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A New Black Nationalism in the USA and France

Felix Germain

Journal of African American Studies ISSN 1559-1646 J Afr Am St DOI 10.1007/s12111-013-9269-y

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J Afr Am St DOI 10.1007/s12111-013-9269-y A RT I C L E S

A New Black Nationalism in the USA and France


Felix Germain

# Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Abstract This essay examines the relationship between Black Nationalism and demographic change in the Black population of the USA and France. It shows that, unlike previous generations, most Blacks in France are born in France and share common sociopolitical and cultural reference points. As a result, this Black French population deploys new Black Nationalist expressions advocating that Blackness is an integral part of the French nation and that Black citizens are entitled to the same opportunities as Whites. Subversively, people of African descent are inserting Blackness into a supposedly color-blind nation. In contrast to France, the African Diaspora in the USA is increasingly diverse. But due to the misrepresentation of African-American identities and cultural differences, many Black migrants seek to distance themselves from African Americans, a relationship that ironically mirrors intra-Black relations in France of the 1960s and 1970s. Like France, however, demographic change within the Black population in the USA has also reconfigured the parameters of Black Nationalism. I contend that Black Nationalism in the USA is increasingly transnational in character. Indeed, in the post-civil rights era, the Caribbean and African migration has expanded the scope of Black Nationalism from primarily focusing on empowering Black America to offering Caribbean and African countries a better place in the global village. In the process, as the activities of the numerous African chambers of commerce reveal, not only do these new transnational Black Nationalist expressions flirt with neoliberal policies but they also adopt a color-blind perspective. Keywords Black Nationalism USAFrance . Black immigrants . African chambers of commerce . Black French . Representative Council of Black Associations (CRAN) . Neoliberalism Oppression and roadblocks to achieving real equality of opportunity has engendered a nationalism that is distinctively African American, a nationalism which since the early nineteenth century has promoted self-determination in politics, economics, religion, and education within or outside American society (Stuckey 1972). From its inception, this complex sociopolitical phenomenon, which scholars refer to as Black Nationalism, has
F. Germain (*) Africana Studies Department, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 9201 University City Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28223-0001, USA e-mail: fgermain@uncc.edu

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promoted separatist doctrines as well as the radical empowerment of African Americans within the fabrics of American society (Walker and Turner 1993; Mudimbe 1988). Melanye Price, a specialist in Black Nationalism, argues that the foundational principles of Black Nationalism include Support for black self-determination through control of homogenous black institutions, support for black economic and social independence in the form of self-help programs, psychological and social disentanglement from whites and white supremacist notions of black inferiority, and support for a global or PanAfrican view of the black community (Price 2009, p. 4). As a political philosophy and ideology, Black Nationalism flourished in the USA, yet its ideals find parallels throughout the African Diaspora, particularly in the French Atlantic. 1 Historically, Black Nationalist expressions of the French Atlantic also supported self-determination in politics, economics, and religion and promoted Black empowerment within and outside the French empire. Indeed, as the African independence movements reveal, Blacks under French rule protested to obtain their own autonomous nation-states, a quest that had typically been on the agenda of most Black Nationalists. Moreover, as the departmentalization of the old French colonies of Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guiana suggests, Blacks in the French Atlantic also strategized to empower themselves within the French nation. 2 That being said, since Francophone African countries obtained their independence in 1960, certain parallels between Black Nationalism in the USA and the former French colonies may be reconsidered.
Black Nationalism has roots in the nineteenth century, when African-American abolitionists and religious leaders deployed strategies to uplift their people out of slavery. As David Walker's appeal demonstrates, early Black Nationalists argued that Blacks were entitled to the same privileges as their White counterparts. In fact, he contended that, by virtue of their labor and suffering, Blacks were more worthy of American citizenship than Whites (Walker and Turner 1993). But David Walker's political philosophy contrasted sharply with other Black Nationalists, notably those who believed that African Americans should establish a state in Africa to lobby against slavery and civilize their pagan brothers and sisters (Mudimbe 1988). This kind of Black Nationalism grew extensively after the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act (1850), which mandated states to return runaway slaves to their owners. Wilson Moses, who identifies the period between 1850 and 1925 as the golden age of Black Nationalism, suggests that, during this era, Black Nationalism was absolutist, civilizationist, elitist, and based on Christian humanism (Moses 1996). After World War I, new relativist, culturalist, proletarian, and secular tendencies characterized Black Nationalism (Moses 1996). Still, the emigrationist characteristic of Black Nationalism remained, as Marcus Garvey popularized such ideal via the Universal Negro Improvement Association movement (Clark 1973; Barbara and Hill 1988). By the 1960s, Malcolm X became the new symbol of Black Nationalism. Drawing much inspiration from Garvey's UNIA and Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam, Malcolm X advocated for self-determination through group solidarity and self-defense against an allegedly White supremacist system (Marable 2011). All and all, by the 1970s, much to Malcolm X's credit, the notion that African Americans should be self-sufficient and build their own institutions, as well as develop their own African-centered intellectual and cultural tradition made up the backbone of contemporary Black Nationalism. But as you shall see in the essay, in the 1990s, Black immigrants complicated the notion of nation and institution building in the Black community. 2 Departmentalization (1946) is a process by which the old colonies of Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guiana became an integral part of France. In 2003, Ramon Grosfoguel (Chair of the Ethnic Studies Department at UC Berkeley) and I interviewed the late Aim Csaire, one of the founders of the negritude movement and former mayor of Fort-de-France. Csaire had been a staunch proponent of departmentalization. Thus, we asked if he saw a contradiction between his work and advocating for departmentalization. We found that he viewed departmentalization as a mean to secure the flow of capital from France to the French Caribbean. For Csaire, departmentalization was subversive because it forced the French to transfer funds to the French Caribbean; as he said, France had to aboule le fric (hand over the money). Simultaneously, Csaire believed in asserting the African roots of his island by creating institutions allowing French Caribbean people to define themselves as they saw fit, an initiative which is in accordance with the tenets of Black Nationalism. Accordingly, one can refer to Csaire's view of departmentalization as radical integration, a process wherein integration into the mainstream is a political and economic strategy that does not preclude Black Nationalist ideals from thriving in society.
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To be sure, similar to any political ideology and philosophy, the contours and ideals of Black Nationalism in the USA have also changed over time. Today, very few Black Nationalists in the USA endorse emigrationist views. Instead, they emphasize strengthening African-American institutions to remedy socioeconomic marginalization. Black activists and intellectuals also define Black Nationalism in broader termsBlack female community activism in the inner city, for example, may be considered a Black Nationalist expression (Price 2009; Hill Collins 2006; Alexander-Floyd 2007). Moreover, for many contemporary Black Nationalists, empowering the community through self-help and government programs are not mutually exclusive survival strategies, leading one to believe that integration also encompasses a Black Nationalist dimension (Daniels 2012). Likewise, similar to their African-American counterparts, the relationship that Blacks in the French Atlantic have fashioned with the foundational principles of Black Nationalism has evolved over time. In fact, the very concept of the French Atlantic has changed over time, from one describing a large empire to one referring to France and its overseas departments in the Caribbean. Thus, this comparative essay analyzes the evolution of Black Nationalist ideals in the USA and the French Atlantic, particularly in France. Most specifically, the essay explores the ways in which demographic changes within Black America and France are restructuring the parameters of Black Nationalism, which as stated previously is not a static political philosophy or ideology. In the last 50 years, there has been a huge demographic change in the Black population of France and the USA. In France, unlike previous decades when most Blacks came from the French Caribbean or West Africa, today, most Blacks are from France. Not only is their identity firmly rooted in France, but they also claim to be a racialized minority in a country, which ironically endorses color-blind social policies. Conversely, for the past 30 years, a large wave of Caribbean and African migrants has increased ethnic diversity in Black America, particularly in the major urban centers. Many Black migrants residing in global cities such as New York, Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, or Chicago often see their identity through the prism of nationality, class, color, and ethnicity. In other words, they do not embrace the US construction of Blackness. Thus, aiming to better grasp the relationship between ethnic diversity and Black Nationalism in France and the USA, the essay raises the following questions. How has Black Nationalist expressions in France changed over time? What are the social factors spurring Black Nationalist reactions in contemporary France? How do African, Afro-Caribbean, and Afro-Latino relations with African Americans affect the White/Black dichotomy that has characterized race relations in that country? How do Black migrants expand the foundational principles of Black Nationalism? Addressing these questions, I suggest, helps evaluate how Black migration and processes of indigenization 3 are influencing contemporary Black Nationalist expressions in France and the USA. Black Nationalist Expressions in the French Atlantic: A Historical Background Toussaint Louverture truly gave meaning to the French republican ideal of liberty. He believed that, as long as Blacks were free, his beloved Saint Domingue should remain part of the French empire (James 1989). Describing Louverture as the ancestor of
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Here, I define indigenization as the process of becoming native to the land.

