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Aug 13th
Home Sections Humor & Satire Yes, Some Black Americans Want to Be Dual Citizens of their Ancestors’ Original Countries
Yes, Some Black Americans Want to Be Dual Citizens of their Ancestors’ Original Countries PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Humor & Satire
Saturday, 03 May 2008 09:14

On May 3, 2008, I wrote that American famous athletes could go back to Africa and run for the presidency of the country where they have roots. Nearly 10 months later, the Los Angeles Times reported today (Feb. 18, 2009) that indeed some African-American celebrities are obtaining dual citizenship in their ancestors’ native countries. Perhaps many in the African-American community are taking seriously my suggestions, as laced with humor.


H ere are excerpts from the COLUMN ONE in today’s issue of the Los Angeles Times:

Called back to Africa by DNA,0,394512.story


By Teresa Watanabe


More African Americans are seeking dual citizenship and reconnecting with their ancestral homelands thanks to increasingly sophisticated technology.



As a child growing up in Houston, Isaiah Washington said, his first impressions of Africans were discomfiting TV images of "natives running around in raffia with bones in their noses . . . trying to put Tarzan in a pot."

The 45-year-old African-American actor, formerly of "Grey's Anatomy," said his mother never talked of Africa. School never taught him much about his ancestral continent and news stories, he said, projected a place of poverty and pestilence, corruption and war.

Today, however, Washington stands so proud of Africa that he recently became a citizen of Sierra Leone, making him a dual national of that West African country and his native United States. He was inducted as a chieftain in a Sierra Leonean village. He's started a foundation to aid Sierra Leone, contributing nearly $1-million to build a school, restore a hospital and preserve a historic British slave castle on nearby Bunce Island.


Washington reflects renewed interest among African Americans reaching out to Africa, some of them inspired by DNA tests that they believe solve centuries-old puzzles about their origins.

The newly uncovered connections have led to more travel, philanthropic work, business ventures and, as with Washington, efforts to seek dual citizenship.

The trend is expected to accelerate with the presidency of Barack Obama, a son of Kenya and Kansas. His celebrated journey to his ancestrial African village in 2006 was beamed around the globe, motivating many to explore their roots, black commentators say. UNQUOTE .

MY fellow columnist Jesse Jose wrote in April 2008 that Sen. Barack Obama could go back to Kenya (if he failed to win the Democratic nomination). After I read Ka Jesse's column, my ever-active mind went into overdrive. Yes, Senator Obama can still be the President of Kenya. Since he is half-American, half-Kenyan, Mr. Obama can rescue Kenya, which is mired in a presidential-electoral mess. Since there are two Kenyan presidential candidates who are claiming to be the winner, the whole world can persuade the Kenyans to hold a new election, with Mr. Obama as the third candidate. With his good looks and oratorical skills, Senator Obama can easily defeat the other Kenyan presidential contenders. Then he can lead the people of his father to their Promised Land or at least the promise of Chicago-style politics of patronage, peace and progress. No doubt, Kenyan voters will all sing in unison Mr. Obama’s new campaign slogan, “Yes, We Ken-yans Do It All.”


Editor’s Note: To read Mr. Jose’s latest column in its entirety, please click on this link Hai Naku, Talo na si Obama

 After I put my thinking cap on, I told myself that Jesse Jose has come with a brilliant idea to make the whole world a lot better by “exporting” American celebrities to run in presidential elections of countries that are experiencing violent upheavals, if not utter chaos.


It would not be inconceivable to be able to trace easily by DNA tests the African roots of great Black-American superstars. Perhaps we can persuade Michael Jordan to migrate to Zimbabwe, which is also experiencing a disastrous presidential election. (There are again two candidates who have declared victory in Zimbabwe.) With his charm, good looks (that’s better than Mr. Obama’s), Mr. Jordan can easily bring peace and prosperity to Zimbabwe by being elected as that country’s President in a new election.


Perhaps Charles Barkley can be persuaded to migrate to the Republic of Congo and run for its presidency. No doubt, Sir Charles will win hands down, with the support of American political honchos and handlers and the backing of American campaign donors. Then Mr. Barkley can restore order and develop the tourism and other industries. Why, a Congolese President Barkley can turn the presidential palace into a great casino resort, so that he would not be tempted to fly on board Air Force One to Las Vegas or Atlantic City on weekends.


As everybody knows, Nigeria has not attained its supposed destiny as the biggest and resource-rich country in Africa because of endemic corruption. Perhaps former National Basketball Association (NBA) great and superstar, Hakeem Olajuwon, who is now an American citizen, may be prevailed to return to Nigeria, his country of birth, and run for its presidency. No doubt, Mr. Olajuwon, if he runs in Nigeria, can win hands down the country’s presidency.


Remember Uganda, the homeland of the now-departed dictator, Idi Amin Dada? Well, if we can persuade Michael Jackson to migrate to Uganda and to run for its presidency, he can win handily. Mr. Jackson does not even have to deliver campaign speeches; he has simply to sing his most-popular tunes and voila, he can turn Uganda into a big, big La-La Land.


