'Blaxit': African Americans Moving to Africa to Escape Racism

Chris Menahan
InformationLiberation
Jan. 19, 2018

Digital marketer Muhammida el-Muhajir moved from New York City to Ghana to escape America's "incessant racism and prejudice" and thousands of others are doing the same, Al Jazeera reports.

From Al Jazeera:
Accra, Ghana - They have come from the big cities of San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. Thousands of them. And many refuse to return.

A new wave of African Americans is escaping the incessant racism and prejudice in the United States. From Senegal and Ghana to The Gambia, communities are emerging in defiance of conventional wisdom that Africa is a continent everyone is trying to leave.

It is estimated that between 3,000 and 5,000 African Americans live in Accra, the Ghanaian capital. They are teachers in small towns in the west or entrepreneurs in the capital and say they that even though living in Ghana is not always easy, they feel free and safe.
el-Muhajir told Al Jazeera why she decided to make the move:
"I grew up in Philadelphia and then New York. I went to Howard, which is a historically black university. I tell people that Ghana is like Howard in real life. It felt like a microcosm of the world. At university, they tell us the world isn't black, but there are places where this is the real world. Howard prepares you for a world where black people are in charge, which is a completely different experience compared to people who have gone to predominantly white universities."

"The first country I went to was Kenya. I was 15 and travelled with a group of kids. I was one of two black kids. I saw early that I could fit in and wasn't an outsider. Suddenly it switched, I came from America where I was an outsider, but in Africa, I no longer felt like that. I did graduate school in Ghana in 2003 and went back to New York and then moved to Ghana in 2014.
el-Muhajir also produced a documentary called "Blaxit," a play on Brexit meaning "black exit," chronicling the stories of others who've made the leap:
"In my documentary, I chose five people that I've met since I've been here and every one of them went to a black college in the US. It's something that prepares you mentally to realise you aren't a second-class citizen. Something like that can help you make a transition to live in Africa."

"I made Blaxit because of this wave of African-Americans moving to Africa. This trend started to happen around independence of African countries, but the new wave [comprises] people who come to places like this. This new group has certain access in America and comes here to have that lifestyle in Africa."

"I don't want people to think that Africa is this magic utopia where all your issues will go away. It's just that some of the things you might face in America as a black person - you won't have to suffer with those things here.

"You might not have electricity, but you won't get killed by the police either.

"I want people to understand that they have options and alternatives. Most black people in America don't know that these options exist; they think they have to suffer because there's nowhere else to go. But no, there are other places."
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