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human rights and the father of decolonization, Aim Csaire notes that the Haitian leader never uttered the word independence (Csaire 1962). Indeed, only when Napoleon decided to reestablish slavery did other Haitian military leaders such as Dessalines, Christophe, and Ption seek to establish a Haitian nation. In heroic battles, they defeated the French and ultimately established the first Black republic in the Western Hemisphere. Ironically, while most Haitians draw pride from such a revolutionary past, like their counterparts throughout the French empire, the actors of the Haitian revolution would probably have settled for French citizenship and equality for all over bloody battles for freedom (Adelaide-Merlande 1994). By 1848, slavery in the French Atlantic was finally abolished. In the process, natives of Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, and of the four communes of Senegal (Saint Louis, Dakar, Gore, and Rufisque) became French citizens, a status which most French Caribbean individuals and the residents of the four communes welcomed with open hands (Aldrich 1996). But after the demise of plantation slavery, the French intensified their colonization efforts in Africa, successfully controlling nearly a quarter of the continent's land and people at the turn of the twentieth century. Yet the tale of successful conquest is not the most distinctive characteristic of French colonialism. As Frantz Fanon notes, the French convinced Africans that French culture and society was superior to theirs (Fanon 1967). For that reason, the desire for national sovereignty did not blossom in the French colonies, as most African and French Caribbean individualswillingly or notlooked to France for guidance and leadership. Pledging allegiance to France was particularly attractive for certain French Caribbean and African people because she offered protection against threatening elements of their respective society. For instance, in Guadeloupe and Martinique, France protected Blacks from the local planters' class still craving for free labor; she also opened avenues of political empowerment for educated Blacks and Mulattoes, who had been living in the shadow of the White Creole elite (Adelaide-Merlande 1994). In West Africa, particularly Senegal, where the French had established a trading post since the onset of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, many people welcomed France because she abolished slavery and kept a previously threatening military autocracy in check. For example, in his writings Abbe David Boila (18141901), a priest and intellectual from the Senegalese upper classes, praised France as a great emancipator and bearer of democratic values. Yet, figures like Boila were not simply mimic men who sold their souls to France; they also praised local African cultures, displaying a nascent version of Black cultural nationalism (Mouralis 1995). Toward the end of the nineteenth century, as illustrated by Alexandre Isaac, a Guadeloupean senator, Blacks in the French Atlantic developed a sense of criticism vis--vis France's treatment of its colonies. In the 1890s, Isaac frequently denounced the appropriation of African land and the code de l'indignat, which disenfranchised and forced most Africans to comply with arbitrary rules (Menchuelle 1992).4 While
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Gregory Mann wrote a very important article on the Code de L'indignat. He describes the code as A regime of exception based on rule by decree, enacted in often arbitrary and sometimes spectacular punishments, and concerned primarily with asserting administrative power, the indignat was first established in Algeria in 1881. Its use spread across the empire of the Third Republic: a regime of administrative sanctions based on the Algerian model was extended to Senegal in 1887 and to the newly created federation of French West Africa (AOF) in 1904 (Mann 2009, p. 333).

