Two African men who spotted Sheila and me at an airport in Kisumu, Kenya, said that beyond our speaking English with an American accent, they could tell we weren't African because of the way we carried ourselves.
"You're very demonstrative," one of the men said. "You tend to gesture with your hands, you walk with your heads held high. Most African women don't act that way. Even the way you dress. It's very Western. And we can tell that your American accent isn't fake."
An African man in Harare noticed that when Sheila and I walked into a restaurant with a white male friend, we immediately asked to be seated at a table near the window. "Americans have this sense of entitlement," he explained to us. "That's how I knew you were American."
Africa may be the mother land, but America is my homeland. I realized it then. And I embraced it. I embraced its uniqueness and its freedom. In spite of its faults, it is my home and my native land.
Copyright © 2000 by Lena Williams, published by Harcourt, Inc. All rights reserved. For permission to reproduce this information, go to our Permissions and Copyright Requests page at http://www.harcourtbooks.com/pol-copyright.html.