Why I dislike 'African-Caribbean societies' Watch

S.R
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African Caribbean societies are just an undercover 'black society'. There is no other explanation on earth bar gross cultural insensitivity why Caribbean and African cultures would be lumped under one umbrella. Africa and the Caribbean are separated by 400 years and 3,000 miles worth of ocean; A Jamaican knows absolutely nothing about Ugandan culture and vice-versa. Furthermore it is quite well known that the two groups have some level of mutual dislike for each other. Put simply it's comparable to making a European-American society. All that still binds the two is the colour of their skin. The other reason why I dislike such societies is because if they were to sucessfully fuse and educate members about the varied cultures of Africa and the Caribbean then I could possibly forgive their cultural faux-pas. However they fail at even this. They usually end up pandering to 'urban culture' with their hip-hop nights. I was part of two ACS and all that ever happened was some combination of rapping and dancing. Did I ever learn of the culture of an obscure country? Nope. The final thing is that at one of the universities I was at, the ACS was an old boys club giving black students a secret back door into certain high level investment banking jobs and the like via private dinners that only black students were invited to etc. I'm not the biggest fan of positive discrimination so I think that this is a little unfair on the other students.
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Ice Constricter
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I agree completely. I hate the way the two cultures are casually lumped together when they have an entirely different culture, history and way of life. Because of this, people actually believe the two cultures are interchangeable. But I must say, when I saw the thread title I thought you were an ignorant racist that had a problem with black people.
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LoveLockdown
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I was about to have a go, but decided against :P

I know what you mean. We have one at Sheffield, but I don't use it. It's a bit pointless really, no cultural things, just odd nights out. It would be nice to meet people but it seems useless. The reason they're lumped together is generally because of the amount of black students at one particular uni. It's not a massive amount. If you separated, it would hardly work imo. It would from a Nigerian perspective, but branching out, not really.
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the666thmessiah
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I agree with this sentiment. The annoying thing for me was, actually having come FROM africa, I wasnt actually allowed to join because I was white (Wasnt my heritage - When I had more right to be a part of that society than over half of the people there).

Anyway, sentiment of OP is just.
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S.R
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(Original post by the666thmessiah)
I agree with this sentiment. The annoying thing for me was, actually having come FROM africa, I wasnt actually allowed to join because I was white (Wasnt my heritage - When I had more right to be a part of that society than over half of the people there).

Anyway, sentiment of OP is just.
:O that is disgusting! See what I mean? If it was a black person being banned from a British society because it 'wasn't their culture' then there would be uproar. The kick in the teeth is that they would let in some wannabe 'Jafaican' whose only real link to the Carribean is that one of his great-grandmothers or whatever was born there just because he is black. So obviously a black-only society. And this is coming from a black person. If you were born and bred there then whatever your colour you should have been allowed to partake if they are to uphold their claim of being a cultural society. I would have complained the666thmessiah.

I think that is also breaking discrimination laws anyway because even if someone had no link to the culture they should have still been able to join because cultural societies aren't all about creating a 'culture ghetto' within the university but spreading and helping other students learn about said culture.
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alexh42
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I don't like these sorts of societies since they only help prevent integration between different races.
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(Original post by alexh42)
I don't like these sorts of societies since they only help prevent integration between different races.
But they don't. It's not like people spend all their time in these societies, who only meet occasionally.
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Devolved-Alchemist
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It's an interesting point OP, though the ACS experience may vary from uni to uni.

I remember at my uni's freshers' fair, the Afro-Caribbean Soc, Nigerian Soc and Afrisoc stalls were all adjacent to each other. I was chatting to the Nigerian Soc rep, when another black grad student came along and questioned why the Nigerian society existed. The rep said (obviously) to represent Nigerian students in the uni. The black student then argued that at his previous uni, there was no division of Africans and Caribbean societies; there was only the Afro-Caribbean society, and that worked fine. The grad went on to accuse the Nigerian Soc of 'just trying to be different.' I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.