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Isaac never called for independence or the formation of associated nation-states, his harsh criticism of the colonial system represents one of the foundations of the Black Nationalist tradition in the French Atlantic. In fact, this trend would become more salient after World War I, when the French failed to extend French citizenship to African colonial soldiers who fought for/with them. The soldiers, who had been promised citizenship, believed France had not paid its debt, or what they referred to as la dette de sang (the blood tax). Led by Black intellectuals such as Kojo Tovalou, Lamine Senghor, and Ren Maran, they accused France of abusing her power and making empty promises (Miller 1998). Still, Blacks from the French colonies did not advocate for independence; the soldiers and intellectuals merely wanted colonial reforms. In other words, Black Nationalism in the French Atlantic translated into empowering Blacks within the boundaries of the French Republic. By the mid-1920s, Black intellectuals began embracing a more internationalist perspective. Kojo Tovalou, a prince from Dahomey, invited other African and French Caribbean individuals to found Les Continents, a journal promoting the interest of colonized people and fostering dialogue and unity between people of African descent throughout the world. These sorts of initiatives sparked new Black Nationalist expressions, as Black intellectuals and activists increasingly demanded colonial reforms and developed global transnational connections, hoping to control the destiny of the Black world (Egonu 1981; Edwards 2003; Sharpley-Whitting 2002). In the following decade, as the number of Black intellectuals and students in Paris grew, the French capital became a hub for Black Nationalist expressions. It is in this context that negritude, a literary movement spearheaded by Jeane and Paulette Nardal, two sisters from Martinique, and Aim Csaire, Lopold Senghor, and Lon Damas, three men from Martinique, Senegal, and French Guiana, respectively, was born. Negritude praised Black cultures in a revolutionary fashion (Sharpley-Whitting 2002; Kesteloot 2004). The movement triggered a major intellectual leap in the French Atlantic because the negritude writers not only praised Black cultures and demystified the notion that Africa had nothing to offer to humanity but they also highlighted the hypocrisy of the French Republic. After the Second World War, France had lost much credibility in the eyes of its African colonial subjects. Moreover, French labor unions had gained a foothold in the African colonies, offering activists an avenue to fight for workers' rights, which ultimately evolved into full-fledged independence movements (Cooper 1996). The quest for national sovereignty consumed Africans throughout the 1950s. The African colonies were punctuated by strikes and protests. Under the leadership of young intellectuals such as Cheikh Anta Diop and Solange Falad, the founder of FEANF,5 the largest African students' organization in France, most Africans living in France no longer endorsed any kind of assimilationist project (Diann 1990). Thus, by 1960, following agreements with France, all the sub-Saharan African French colonies became sovereign nation-states, supposedly achieving the ultimate goal of the Black Nationalist project. Nonetheless, as you shall see in the following paragraphs, African independence only ushered new forms of Black Nationalist expressions in the French Atlantic.

The Fdration des tudiants d'Afrique noire en France (FEANF) was created in 1950.

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Black Nationalist Expressions in France: From the 1960s to the Twenty-First Century In the early 1960s, economic stagnation in the overseas French Caribbean departments and the former sub-Saharan African colonies spearheaded a large workingclass migration to the Parisian region. Throughout much of the 1960s and 1970s, these people lived in France as transnational migrants. Most French Caribbean and African individuals earned their livelihood in France but imagined their future in Africa or the French Caribbean. Politically speaking, their center of gravity remained in their homeland. Hindered by citizenship, Africans in particular, paid closer attention to governance, democracy, and economic development in Africa as opposed to issues of social equality and economic empowerment in France. Likewise, even if they are French citizens, most French Caribbean people displayed more interest in Guadeloupean or Martinican sociopolitical issues rather than French sociopolitical issues. In fact, during the 1960s and early 1970s, many French Caribbean migrants, especially the students, aspired to severe political ties with France (Germain 2008). Their political rhetoric displayed much similarities with the Black power movement of the USA, which rejected Western values, opposed integration, aspired to having a Black state, and sought to develop various kinds of Black economic, political, and cultural institutions (Robinson 2001; Joseph 2007). Thus, Black Nationalist expressions in France of the 1960s and 1970s were transnational in scope. In other words, Black involvement in nation building and community empowerment focused on African and Caribbean countries, not France. The demographic change that occurred in Black Paris of the 1960s and 1970s also created new modes of social relations between African and French Caribbean people. Indeed, in previous decades, African and Caribbean individuals in Parisusually intellectuals, officers, students, and professionalsoften crossed national and ethnic boundaries to participate in a variety of social, intellectual, or political events (Sharpley-Whitting 2002; Edwards 2003). But in the 1960s and 1970s, Black migrants from the lower classes had no impetus to work across ethnic and national lines. Unlike the soldiers, students, and intellectuals of the interwar period, who shared a common political agenda (colonial reformism in the 1920s) and developed a discourse seeped in notions of Black essentialism (negritude in the 1930s), the Black migrants of the 1960s and 1970s had different personal and political interests. Additionally, they also viewed each other through French lenses. In other words, they often endorsed French colonial notions of Black identities depicting Caribbean people as superior than their African counterparts, which ultimately prevented African and Caribbean migrants to develop social bonds and a common oppositional political voice. But the characteristics of African Diaspora in France have changed tremendously since the 1960s and 1970s. For one, the number of Blacks in the French Republic has increased exponentially, evolving from a few thousand people living in Paris and Marseilles to a distinct minority, which harbors around 8 % of the total population. In 1999, L'Institut National de la Statistique et des tudes conomique, France's equivalent of the USA census bureau, calculated that 357,000 French Caribbean people lived in France; in 2004, it estimated that 570,000 sub-Saharan Africans resided in France. Allison Blakely, an expert in Black Europe, and a recent study

