Piece image

Black Tension

From: Hana Baba
Length: 07:41

A look at the sometimes tension-filled relationship between African immigrants and Black Americans. Read the full description.
Playing
Black Tension
From
Hana Baba

Blackart_small Over the past decade, the African immigrant population in the United States has increased rapidly. Their numbers doubled in the 1990s, and the latest estimates say there are over one million US residents from the African continent today. The majority of them come from countries like Nigeria and Ethiopia. Most end up on America’s coasts - New York and California being among the top choices - places which are also home to large numbers of African Americans. A common assumption many people make is that the two groups share a natural inclination towards one other. But often, that is not the case. It's a look at the sometimes tension-filled relationship between African immigrants and black Americans.

To hear the full audio, sign up for a free PRX account or log in.

More from Hana Baba

Caption: PRX default Piece image

The Softer Iron Triangle (06:54)
From: Hana Baba

The most dangerous city in California actually has much more to offer
Piece image

The Reality of Food Stamps (07:49)
From: Hana Baba

What it's like to be on Food Stamps in California
Piece image

Homeless Haircuts (06:14)
From: Hana Baba

A nurse-turned-barber helps the homeless in her own way
Caption: PRX default Piece image

Karsumo's Story (16:55)
From: Hana Baba

How one man went from an African war zone to performing on the stages of California.
Piece image

Coming Full Circle (05:51)
From: Hana Baba

Hip hop migrates to Cuba, and back again
Piece image

Erasing the Past (08:00)
From: Hana Baba

A look at San Francisco's "Clean Slate" program, which can erase a former convict's criminal records.
Caption: PRX default Piece image

Culture of the Mind (11:12)
From: Hana Baba

A look at the country's first and only group of "Ethnic Psychiatry" wards.
Piece image

Oakland's Port - Community Friend or Foe? (11:04)
From: Hana Baba

A long feature on where millions of Oakland Port revenues go and why the ailing City of Oakland doesn't receive a penny of it.
Piece image

Angel Island - Saving the Ellis Island of the West (07:28)
From: Hana Baba

The story of one man's discovery that resulted in saving a historic landmark from demolition, and keeping an important part of the American story from being hidden forever
Piece image

Islamic History - Made in America (13:41)
From: Hana Baba

A long feature on the the first female-led Islamic prayer in history, and the new Progressive Muslim movement that's behind it.

Piece Description

Over the past decade, the African immigrant population in the United States has increased rapidly. Their numbers doubled in the 1990s, and the latest estimates say there are over one million US residents from the African continent today. The majority of them come from countries like Nigeria and Ethiopia. Most end up on America’s coasts - New York and California being among the top choices - places which are also home to large numbers of African Americans. A common assumption many people make is that the two groups share a natural inclination towards one other. But often, that is not the case. It's a look at the sometimes tension-filled relationship between African immigrants and black Americans.

4 Comments Atom Feed

Caption: PRX default User image

Review of Black Tension

I like the way she opened the piece at a beauty salon because that's where many blacks feel comfortable sharing issues and starting a dialogue, i.e. Beauty Shop and Barber Shop-two popular movies that feature both blacks and africans.

One of the reviewers felt the piece was all over the place. I disagree. The fact that he could so vividly remember the points he highlighted shows the piece was somewhat memorable. There were a few technical problems and I agree the writing could be a bit tighter but overall she makes some very important cultural observations. These are issues that aren't spoken about much in the mainstream-just behind closed doors. The dirty little secret is everyone harbors certain prejudices and stereotypes -the bravery comes in talking about them and trying find some common ground. A piece like this is important because it gets us talking. I wonder how many people know about the tension between these two groups? As the reporter suggests there's a temptation to group all blacks together because they share the same skin color. We need more pieces that explore issues of race on the radio--and gosh not just during black history month.

Nice job.

User image

Review of Black Tension

There is interesting information here, but the structure of the story defeats it. Points are raised, but there does not seem to be an effort to link them together. As a result, the story is sort of all-over-the-place -- They cut hair. They speak their native language. They come from Liberia. Black Americans say they don't like them. Affirmative Action should be reserved for people who were once slaves. Until about 2 minutes in, I wasn't even sure what this story was about. It might help for the reporter to put a thesis much nearer the top. It needn't be in her words. She seems to have enough experts to say whatever point it is she's trying to get across. Also, the pacing of the story is very languid. It could do with some tightening. On a technical point, natural sound pops in at 2:37 for no reason.

If this piece was about 2 minutes shorter and more tightly written, it could serve to address some very important issues.

User image

Review of Black Tension

At the base of the issue explored in this piece is who is an 'African American'. African immigrants to this country are African Americans. But they come from completely different places and cultural backgrounds than American born African-Americans, even though, as this piece points out, the broader culture/politics of the United States does not necessarily distinguish between them because of the color of their skin. This piece explores the tension around affirmative action, for example, and we hear from students about their thoughts about who should benefit from these programs and who should not. This is a well reported exploration of the tensions between African immigrants and African Americans--looking at many aspects, from the individual, to the political to the psychological. This piece should make listeners think about how they define themselves in the multi-cultural/immigration culture of the United States. It will also challenge assumptions, made by all people, about categorizing people based on the color of their skin, instead of looking at their cultural or historical background and experiences.

See all 4 comments >>