Towards A True Afropolitanism: Reconstructing African Diasporic Identities
This essay redefines the idea of Afropolitanism lost in the world of identity and cultural studies. Defined by Taiye Selasi as a concept that studies persons of African descent who found home everywhere they lived, yet belonged nowhere, this paper holds an opposing view to this interpretation of Afropolitans. We argue that Afropolitans are African diaspora who are (un)consciously slanted to their root in a specific manner; they belong somewhere and the construction and reconstruction of their identity are tied to their root. To re-theorize Afropolitanism in this manner, this research examines Michael Kerr's idea of the post-modern self, showing a comparative account of the pseudo-self and the solid-self, in relation to the Afropolitan identity construction. The reinterpretation of James Clifford’s position on place and space and the examination of Cecil Blake’s ideology of belonging, root, and routes, are critical to my re-reading of the Afropolitan vibe. Although derived from theories of cultural hybridity, transnationalism, cosmopolitanism, and elective affinity, this paper demystifies Afropolitanism by showing how it differs remarkably from these theories in analyzing the underlying questions of frican identity and lived experience. Whilst lived experiences of African diaspora constitute part of the existence of the Afropolitan, we argue that the construction of the Afropolitan identity is not reliant on an acquired identity or lived experience but an ascribed identity and root. Okey Ndibe’s Never Look an American in the Eyes, will serve as the primary text for this analysis, and we conclude this research by articulating how Ndibe and other Afropolitan novelists manipulate culture, language, and race to reflect our position on Afropolitanism.