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conducted by the New York Times estimate that close to five million Blacks live in France (Kimmelman 2008; Blakely 2009). This means that most Blacks in France are actually born and raised in France; they are the children or grandchildren of migrants who usually settled in French cities after the 1950s. Thus, the Black French population is relatively young, and most importantly, unlike their counterparts who migrated during the interwar and postwar period, they are firmly rooted in France. To be sure, Black French people are not transnational subjects constantly crossing bounders; their sociocultural and political reference point is France, especially urban France. In many ways, the presence of this new Black minority had serious ramifications for France, a country that has always imagined itself as White and Christian. Indeed, such rapid increase in the Black population (and Muslim North African population as well) invited a number of public figures to flirt with socially conservative ideals and preach the gospel of xenophobia, usually emphasizing that Islam, North African, and Black identities are antithetical to French culture and national identity. Even moderate conservatives made a number of incendiary comments suggesting that Blacks are leeches of the state. For example, Jacques Chirac, the former mayor of Paris and French president who was elected on a center-right ticket, affirmed that Africans tended to spoil their neighbors' quality of life by constantly playing loud music and living in smelly dwellings. During a speech, which has been deemed a disgraceful moment of his career, he stated: Imagine a hard working Frenchman and his wife, who together make about 15,000 Francs. The neighboring family, which comprises a man, three or four wives, and about twenty kids, earns about 50,000 Francs from the government without working. If one thinks about the noise and smell, which the French family must also endure, then it is easy to understand the source of their discomfort (Blanchard and Glas 2011). While the center-right uttered xenophobic and racist comments on an occasional basis, the far right, especially the Front National (FN) political party, began a crusade against immigration and diversity. To say the least, the FN painted North Africans and Blacks in derogatory terms. 6 According to FN's rhetoric, Blacks and Muslims symbolize(d) foreigners who cannot integrate into France and take precious jobs away from a struggling French working class; Blacks and North Africans also embody(ied) the unproductive, lazy, and criminally prone citizens populating French banlieues (in France, certain banlieues (suburbs) are the equivalent of the American inner cities). In the face of such blatant anti-Black racism, many Blacks born and raised in France reacted swiftly to claim their place in French society. In the 1980s, Harlem Dsir, a charismatic young man of French Caribbean and White French origin, created S.O.S. Racisme, a civil rights organization fighting for people of color and immigrants. S.O.S. Racisme sought to raise consciousness about discrimination and build a coalition between racialized minorities and the French left; it used cultural events such as large musical concerts to popularize its ideals and staged numerous protests against a number of issues, including racism, xenophobia, and the
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In Muslim Girls and the Other France: Race, Identity Politics, and Social Exclusion, Trica Keaton shows that North African and Black identities are not always mutually exclusive.

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criminalization of the sans papiers (undocumented immigrants), who are from various parts of the world, yet are often stereotyped as sub-Saharan Africans (Dsir 1985). Smaller organizations which had a more defined goal also sprouted throughout urban France. For instance, hoping that the French government would finally declare the trans-Atlantic slave trade a crime against humanity, in the mid-1990s, the Comit de Marche du 23 Mai, a French Caribbean organization, began a campaign to raise consciousness about France's role in this atrocious chapter of world history. It eventually achieved its goal, as Christiane Taubira, the Guianese representative in the French assembly, introduced a law (la loi Taubira) that recognizes slavery as a crime against humanity and forces the French educational system to include this tragic episode into its curriculum. Essentially, organizations like S.O. S Racisme asserted that racialized minorities are an integral part of the French nation. Other organizations, which like the Comit de Marche du 23 Mai focused on correcting the historical record, suggested that racialized minorities, in this case Blacks, have been entangled with the French nation for quite some time. But these organizations were not Black Nationalist organizations per se. Although the organizers of the Comit de Marche du 23 Mai embrace the radical revisionist approach utilized by certain scholars in Black Studies programs throughout the USA, they merely wanted to raise awareness about historical misrepresentations and the omnipresence of racism and cultural diversity in France. Only in 2005 did France see the creation of a major organization that clearly embraced some of the tenets of Black Nationalism. Accordingly, The Conseil Reprsentatif des Associations Noirs (Representative Council of Black Associations [CRAN]), the most influential Black association in contemporary France, was born in the aftermath of the riots that ravaged certain Parisian suburbs during the entire month of November 2005. From its inception, CRAN has worked assiduously to improve the Black condition in France. It has sponsored a number of quantitative and qualitative studies outlining the relationship between race and poverty; the organization has also raised consciousness about anti-Black racism in French culture; it has highlighted the prevalence of racial profiling in urban France and criticized the misrepresentations of Black identities by French media; CRAN organized rallies against police brutality and staged cultural events celebrating Black cultures and history; it also advocated for reparations for slavery and developed its own Afro-centered media; finally, in the tradition of Black activism, CRAN has developed connections with legislators, hoping to draft a law that would remedy racial discrimination in the labor and housing market. CRAN's political philosophy departs from the French republican ideals of libert, egalit, and fraternit to assert that Blacks are entitled to all the attributes of French citizenship. In that sense, the organization echoes the vast majority of Black French citizens, who are merely asking for an opportunity to contribute to society (N'Diaye 2007; Lozs 2011). Nonetheless, despite their French republican rhetoric, CRAN may not be dismissed as an integrationist organization, as it also promotes community empowerment through various mediums. This dual characteristicnamely, embracing the French nation while supporting the creation of African-centered institutions and the production of African-centered knowledgeelicits questions about the ontology of new Black Nationalist expressions in contemporary France. For that reason, I interviewed Patrick Lozs, the founder of CRAN. I specifically asked Mr. Lozs about CRAN's potential connections with negritude, truly the most prominent

