American Blackness Is Global Blackness

Nation, religion and language take precedence elsewhere. Here, you’re black first.

Former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali jokes with boxing champion Augustin N’Gou and soldiers upon his arrival in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, Aug. 18, 1997. Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/AFP/Getty Images

And yet it happens. The assumption of a singular global blackness isn’t unlike the one that props up the notion of a dominant American blackness. Both the shared memory of struggle and the diversity of experience of the world’s black people are obscured for the sake of an agenda based on erasure.

Rawiya Kameir is a Toronto-based writer who has lived in Abidjan, Cairo, Tunis, London and New York.

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