African-Australian teenagers are growing up in a very challenging environment. Many of them say that it is often difficult for them to be able to balance the expectations of the two cultures they find themselves in, namely the African culture that their parents often want to instil on them and the Australian culture that their peers and the rest of the society invite them to adopt.
These young Afro-Australians say they are young wild and free
The clash of these two cultures is pulling them often into two opposite directions in many areas of their lives and the resulting tension appears to be a significant contributor to some of the issues they face in developing their identities as growing adults in Australia.
We previously interviewed three young girls from a South Sudanese background living in Melbourne and we published a short video in late 2012. The video had an average number of views for about one year, but recently it started attracting significant attention on the net and has now been viewed by close to 100,000 last year and it has become the most popular video published by AMA.
One of the most interesting things about this video is that it has attracted a significant viewership from America and more Americans have commented on it than Australians. The comments come from all races, including Whites, blacks, Hispanics, all talking about racism as it relates to blacks and Africans in Australia and in America.
The girls in the video talk about the need to satisfy their parents on the one hand and the need to live like their peers on the other hand. They feel that it is hard to be both African and Australian, hard to blend in the society around them, given that their parents want them to stay home clean and cook and do all that sort of things as African girls, but in their (Australian) mind they are “young, wild and free”. In the end, they say that they are not sure whether they should listen to their parents or their peers and they are sort of caught in the middle.
A second significant issues raised in the interview is about racism that many young Africans say they experience from the police and the rest of society. One of the girls in the video is quite adamant about it and she deplores the way law enforcement personnel treats Africans in Australia. This is a very important issue for Africans in Australia and in America and could partly explain why the video has attracted more comments from America than Australia.
Following the recent death of an Australian-African boy in Adelaide in January 2016, AMA invited members of the African-Australian community to share their migration story to help illustrate the experiences that many of us go through in our individual journeys as we settle in Australia. You may not have a story to share but you could have a view on what is affecting young people and the broader Afr0-Australian society.
In light of the issues raised by the young girls in this video, we are inviting you to share your comments and opinions about the clash of cultures, the issues of identity affecting our youth, parenting and other similar topics. You can comments through the comment box or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org