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Black Nationalist manifestation in the French Atlantic. With much confidence, Mr. Lozs indicated that CRAN endorses the Black consciousness aspect of negritude, yet simultaneously he claimed that the organization seeks to go beyond negritude by advocating for Black economic and political empowerment within the French Republic. Lozs stated: Csaire, Senghor, Damas, and even Sartre, shattered conventional notions of Black inferiority and paved the way for demanding equality. From that perspective, our work represents a new negritude in France. We are reconnecting with that part of our history, and today, the equality that we are asking for is nothing less than what the elders were demandingwe want Black citizens to share the same status as Whitesthat's all. We are not asking for special treatment. Like Csaire, Damas, and Senghor we are fighting against different types of exclusion affecting Blacks in France. We are combating a process of invisibilization (a process of erasing Blackness from France), especially in the historical and scientific discourse, in the economy and the labor market, and in the media and in politics (Lozs January 8, 2010). In the final analysis, the rise of organizations like CRAN speaks to the development of new Black Nationalist expressions in France. These expressions stem from the experiences of Black French people who continuously assert their presence in France and claim their rights as full French citizens. In many ways, these new Black Nationalist expressions suggest that, in France, integrationist strategies and the ideals of Black Nationalismcreating self-help and African-centered institutionsare not mutually exclusive. Essentially, by insisting that the national imaginary should mirror the mosaic of cultures and races present throughout the republic, these new Black Nationalist expressions, which as stated previously results from the indigenization of the African Diaspora, complicate notions of ethno-racial homogeneity and cultural and religious universalism in French society. However, unlike France, where new Black Nationalists expressions are firmly rooted in both the fabrics and politics of the nation, the new dimension of Black Nationalism in the USA is entangled with international socioeconomic and political issues; it is unmistakably transnational.

Black Migration in the USA: Effects on Intra-Black Relations and Black Nationalism In the 1970s, the Caribbean migration to the USA increased exponentially. Immigration reforms in the USA, poor governance, and stagnant postcolonial Caribbean economies relying on tourism and cheap agricultural exports such as sugar, bananas, and pineapples pushed hundreds of thousands of young unemployed adults to US urban areas. As a result, certain cities experienced drastic changes. For instance, Caribbean migrants transformed Miami's landscape, opening Caribbean markets, stores, restaurants, and nightclubs in unexpected places. Likewise, one notices an unprecedented Caribbean flavor in Brooklyn, New York. In fact, there are so many Caribbean people in the tri-borough area (Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan) that the annual West Indian Labor Day Parade has become the largest pan-Caribbean parade in the world, numbering more than one million participants (Nurse 1999).

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The African migration also increased exponentially. On average, since the turn of the 1990s, more than 50,000 sub-Saharan African migrants have settled in the USA per year. In the past two decades alone, more Africans have entered the USA than during the days of trans-Atlantic slavery (Roberts 2005). Finally, a smaller and diverse group of Afro-Latinos from South America is also asserting its presence in certain American cities. These new Afro-Latino, Caribbean, and African migrants, whom scholars often refer to as the New African Diaspora (especially for African migrants), are usually students, migrant workers, or trained professionals who bear much similarity with other groups of migrants. In other words, they want to achieve professional success, increase their income, invest, and offer their children (if they have any) all the advantages available to middle and upper class American children (Okpewho and Nzegwu 2009; Waters 1999). But many Afro-Latino, Caribbean, and African people share different notions of Blackness. For example, by American standards, most Dominicans look Black; their skin tone ranges from the light brown complexion of certain Fulani or Igbo people to a dark brown skin tone, which is common among various African ethnic groups. Yet many Dominicans do not consider themselves Black because, in the Dominican racial imaginary, Blackness embodies Haitian identity (Wucker 1999). Conversely, many fair-skinned Haitians identify as mulattoes to draw space from darker-skinned Haitians and maintain a privileged position in their own society (Trouillot 1990). African migrants' notion of Blackness also differs from the US construction of Blackness. Most people from sub-Saharan Africa tend to prioritize their national and ethnic identity over their racial identity, a phenomenon that reflects social relations and stratification in many African countries. In other words, the notion of linked fate often eludes African migrants because anti-Black racism is usually not a social reality in Africa (obviously, countries in Southern Africa offer exceptions). Moreover, similar to other migrants, many Africans fail to understand the complexity of structural racism in the USA. Only in extreme casesfor example, when Amadou Diallo, a Guinean migrant, was shot 41 times by White police officers as he pulled out his walletdoes the language of anti-Black racism in the USA become clearer to most African migrants (Fritsch 2000). Black migrants in urban America give another meaning to the White/Black dichotomy that has characterized American society since the colonial period. As mentioned previously, Africans often privilege their ethnic identity over racial identity and many Dominicans, Haitians, and people from Central and South America with African features may not choose to identify as Black, in the process challenging American notions of racial identity (Frank et al. 2010). Still, the majority of Black migrants are nonetheless aware of their Blackness (Hintzen and Rahier 2003; Kasinitz 1992; Reuel 2006). But as the insightful title of Carolle Charles' essay suggests, they have a problem with Being Black Twice (Charles 2003). Thus, one must interrogate how do Black migrants who originate from societies where race relations and racial identities differ from the US position themselves in their host society, especially when they are perceived as African Americans, an ethnic group supposedly plagued by pathological behaviors. To be sure, the White gaze, or more precisely the notion that Whites' perception of Blackness actually defines Blackness, encourages many Black migrants to distance themselves from the African-American community. In other words, in a process that