In my experience, the Afro-Caribbean society has been big on the social events (e.g. club nights, balls, entertainment), though they've also been involved in job networking and uni access schemes. By contrast, Afrisoc has focused not only on social events (like parties, cookouts and drinks), but educational evenings, guest speakers, films etc. The main Afrisoc event of the year is the annual Pan-African Conference, which in the past has been centred around political and economic debates. I found it pretty engaging. Note that ACS, Afrisoc and the Nigerian Soc are all invited to each other's events, so it isn't some scheme of segregation.

One other thing worth pointing out is that the Afrisoc in my uni is mainly comprised of overseas grad students, whereas the ACS is dominated by undergrads. Undergrads will most likely be UK students from major cities - particularly London - where so called 'black culture' is closely linked with the 'urban culture' you speak of (read: hip hop, funky house, grime, dubstep music). In that sense, it's unsurprising that the ACS may focus more on these elements for their events.

Afrisoc, on the other hand, is composed mostly of overseas graduate students. Their perspective is different - they tend to be more politically inclined with regards to African affairs and culture (hence, the importance of the Pan African Conference I mentioned earlier), and less concerned with partying. The vibe is definitely more mature and less 'urban' than ACS.

Overall, I agree with you in a sense OP; I think some ACS's could broaden their practices to cover more socio-political and cultural ground. However, I don't think the actual society is unfair. The ACS can be a vital cultural network for those who want to befriend some people who they share some common cultural interests with. The same goes for religious societies in uni (e.g. Jewish Soc, Christian Union). As long as these societies don't seek to actively exclude people who may not be of the same race or creed, then I personally have no beef with them.

If your ACS doesn't cater for your needs OP, then perhaps you should suggest some improvements to the organisers.

Peace
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ilickbatteries
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At my university, the president of the Japanese society is from Ghana.

I'm not sure if that's because my university is extremely good at integration or extremely poor at promoting societies.
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S.R
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(Original post by kevin6767)
I agree with the OP. I have a friend from South Africa who was told he couldn't join because he was white and therefore not "of Africa". He went to the student union and they told him it was too much of a delicate issue for them to get involved. Rubbish it was racism pure and simple, had the shoe been on the other foot and a group of white students said no to a black person because they were not of the culture then everyone would have been in up in the air and people would have been expelled. I don't understand it, why try and segregate yourself from the rest of the students or anyone else for that matter? If skin colour doesn't matter why do you feel a need to have a group dedicated to your own skin colour? On the same level I don't understand the black police officers association or the association of black lawyers. Why try and ghettoise yourself from everyone else? Just because you share a skin tone doesn't mean you will share anything else.
Someone else who posted had the exact same issue. It is ridiculous that they are allowed to get away with such blatant racism. And I am saying this as a black person. Sorry to hear your friend was treated like that kevin6767.
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S.R
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(Original post by Devolved-Alchemist)
It's an interesting point OP, though the ACS experience may vary from uni to uni.

I remember at my uni's freshers' fair, the Afro-Caribbean Soc, Nigerian Soc and Afrisoc stalls were all adjacent to each other. I was chatting to the Nigerian Soc rep, when another black grad student came along and questioned why the Nigerian society existed. The rep said (obviously) to represent Nigerian students in the uni. The black student then argued that at his previous uni, there was no division of Africans and Caribbean societies; there was only the Afro-Caribbean society, and that worked fine. The grad went on to accuse the Nigerian Soc of 'just trying to be different.' I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.
Your university has the right idea. Nigeria is it's own separate country with it's own separate history and culture. Perhaps it was the only African student group big enough to form it's own society. Disagreeing with the Nigerian soc is akin to disagreeing with a French soc because "a European soc already exists" Ridiculous isn't it?


(Original post by Devolved-Alchemist)
Undergrads will most likely be UK students from major cities - particularly London - where so called 'black culture' is closely linked with the 'urban culture' you speak of (read: hip hop, funky house, grime, dubstep music). In that sense, it's unsurprising that the ACS may focus more on these elements for their events.
True, but it is not an urban society and it is an affront to the real culture of African and Caribbean countries that they are attempting to pass that off as their culture. Asians also tend to hail from urban areas but their respective societies are nowhere near as 'urbanized' as the ACS. The only explanation is that it is because they have lumped all black people into one society when they have little in common culturally so they have to fall back on 'urban culture' which is what most black undergrads will be familiar with because of the reasons that you already said.


