An Open Letter to All the Disrespectful Negroes Who Went to Ghana and Ditched Us in Triflin'-Ass America

Illustration for article titled An Open Letter to All the Disrespectful Negroes Who Went to Ghana and Ditched Us in Triflin'-Ass America
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Firstly, I hate each and every one of you. Secondly, I’m not even sure if “firstly” is a word—it felt awkward in my mouth, like peanut butter on potato chips—but it fits with what I’m saying, so it will be today. But thirdly (and most importantly), why did you do this to us?


Of course, “us” in this context are the black Americans stuck in America this week—forced to bring in the new decade while standing on the same soil as Donald Trump and Gina Rodriguez—while y’all were galavanting in Ghana with your little friends. What did we ever do to y’all for y’all to treat us like this? I mean I knew karma would eventually catch me for not inviting Rodney Conway to my birthday slumber party in 5th grade because of that day he had a stew of snot on his face at recess and instead of blowing his nose this dude just slurped it up into his mouth, but I never thought that y’all would Snotboy me.

And I know, I know, I know. The Year of Return wasn’t exactly a secret and y’all had been planning for it and telling people about it for months and yadda, yadda, yadda. But little details like “we been told you, Damon” and “seven different people asked you if you were going, too” don’t matter. Not when y’all are over there having life-altering experiences—mornings in Elmina at the dungeons our captured ancestors were brought to, afternoons in Kumasi breaking bread with our long-lost cousins, and evenings in Accra dutty-wining with Naomi Campbell—and I’m here scraping snow off windshields and standing in line at The Honey Baked Ham Company.

For instance, daily text conversations with Panama—who’s been over there for like a month now and ain’t ever coming back—went something like this:

Panama: Nigga.

Me: What happened?

Panama: I just had brunch at the Ghanaian president’s house with Nicole Beharie and Cornel West.

Me. Word?

Panama: Word. What’s good with you?

Me: I just ate some eggs.

A day later:

Panama: Nigga.

Me: Yo.

Panama: I just saw LeBron James.

Me: That’s impossible. The Lakers were just playing two hours ago.

Panama: Nigga, I know. They invented teleportation here! Bron just teleported in, as did Faith Evans and the entire city of Detroit. Don’t tell anyone, though.

It wouldn’t be so bad if y’all left us behind somewhere fun and moderately lit, like Chuck E. Cheese or an NPR Tiny Desk concert. I’d still be tight, but I’d entertain myself. But no, y’all ditched us in dumb and dirty-ass America, of all places. The same place Pete Buttigieg and Steve Harvey live, and we had to spend the holidays in our actual homes with our actual families. Shit.

Anyway, I know a bunch of y’all are coming back this week, and are waiting for us to hit y’all up so you can tell us about your trip. But each of y’all have been defriended, blocked, and unfollowed, and your phone numbers are now stored under “Don’t Text This Brand New Nigga Back.” How do you like them apples now, Snotboy?


(Un)happy new year!

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



Since you talking about the Motherland: I have some questions for the following:

Black Americans who visit South Africa

Mainly, WTF? South Africa had African Jim Crow and they still got black folks down there living like 2012 Mississippi Black Towns. You won’t go to Mississippi but you’ll fly your ass to Johannesburg? Excuse me?