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is not so new to American societythe Jews and the Irish have done it to a greater extent (Ignatiev 1995; Berger 2000) many African, Afro-Latino, and AfroCaribbean migrants see African-American people through White lenses, consequently drawing space from them to avoid stigmatization and climb up the social ladder. At best, Black migrants choose to accentuate their differences through a series of symbolic gestures. For example, in an interesting study of the Haitian Diaspora in the USA, Flore Zphir observes that, Haitian flags on cars and in store windows have become not only symbols of ethnic pride but also a message to the white community that articulate how they expect to be treated differently because they are not African Americans (Zephir 1996, p. 53). In that sense, similar to other Black migrants, not only do many Haitians feel as if they need to distance themselves from African Americans but, depending on the situation, they may also even compete with them to move up the social ladder.7 In many ways, competition between Black migrants and African Americans has perhaps been the fiercest in New York City, particularly in certain sections of the Bronx and Harlem, which are now home to thousands of West African migrants. As devout Muslims, Catholics, or followers of various African belief systems, these African migrants embrace traditional values; they adhere to strict gender roles and place much emphasis on respect for the elders and the community. As a general rule, they cannot identify with the economic lifestyle, survival strategies, family relations, as well as codes of femininity and masculinity that poor and working-class African Americans are constantly fashioning (Wilson 2009; Mora 2010). Consequently, West African migrants in the Bronx and Harlem often look at African Americans with contemptuous eyes, a phenomenon breeding tension between both groups. But cultural differences and stereotyping are not the only factors drawing space between these two communities; xenophobia also plays a role in this process. Many African Americans in the Bronx and Harlem do not feel at ease with the rapid demographic and cultural change occurring in their environment. As a result, a number of West African migrants have experienced verbal abuse and even physical assaults from their African-American counterparts (Dolnick 2009; Abdullah 2010). There have been, however, displays of solidarity between African Americans and West African migrants. For example, African-American women extended a helping hand to their sisters from the continent who struggled to make ends meet upon arriving to the USA (Mikell 2000). Collaboration, cooperation, and even cohabitation have been particularly strong among Blacks from the middle and upper classes (Lacey 2007). A small percentage of African Americans from these social strata (about 4 %) intermarry with foreign-born Blacks (Jackson and Shaw-Taylor 2010). Moreover, church life has also smoothened social relations between Blacks, as new African churches, which have sprouted in certain cities, spend much energy trying to recruit across racial and ethnic lines. While they have not been able to lure EuroAmericans into their congregation, certain African Americans and Caribbean migrants are gravitating toward these usually vibrant African churches (Wakin 2004). Nonetheless, as a general rule, the encounter between African Americans and foreignborn Blacks does not reflect the wishes and aspirations of Black Nationalists or Pan7

One should note that, in Culture and Stigma: Race, Ethnicity and Class in Black America, Lorand Matory (2012) offers an interesting perspective on ethnic diversity and competition in the African Diaspora of the USA.

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African intellectuals and activists; in their imagination, Blacks across ethnicity and nationality should embrace their common origin, identify a common struggle, and work for the advancement of the race (Asante and Abbari 1996). But Ira Berlin, a notable African Americanist, observes that the encounter did not translate into mutual appreciation. Instead, it has generated competition and sociocultural clashes, proving that the biggest division within the African Diaspora in the USA is between native and foreign-born Blacks (Berlin 2010). For that reason, it is important to question how demographic change in the Black population affects Black Nationalism, perhaps one of Black America's oldest and most influential ideologies. Demographic Changes and New Black Nationalism in Contemporary America By the 1970s, influenced by the teachings of Malcom X, many Black nationalists sought to reclaim their stolen African culture to curtail the negative impacts of Western cultures. For instance, Maulana Karanga, an activist and intellectual, invented Kwanzaa, an African-American holiday stressing the importance of family, community, and wealth, as well as preserving and promoting African and African-American culture (Brown 2003). Many Black nationalists also believed that Islam represented an antidote against rampant poverty and drug abuse in the African-American community. But in the 1980s, perhaps due to a growing Black middle class or the conservative Reagan administration, Black Nationalist movements lost their steam. Yet, despite a somewhat uneventful decade, Black Nationalism went through a period of revival in the mid1990s. In a period during which the crack cocaine epidemic led to a high incarceration rate of African Americans, particularly African-American males, Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam's notorious leader, appealed to Black audiences by preaching the gospel of atonement, personal responsibility, and financial empowerment (Robinson 2001). In collaboration with the National African American Leadership Summit and local chapters of the NAACP, his organization staged the Million Men March, truly a symbolic display of Black unity and Black power in the USA (West 2002). In the aftermath of the Million Men March, Black Nationalism still grew, as notions of community development and empowerment still loomed large over African-American activists, intellectuals, as well as community and religious organizations. African Americans highlighted how they contribute(d) to the sociocultural fabric of the nation and sought power in public and private institutions both within and outside African-American communities (Brown and Shaw 2002). This trend had emerged from the long struggle for civil rights and the idea that African Americans are entitled to all the attributes of American citizenship. Thus, as an ideology and political philosophy which is vibrant, adaptable, and fluid, one may associate contemporary Black Nationalism in America to a series of efforts and initiatives aimed at building the community and ensuring that African-American culture has its own legitimate space in an ethnically and racially diverse country. In a glaring fashion, this post-civil right Black Nationalisma Black Nationalism where Black leaders have been known to advocate for community empowermentbares many similarities with the new Black French Nationalism that I discuss in previous paragraphs. Yet the presence of millions of Black migrants adds a new dimension to contemporary Black Nationalist expressions in the USA. I contend that Black

