside African immigrants in outrage and grief. Kwanzaa is coming up, perhaps there will be celebrations you can attend to help heal his experiences that may have him thinking negative thoughts against Black Americans. there are two great films 500 Years Later and The Black Candle, that address the history and experience of the African Diaspora. TransAfrica is political organization founded by AA who are committed to working for a better Africa, Danny Glover has been a high-profile representative of that org. for example. my work is to teach young people about Black history and more particularly the importance and richness and realities of Africa, so experiences like that of your hubby's will hopefully be on the decrease....and on another note, informing yourself on Black history can only benefit your children who to some degree, if they grow-up in the States, will be AA as well.
i do wish your DH and family all the best!