Name any country in Africa or for that matter, anywhere in the world, and we can recruit a wealthy (often times filthy-rich) superstar from the NBA, the Major League or the National Football League (NFL) or Hollywood with confirmed DNA roots to that nation, migrate to it and capture its presidency.


Even O.J. Simpson can be sent to Sudan and pacify, if not unite, all the warring ruthless Sudanese presidential wannabes and warlords. After all, no Sudanese national leader or even warlords can match Mr. Simpson’s prowess in anything – from football to knife-handling expertise, etcetera, etc.


And the United States should not just be content with changing the presidential politics of nations in Africa. It can go universal – from sea to shining sea (in all the seven seas and oceans of the world) – in order to make many countries also the land of the free and homes of the brave.


Name any country in the world and there is always in America a more-qualified and cleaner candidate – if not tens of American-based and trained candidates – sometimes coming from the same tribe or hometown of the despot or corrupt President or Prime Minister -- that can defeat him/her in a free election.


For instance, Italy is in need of honest politicians who could be the country’s political leaders – from Prime Minister, etceteras, etc. The American people can send to Italy an Italian-American celebrity like baseball great Tommy Lasorda and regain his Italian citizenship and qualify to become a candidate for the Italian parliament. If Mr. Lasorda is too old to run for public office in Italy, perhaps we can persuade Hollywood megastar Leonardo DiCaprio to save the country of his ancestors.  Italian voters would adore him, especially if they knew that he was named after Leonardo DaVinci.


Editor’s Note: To read again an article about the political ailments of Italy, please click on this hyperlink Filipinos Are Indeed the Italians of Asia (Part 8 of the "Filipino Psyche" Series)

 There is actually no legal impediment to prevent the brilliant members of immigrants’ communities in the United States and their descendants – from more than 120 countries – from becoming “dual citizens” of their homeland and the United States. Then they could send back the best and the brightest among their second- or third-generation members to run in their homeland’s presidential contest. With the right support in human and financial resources from the American policy makers and decision makers – both in government and the private sector – these American Boys or Girls (AmBoys or AmGirls) can win easily the presidency of many countries.


Name any country in the world and chances are there is an American citizen or immigrant who has roots and/or historical linkages to it.

Former Delaware Lieutenant Governor S. B. Woo, the Ph.D. founder of the 80-20 Asian Initiative, may be persuaded to return to China and start a political evolution. In a short period of time, Dr. Woo may succeed in persuading the Chinese people to go all out for democracy and elect their own President. Dr. Woo may become the leading contender for the Chinese presidency.


Current Labor Secretary Elaine Chao may be persuaded to return to her place of birth, Taiwan, and run for its presidency. She will win, hands down, and start the transformation of Taiwan into an American showcase of democracy in Asia.


The same goes for two-term former governor of Hawaii, the Honorable Ben Cayetano, whose parents were born in Pangasinan Province in the Philippines. If former Governor Cayetano is persuaded to go back to his ancestors' land of birth, he could easily become the number-one politician in the Philippines. He can capture the presidency of the Philippines, which after all is a former American colony.


After all these American-born, educated or raised (ABER) Presidents have taken office, there could be now a great chance for a lasting world peace. Perhaps, all of them can belong to Senator McCain’s proposed “New League of Democracies,” which may yet replace the United Nations. Better, yet, all the countries in the world that will have ABER Presidents can form a “United States of the World” (U.S.W.), which can be like a Siamese twin of the United States of America (U.S.A.).


What say you, Jesse Jose, and our many readers? What say you, my friends who have probably the finest sense of humor: Bobby Manasan of Virginia, Ed Navarra of Michigan and Alfred Gilo of Florida? OK, ngarud? # # #


To read the other applicable excerpts from the Los Angeles Times article, if not in its entirety, please click on this hyperlink: Called back to Africa by DNA,0,394512.story


By Teresa Watanabe

Particularly since Oprah Winfrey and other celebrities had their
DNA tested in a 2006 PBS documentary, African Americans are increasingly using science to supplement oral histories and traditional genealogical research to find their roots, said G. Kofi Annan, a New Jersey-based design and marketing consultant who blogs about African trends.

The curiosity has fueled the growth of DNA testing outfits. African Ancestry Inc., a Washington-based firm, has tested the DNA of 15,000 people against its database of 25,000 African genetic lineages, according to its president, Gina M. Paige. The firm's clients include Winfrey, film director Spike Lee, musician Quincy Jones, comedian Whoopi Goldberg and actors Morgan Freeman and Don Cheadle.

Other DNA testers include Bruce A. Jackson, co-director of the African American DNA Roots Project at the University of Massachusetts, who said he is swamped with so many requests that he has stopped taking them until he works through a two-year backlog.

He argues, however, that the global database of African genetic profiles is too small to be able to pinpoint the exact country of origin. Rick Kittles, African Ancestry's scientific director and University of Chicago associate professor of medicine, counters that his proprietary database is large enough for accurate testing.

The DNA testing has led some African Americans to the newest frontier in connecting to the continent: dual citizenship. (Snipped) UNQUOTE.


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 February 2009 10:55

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