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migrants complicate the notion of community empowerment. From their perspectives, community empowerment transcends US borders; their Black Nationalist expression is transnational in scope and falls under the category of what Nina Glick Schiller and George Fouron refer to as long-distance nationalism. Schiller and Fouron explain that, Long-distance nationalism is a claim to membership in a political community that stretches beyond the territorial border of a homeland. It generates an emotional attachment that is strong enough to compel people to political action that range from displaying a home country flag to deciding to return to fight and die in a land they never may have seen (Fouron and Glick Schiller 2001, p. 4). For these scholars, transnational nationalism flourishes from the desire to maintain connections with the homeland as much as uplifting the homeland from conditions of poverty; it is almost a quest for dignity. Thus, this new expression of Black Nationalism in the USA, which focuses on the socioeconomic development of sending countries, is entangled with the Black migrants' attempt to claim a space as equal partners in the global village. Michel Laguerre, a scholar who has written extensively on the Haitian Diaspora, addresses the temporal dimension of long-distance nationalism, suggesting that it continues with the children and grandchildren of Black migrants. Haitian Americans, he argues, maintain close sociopolitical and cultural ties with Haiti (Laguerre 1998). In fact, their political entanglement with Haiti is so intense that they helped change the Haitian political landscape from one seeped in authoritarian values to one aspiring to follow democratic ideals. Moreover, Haitians and Haitian Americans are pressuring the Haitian government to reconfigure the parameters of citizenship so that Haitians living abroad can have dual citizenship and participate in the nationbuilding process. Likewise, other Diasporic communities in the USA try to maintain mutually beneficial relationships with their government. These efforts are increasingly welcomed by sending societies, as government officials understand that the Diaspora is a gateway to many economic opportunities. For instance, in an effort to promote democratic values and secure the continuing flow of capital from Western countries to Rwanda, the Rwandan government encourages its Diaspora to vote in national elections. As the Rwandan experience shows, the process of granting the franchise to citizens living abroad is a phenomenon spreading at a wildfire pace among Caribbean and African countries. However, the process is usually not initiated by the sending nation; by and large, it results from Diasporic lobbying, or as I argue in this essay, transnational Black Nationalism (I prefer using the term transnational Black Nationalism, as it acknowledges the racialization and dual identity of African and Caribbean people and the USA). The blogosphere offers yet another example of transnational Black Nationalist expression. Usually created by highly educated individuals residing in the USA or Europe, a number of African and Caribbean blogs have surfaced on the Internet. As illustrated by Christophe Celius' Rapadoo Observateur8 and Alice Backer's kiskecity 9 , these blogs function as virtual embassies of the nation, providing critical information on politics, society, and culture. They also serve as a rallying force for the Diaspora, informing them about local events such as concerts, film festivals, or
8 9

See http://rapadoo.com/. See http://www.kiskeacity.com/.

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community functions celebrating an event or holiday from their native land. Last but not least, they promote economic development by informing the Diaspora and any virtual visitors about possibilities in their respective homeland. In many ways, this form of transnational Black Nationalism is a reaction to the social and political forces that led to the uprooting or diasporization of Caribbean and African people in the USA. Indeed, if unstable sociopolitical conditions and dire economic circumstances often forced Caribbean and African people to reside in the USA and other Western countries, these very conditions do not preclude them from participating in their homeland's political and socioeconomic affairs. In fact, one may argue that it stimulates interaction with the homeland, making the virtual world a much necessary medium to participate in the affairs and development of the sending society. Thus, the virtual world operates as an extension of the nation, offering the Caribbean and continental African Diaspora in the USA the much-desired opportunity to participate in the nation-building process. In addition to using the virtual world as a means to empower Black nations, Black migrants in the USA exhibit new Black Nationalist expressions that are overtly capitalist and surprisingly color blind. This trend can be measured by the growing number of African chambers of commerce in large US cities. Usually created by African professionals seeking to foster business relations between the USA and Africa, these chambers of commerce operate as nonprofit organizations. In that respect, they invite members of the business community or anyone with a remote interest in Africa to attend workshops and explore investment opportunities in Africa. As noted on their websites, and as I witnessed while attending workshops in Charlotte, North Carolina, the spirit of color blindness dominate these events; what seems to be important for the organizers is the participants' allegiance to the continent or, more precisely, the ways in which members and potential members can contribute to spearheading some kind of African renaissance. In truth, the capitalist nature of the events appears to be the main connection with Black Nationalist movements in the USA. Specifically, their political philosophy shares common characteristics with the Black Nationalism of the early twentieth centuryespecially Garveyismwhich generally posited that exporting Black intellectual capital to Africa, developing African-centered trans-Atlantic commerce, and industrializing Africa translated into socioeconomic growth and political power for Africa and the African Diaspora (Barbara and Hill 1988). Thus, similar to early twentieth century Black Nationalist like Marcus Garvey, these contemporary Black migrants partake in transnational activities to empower their nation; however, to achieve their goals, they utilize the means, resources, and institutions of the current capitalist system. Consequently, many migrants who engage in transnational activities involving investment and development projects, or what one may call transnational Black Nationalism, embrace the neoliberal ideals that have been highly criticized for weakening social structures in the Global South (Chomsky 1999; Harvey 2007). Illustrating this controversial approach among most African chambers of commerce in the USA, the Chicago-based African chamber of commerce affirms that it aims to bring the world of commerce to Africa; one of its primary goals consists of assisting African businesses in accessing the opportunities that exist in other parts of the world [and organizing] trade missions, fairs and seminars where like-minded business and decision-makers

