Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My African American Readers

Writing Africans and Americans: Embracing Cultural Differences, I faced many challenges. After publishing it, I wondered how readers would respond.

I was anxious, for example, about African Americans, because I talk and warn about differences between them and Africans. I even claim that African Americans are not African but American.

In due course, Shannon Gibney, a gifted African American journalist, called, seeking to interview me about my book. We did a phone interview, and she had sharp questions. Her review appeared in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. I was touched by Shannon's honesty when she disagreed with me, and both relieved and gratified by her endorsement of the book.

Another high-profile African American response came from the Minnesota Black Pages, whose 2009/10 edition featured a colourful, full-page endorsement of "this ground-breaking book that addresses the sometimes frustrating disconnects between African Americans and African Immigrants," noting that the book's "concise and easy style will provide the reader--no matter their heritage--the knowledge to overcome a great deal of miscommunication and embarrassment" (page 47).

Needless to say, these responses have lessened my anxieties, and I thank these African Americans for sharing their opinions so generously.


John Mwaipopo said...

The link to Shannon's comments has not opened (may be it was a brief mishap). I felt it was better to read her sentiments. But in itself, the act of agreeing not to disagree is a robust feat when it comes to literature.

Mbele said...

Thanks, Mr. Mwaipopo, for your observation. I have checked and noted the absence of the review online. It used to be there. I am exploring ways to have it available to readers like you, even if only on this blog. I do have a photocopy of it.