The African Diaspora in Canada: Negotiating Identity and Belonging
Negotiating Identity and Belonging
Negotiating Identity and Belonging
Negotiating Identity and Belonging

Description

236 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
$39.95
ISBN 1-55238-175-7
DDC 305.896'071

Year

2005

Contributor

Edited by Wisdom J. Tettey and Korbla P. Puplampu
Reviewed by Nanette Morton

Nanette Morton teaches English at McMaster University in Hamilton.

Review

This book examines the experiences of first-generation Black Continental
Africans who have migrated to Canada. In doing so, it fills a
significant gap. Most academic literature conflates the experiences of
all Black people, while ignoring the nuances that differentiate various
groups. As Tettey and Puplampu note in their introduction, the term
“African Canadian” is itself a contested term, since “not all
Africans are Black, nor do all Black people consider themselves
Africans.” Indeed, some use the term to denote all persons in Canada
who claim African descent, others have misgivings “about the claim to
Africanness by children born to African parents in Canada,” since
those children “have had their socio-cultural worldview informed by
mainstream, Canadian values.” In choosing to focus on recent
immigrants, the editors of this volume have chosen “to recognize the
affinities among members of the black community,” while examining this
group’s specific experiences.

In Part 1, the various authors focus on how constructions of Blackness
and Africa have shaped the dominant culture’s ideas about Africans and
their place in Canada. Puplampu and Tettey discuss the conflict between
national rhetoric and the assumptions of mainstream Canadians, noting
that the latter question the authenticity of African-Canadian
citizenship. At the same time, multiculturalism perpetuates the African
Canadian’s outsider status. In Part 2, Henry Codjoe and George Dei
look at the politics of knowledge construction in Canada. Codjoe writes
that Canadian curricula marginalize and denigrate Africa, its people,
and its knowledge systems, thus alienating African-Canadian students.
Dei writes that even in universities knowledge from European sources is
privileged and established as fact. The essays in Part 3 deal with
African-Canadian immigrants in socio-economic contexts, noting that
African immigrants, while well educated, suffer earning penalties as
their non-Canadian work experience and education is devalued. Finally,
Part 4 examines the negotiation of identities, as the fluidity of
interaction now made possible by globalization means that Africans find
their identities evolving in relation to both their host society and
their societies of origin.

This is pioneering work.

Citation

“The African Diaspora in Canada: Negotiating Identity and Belonging
Negotiating Identity and Belonging
Negotiating Identity and Belonging
Negotiating Identity and Belonging,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/16685.