(Original post by Devolved-Alchemist)
As long as these societies don't seek to actively exclude people who may not be of the same race or creed, then I personally have no beef with them.
But some actually do. We already have two Africans who have posted in this thread saying they were banned from their ACS just for being white.

(Original post by Devolved-Alchemist)
If your ACS doesn't cater for your needs OP, then perhaps you should suggest some improvements to the organisers.
Seeing as my thread has had a positive response I may just try and write an article in my student newspaper about this. I won't go as far as accusing them of racism but I will Propose that they at least separate the two cultures into separate societies and maybe have sub societies if there are enough pupils per country. Thank you for your input
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Devolved-Alchemist
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(Original post by S.R)
Your university has the right idea. Nigeria is it's own separate country with it's own separate history and culture. Perhaps it was the only African student group big enough to form it's own society. Disagreeing with the Nigerian soc is akin to disagreeing with a French soc because "a European soc already exists" Ridiculous isn't it?



True, but it is not an urban society and it is an affront to the real culture of African and Caribbean countries that they are attempting to pass that off as their culture. Asians also tend to hail from urban areas but their respective societies are nowhere near as 'urbanized' as the ACS. The only explanation is that it is because they have lumped all black people into one society when they have little in common culturally so they have to fall back on 'urban culture' which is what most black undergrads will be familiar with because of the reasons that you already said.




But some actually do. We already have two Africans who have posted in this thread saying they were banned from their ACS just for being white.



Seeing as my thread has had a positive response I may just try and write an article in my student newspaper about this. I won't go as far as accusing them of racism but I will Propose that they at least separate the two cultures into separate societies and maybe have sub societies if there are enough pupils per country. Thank you for your input
Fair dues OP, but there are some things to consider

The university has little if anything to do with the setup and running of these societies. They may have to rubber stamp the soc as an official university soc and provide funding if you ask them (the exact amounts I'm unaware of), but that's it. The ACS, Afrisoc etc are primarily set up by students, so I'd suggest you appeal directly to students for change.

For instance, the Nigerian Soc I spoke of was created by grad students - the uni had nothing to do with it. Moreover, I don't think its a large society - most of the time they latch on to Afrisoc and ACS events.

There's a bit of a contradiction when you say that the ACS has nothing in common culturally, so they resort to 'urban culture' - isn't that a common cultural connection in itself? Or were you trying to say that you resent the fact that their union is predicated on skin colour and 'urban culture', instead of the home cultures of Africa and Caribbean countries?

I don't rate the ACS's which excluded the white people on account of them being white. However, like I said at the beginning of my original post, the ACS experience may differ from uni to uni. It's poor form for some societies to get narrow minded about it.
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Sheldor
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(Original post by the666thmessiah)
I agree with this sentiment. The annoying thing for me was, actually having come FROM africa, I wasnt actually allowed to join because I was white (Wasnt my heritage - When I had more right to be a part of that society than over half of the people there).

Anyway, sentiment of OP is just.
I think that's awful!

An African or Caribbean society where there is an actual focus on culture should let anyone join. Seems like such a shame so many refuse to do soo, unlike Japanese societies which welcome even people with no ties to Japan so they can learn about and enjoy the culture.

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Blackburn_Allen
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I tend to look upon most of these societies in disdain. One of my many pet hates is the "National Black Police Association". The idea that one could be refused entry to such an association on the basis that their skin is a different colour is an abomination to democracy and shows downright disgraceful double standards. The BNP (Note: I don't like them either) were took to court and ultimately left bankrupt due to their policy of only allowing white people to join. The sooner people in this country, a country which is supposedly the most tolerant and accepting in the world, stop seeing each other as black or white, the sooner racism will no longer be an issue.

Another disgrace: black history month.

These societies are discriminatory and should be abolished. Either that, or the naming of such groups should be changed - I have no beef if they are there to educate others on the culture. In fact, I'd welcome an African Education Society with open arms.
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mph10
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european-ameican? you do know that alot of the original inhabitants of the usa region were european right?
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dgeorge
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(Original post by the666thmessiah)
I agree with this sentiment. The annoying thing for me was, actually having come FROM africa, I wasnt actually allowed to join because I was white (Wasnt my heritage - When I had more right to be a part of that society than over half of the people there).

