KASA forum tackles differing ‘African’ perspectives

Tim Magaw

Vanessa Opoku’s first impression of African-Americans came when some said they didn’t want to talk to her because of her African accent.

But when she came to Kent State and took a Black Experience course, she learned more about the African-American culture.

“I was surprised,” said Opoku, freshman health studies major. “That changed my whole perspective.”

The Kent African Student Association held an open forum in front of about 70 people last night to discuss the relationship between Africans and African-Americans.

KASA President Bomo Piri said both Africans and African-Americans should be united.

“We’re here for a common good,” he said. “We’re a family.”

Sophomore psychology major Tawanda Munodawafa, one of the panelists, said Africans and African-Americans both need to extend their circle.

“When you all have your children, you can’t limit them to a certain group of people,” she said.

Daniel Calloway, panelist and junior business management major, said once he met an Ethiopian, all the stereotypes he had about Ethiopia from the media were gone.

He said his original perception was very different from what it was really like.

“We need to start hanging out with other people instead of your own group,” Calloway said.

He suggested the two groups should work together on supporting each other’s programs and events.

Bob Malaku Peeples, senior business management major, said education should be key in the discussion between Africans and African-Americans. He said Africans sometimes are offended by things African-Americans do.

Peeples said Africans might not know how the African-American was raised, which might have affected his or her behavior.

“But if you understand that about somebody, you can have a little more patience with that person,” he said.

KASA Vice President Ify Amu said she thought the event went well.

“I think it is productive,” she said. “But this has to go beyond this forum, and we can continue the bonding elsewhere.”

Contact ethnic affairs reporter Tim Magaw at [email protected].