To accept to be the other is to abdicate ones history and identity. To reassert one’s identity means recognizing the fact that anyone without identity history is crisis bound. The re-invention of one’s identity will probably be like going on herbal tourism in Asia, to acquire or restore the exotic other or one’s original self respectively. Or like some North Americans retraced their African roots in the Republic of Cameroun. But some of us have had to assume new clouts to survive roughened fortunes.
Indeed for the Africans that are displaced by birth or social insecurity back in the continent, it could be a lifetime struggle to acquire proper cultural nay racial metamorphosis in another society.
To accept personality alteration in another society requires a reassessment of one’s gestalt for a new makeup. The old self might come under suspicion, therefore a risk of alien label even by the Diaspora.
It is doubtable whether some West Indians see themselves as Africans especially if they do not embrace African cosmology. Or better some could feel whiter than the next continental African. Accordingly the latter may not understand why acquiring a certain language accent could help evasion of curiosity. But to deny ones African accent in the midst of Yankee twangs, will be denying such curiosities some aesthetic experience.
For some Diaspora Africans it is exciting to acquire African ethos, therefore continuity to heal the destructive encounter of self denial because of social pressure. Are we not helpless when we become hybridized? Ask Diaspora African children, who struggle between two cultures, because of illiteracy in the African language registers, not to mention of behavior. On the continent some that are born and bred there cannot even speak their mother tongue. “I wonder if there could be some advantage in having a hybrid identity especially that our children can eventually become continentally traversed and Diaspora could be better off”
I will compare it to the story of a white woman married to an African man. This was when it was the vogue for defunct USSR women to marry African men in droves perhaps to escape the communist authoritarianism.
She alone among the lot of them sacrificed her original self to fit the in-laws. When the husband died, she stayed put with the children. And this was true of Austrian born Suzanne Wenger (1915-2009), who lived, worshiped native deity and died in Osun Oshogbo, South-West Nigeria. She re-invented her social cum spiritual -DNA.
She did not need to apply a set of body language or vocalization usually assumed for planned social value. She lived completely effortless unlike a hybrid person. She was positively functional within the context of Yoruba culture in Osun Oshogbo, thus attracting commendation from the curious.
She was not a functioning professional; not just adding exotic marketing applications to attract patronage. She spoke Yoruba fluently. She could only have lost her Caucasian identity that way; because with language she understood the essential Yoruba cosmology.
She probably assumed, Itutu, a mystic coolness; one of spiritual pillars of Yoruba and Igbo religious philosophy, in the 15th Century. She was not like Frank Fanon in (1952; Black Skin, White Masks, 1967), an assimilated black Frenchman.
He was a black man in his native Martinique, a racially mixed society with French values, who decried his white education. Therefore as a hybrid, he lived in continuous a struggle as a twofold person. Suzanne found ambience, while Fanon, a hybrid float.
Many Africans at home and in the Diaspora float like Fanon. At some point the struggle could be unnerving. Therefore like the Cameroun-Americans, who took on the spiritual protection of their ancestors through names and simple initiation, it could be emotional and tearful.
It becomes imperative for all Africans to find ways of releasing that assumed identity for the real thing. Because in a world where children probably seek more of digital identity, with overwhelming Western idiosyncrasies, the hybrid ends up in a cultural corner without a real identity.