Anyway, sentiment of OP is just.
I find this a bit hard to believe....please excuse my skepticism.

At my ACS, there were only two people from the Caribbean there, me and a girl with Indian heritage. Nobody even suggested that she shouldn't be allowed to join.....


Not to mention the fact that we had many, MANY frequent visitors who were white/other ethnicities/groupings, including Chinese, Western and Eastern European, Indian and from other countries
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Devolved-Alchemist
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(Original post by Blackburn_Allen)
I tend to look upon most of these societies in disdain. One of my many pet hates is the "National Black Police Association". The idea that one could be refused entry to such an association on the basis that their skin is a different colour is an abomination to democracy and shows downright disgraceful double standards. The BNP (Note: I don't like them either) were took to court and ultimately left bankrupt due to their policy of only allowing white people to join. The sooner people in this country, a country which is supposedly the most tolerant and accepting in the world, stop seeing each other as black or white, the sooner racism will no longer be an issue.

Another disgrace: black history month.

These societies are discriminatory and should be abolished. Either that, or the naming of such groups should be changed - I have no beef if they are there to educate others on the culture. In fact, I'd welcome an African Education Society with open arms.
With all due respect, you need to do some research about why the National Black Police Association and Black History Month were created. They were created to combat intolerance and ignorance, not to perpetuate it, and so they aren't comparable to the BNP. Black History Month in particular is supposed to educate people on black history and culture.

Let me pose this in another way: if racism was not an issue, would these societies need to have been established?

For your information, in the UK there is already an African Education Society of sorts, though it's called the Royal African Society - http://www.royalafricansociety.org/
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I think your completely right. just because to significant ethnicites share the same colour of skin we suddenly decide to merge them into oneethnic group. I do beleive that carribeans have a complex towards africans and vice versa. A lot of Africans come to places such as Britian and are emt by carribeans most of who have lived here all their lives and therefore the carribeans feel asif their "space" is being invaded. It is not fair to say afro-carribean food or even afro-carribean hair; the food africans eat is in no way similar to carribean and vice versa, carribean texture of hair is a long difference from that of an african. I would say what is to blame for this "lumping" together of these ethnicites is the western culture, to put it bluntly, within the western culture, anything black is for some obscure reason stated as afro-carribean.

I agree with that discrimination by allowing exclusive dinner for the acs ; how can a dinner be for only those who have a certain colour of skin. One thing that I will always stand by and always believe is that discrimination by race and sex is an extremely one sided affair. If there was a dinner organised for those who had only white skin then, for sure, a public outcry would occur and campaigners will flee to the streets in order to complain of this RACISM; but for some reason we have 'the black business awards' and dozens of other competition and ceremonies that can only be attended by those who are black.
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Dragonfly07
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Black people do have common ground in that both African and Caribbean people are minorities and are often discriminated against. Having a black society is not bad because it gives those people a chance to come together and feel like they belong in a place where they're sure there will be no discrimination towards them. I don't think it's a bad thing and I don't think it's comparable to a white club.
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Blackburn_Allen
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(Original post by Devolved-Alchemist)
With all due respect, you need to do some research about why the National Black Police Association and Black History Month were created. They were created to combat intolerance and ignorance, not to perpetuate it, and so they aren't comparable to the BNP. Black History Month in particular is supposed to educate people on black history and culture.

Let me pose this in another way: if racism was not an issue, would these societies need to have been established?

For your information, in the UK there is already an African Education Society of sorts, though it's called the Royal African Society - http://www.royalafricansociety.org/

I don't care whether there is one or isn't - the fact remains there are still countless societies or groups out there that are solely for black people and that's wrong. I would not be allowed, or at least it would not be socially acceptable, to make a White Nurses Association.

Besides, why should black history month be segregated to one month? Morgan Freeman summed it up perfectly - you are fighting discrimination with discrimination and there's no benefits from having either.
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