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can share ideas and MAKE MONEY (http://continentalacc.org/home.html). Clearly, these African chambers of commerce hope to offer Africans and foreign investors an opportunity to increase their wealth. However, in a process that resembles Reagan's trickle-down economics, they believe that private investments will enhance the quality of life of most African people. Moreover, in addition to promoting their nation and shedding lights on economic opportunities for willing investors, it seems as if participants in the chambers of commerce's activities view foreign investment as an alternative to the state, which has supposedly failed to develop a proper infrastructure, particularly in the realms of transportation, energy, education, health, and communication. Thus, to say the least, a neoliberal spirit looms large over the events sponsored by these new African organizations. Yet neoliberalism offers a set of challenges to developing nations. For one, the good of the public often takes a backseat to profit margins. As Stanley Fish observes, in a neoliberal system Individual entrepreneurs freely pursue their private goods, [but] values like morality, justice, fairness, empathy, nobility and love are either abandoned or redefined in market terms. Short-term transactions-for-profit replace long-term planning designed to produce a more just and equitable society (Fish 2009). 10 In the case of developing African nations, these entrepreneurial endeavors may just bring sweat shops or menial and service jobs that barely offer Africans a survival wage. Thus, this new transnational dimension of Black Nationalism, particularly when it embraces neoliberal values, stands in stark contrasts to the democratic and humanitarian principles, which had traditionally been associated with the Black Nationalist tradition. Finally, in addition to bringing a remarkably transnational twist to the US Black Nationalist tradition and invigorating the Black community with different ethnic and cultural attributes, demographic changes in the African Diaspora of the USA has also created new hybrid cultures. These new cultures have the potential to bridge the ethnic divide between African Americans and foreign-born Blacks, as well as challenge local and global misrepresentations of Blackness. For example, children of Black migrants, who usually have a foot in their parents' culture, often feel uncomfortable about the representation of their parents' homeland. As a result, they frequently participate in conversation on Africa or the Caribbean, injecting information about culture, history, politics, or social relations that is usually more accurate than conventional knowledge about these places (Okpewho and Nzegwu 2009). But many of these children are also socialized as African Americans; most of their friends are African Americans and they participate in the construction of
10 Fish also writes that, Neoliberalism is a philosophy in which the existence and operation of a market are valued in themselves, separately from any previous relationship with the production of goods and services and where the operation of a market or market-like structure is seen as an ethic in itself, capable of acting as a guide for all human action, and substituting for all previously existing ethical beliefs. In a neoliberal world, for example, tort questionsquestions of negligence laware thought of not as ethical questions of blame and restitution (who did the injury and how can the injured party be made whole?), but as economic questions about the value to someone of an injury-producing action relative to the cost to someone else adversely affected by that same action. It may be the case that runoff from my factory kills the fish in your stream; but rather than asking the government to stop my polluting activity (which would involve the loss of jobs and the diminishing of the number of market transactions), why don't you and I sit down and figure out if more wealth is created by my factory's operations than is lost as a consequence of their effects?

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African-American youth culture. One just needs to look at the origin of rap music and break dancing, impressive art forms which owe much to the presence of Jamaican and Puerto Rican adolescents in New York City (Rose 1994). Thus, on one hand, the children of Black migrants embody the cooperation and cultural mtissage that can arise from the African-American encounter with Afro-Latino, Caribbean, and African migrants; on the other hand, by encouraging people to see their parents' homeland in a more positive and objective light, they attest to the enduring characteristics of transnational Black Nationalist expressions.

Conclusion Demographic changes in the US and France's Black population are affecting these countries' Black Nationalist expressions. In France, the rapid indigenization of the African Diaspora has engendered new Black Nationalist expressions, which among other things, advocate for community empowerment. Simultaneously, contemporary manifestations of Black Nationalism in France actually contend that Blackness is an integral part of the nation. A seemingly radical position in a country promoting colorblind social policies and cultural universalism, contemporary Black Nationalist expressions in France also propose that Black citizens are entitled to the same opportunities as Whites. Whereas the indigenization of Black identities in France has affected social relations between Blacksunlike previous generations, most Blacks in France share common sociopolitical and cultural reference points and interact across ethnic backgroundin the USA, however, African and Caribbean migration poses challenges to the notion of linked fate, which for so long has united Black people. Due to the misrepresentation of African-American identities and cultural differences, many Black migrants seek to distance themselves from African Americans, a relationship that ironically mirrors intra-Black relations in France of the 1960s and 1970s. Yet, these migrants' children, in many ways the first generation of African Americans of South American, Caribbean, or African origin, demonstrate that ethnic tension within the African Diaspora disappears after one generation, when Blacks of foreign origins become natives. Similar to France, ethnic diversity within the Black population in the USA has also reconfigured the parameters of Black Nationalism. Black Nationalism is increasingly transnational in scope and in many ways challenges conventional Black Nationalists to see beyond the local. Indeed, in the post-civil rights era, Black Nationalists have expressed concern about the fact that The Black dollar circulates away from Black communities and reproduces itself in ways that produces wealth for others, not Black folks (Van Horne 2007, p. 81). But in hindsight, contemporary Black Nationalism is not merely about empowering the Black community and offering African Americans a seat at the national table. When examined through transnational lenses, Black Nationalism is also about offering developing countries from the Caribbean and Africa a better place in the global village. Finally, as the activities of the numerous African chambers of commerce reveal, not only does this new transnational Black Nationalism flirt with neoliberal policies but it also adopts a color-blind perspective.

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