Olaudah Equiano, whom I mentioned in my article, was enslaved in Africa and in the Caribbean. His family also owned slaves. He explained that slavery in Africa was much more humane than what he experienced in the Caribbean. I can cite other examples, such as Jaja and Sakura who were slaves that became kings. Atiba and Menelik II were the children of slave women.That level of social mobility for enslaved Africans simply did not exist in the United States or the Caribbean. Robert Campbell and Martin Delany also wrote accounts comparing slavery in Africa with slavery in the Americas. So if that is really the only specific claim that you have in response to my article, it isn’t a very strong one because Africans themselves expressed the view that slavery in Africa was not as bad as slavery in the Americas. But you seem to be trying to erase African agency here and substituting it with your own opinion about history.

I was born in a country where we use African words in our daily speech, eat African foods, wear African clothes, and tell African folk stories like Anansi. Some of us even have African names like Kwame and Kojo. Don’t you think it’s a bit arrogant for you to tell me that I shouldn’t identify as African when so much of the culture that I come from is African? If you don’t want to identify as Slavic then that is your business. That has nothing to do with myself and others who were born in the African diaspora who decide to identify as African based on a historical and cultural connection to Africa.

As for Umar Johnson, I have been very critical of him. I even wrote an article here on Medium criticizing him. Like I told you before, you don’t know anything about me, but you are acting like you do and using phrases such as “people like you”. I don’t really appreciate your prejudicial attitude towards me. As for Pan-Africanism, I don’t really see an issue if a particular group of people band together to address common issues that relate to that group. I mentioned before the issue of slavery in Africa. One of the organizations I work with is called Africans Rising and it has been fighting slavery in Africa. So if you think Pan-Africanism is creepy, divisive and racist then that is your opinion. For me, Pan-Africanism is about African people uniting to solve our own issues. The fact that you disprove of Pan-Africanism doesn’t really mean much to me because you are offering your opinion, but Pan-Africanism to me is more than just having an opinion about something. It’s a really movement that I am engaged in.

My position is that African people should feel free to identify as Africans and to tell our own history. If you think that my historical narrative is misinformed or inaccurate then we could have a discussion about that, but I really don’t appreciate this approach of you trying to impose your opinion on me, and then accusing me of being “ideologically obsessed” for not sharing your opinion.

Dwayne Wong (Omowale) is a Guyanese born Pan-Africanist, author, and law student.

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