This confusion is reflective in many ways today. There are Africans running around claiming we have been indigenous to the Western Hemisphere for thousands of years. These people claim that the actual Indigenous peoples of this hemisphere are our descendants. Besides the fact the proponents of this myth cannot offer one shred of evidence to substantiate this insane prospect, its extremely disrespectful to Indigenous people because it negates all of their historical contributions to world civilization. Its also equally as disrespectful to our African ancestors because it also denigrates our cultural contributions. As to the evidence piece, Africans who have origins in slave states within the U.S. are denying that as their legacy. They are using concocted scientific theories about the percentage of Africans who were actually enslaved (while completely ignoring the impacts of births in the Western Hemisphere as well as the lack of clear data on exactly how many Africans were stolen from Africa).
The people who are advancing these absurd arguments also promote the incorrect theory that Africans did not resist enslavement and that Africans in Africa willfully permitted the slave trade to happen. This backward thinking is at the core of why these people advance these notions. Since they believe this version of history, they are ashamed of our legacy and instead wish to create a more favorable version of history that they believe bestows more honor on our history. This is overwhelmingly sad and disgusting. There is no legacy of struggle on Earth more honorable than that of our African ancestors. Unfortunately, the people who believe otherwise cannot demonstrate one bit of scholarship they have engaged in to study our history so they know nothing about the Mandinka, Wolof, Labodi, Ashanti, Bakongo, East African, Maroon, and numerous other slave revolts that took place from all over Africa to the Americas to liberate our people. They know nothing about the Africans who were almost eliminated as ethnic entities or the victories we imposed on our enemies. They don't know of the many African women from Nanny to Carlota in the so-called new world to Asantewaa and Nzinga at home in Africa to defeat European oppression of our people. Also, they question enslavement by foolishly challenging the physical existence of slave ships as their proof that the slave trade wasn't the widespread industry that history clearly demonstrates that it was. They do this with amateur experience in understanding the process of material destabilization that takes place with all materialist products within the universe. There is a process that explains how molecules that make up metals and materials from ships decompose over a period of time. This is a commonly known process that people within ship industries use to recycle ship parts to build new ships over generations. A process the proponents of fictional theories of our history are painfully and embarrassingly ignorant of. Finally, this theory of our historical connection to the Americas would require concrete evidence of this existence. For example, the actual Indigenous people can point you to centuries, even thousands of years, of civilizations and existences that tie them to those legacies. Examples of spiritual worship, cultural practices, languages, etc., that cement their existence in this hemisphere. These African proponents of this theory haven't a single shred like that to back up their version of history. Instead, they rely on misquoting people like the scholar Ivan Van Sertima in his classic work "They Came Before Columbus" to misinterpret his words to try and argue that he was saying we were always here when a clear reading of his work confirms that he was arguing that we made physical appearances here, from Africa, long before European colonization. There are many of us who were here when Van Sertima lived. We physically witnessed him making his arguments. And more importantly, we read his works ourselves. We are not relying on tampered youtube videos for our analysis.
The other denial of Africa is the related belief that the Indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere are not our descendants, but that we are actually the true Indigenous people and that the actual Indigenous people are impostors. This backward theory has many similarities to the first one. Inclusive of the sad concept that the Indigenous people enslaved African people. Besides the obvious contradiction that if we were enslaved, where were we enslaved from, this theory is sad because of its complete dismissal of factual history of human class relations. Sekou Ture in his classic work on "The History of Class Struggle" explains in clear terms that human history is the history of class struggle. And, by class struggle he means that humans have evolved through various class epochs where dominant class structures were established based on the pace in which class systems developed. For example, Ture correctly argues that after the communal phase in human history (by phase we mean the dominant period) passed, the next dominant phase was slavery. By this, Ture means that slavery as a system of human production became the dominant form in which human beings interacted. This period of slavery several thousand years ago reflects the period in which class struggle intensified because it represented the first time in human history that one group of people (The slave owners) had class position over another sector of society (the enslaved). Again, this period was the dominant period in history so that meant it existed everywhere e.g. there were no places on Earth where there is evidence slavery didn't exist. So, when people make uninformed statements and analysis such as "the Arabs enslaved Africans. The Indigenous enslaved Africans, etc. Of course, this is true. Africans enslaved Africans is also a true statement, but this is a reflection of that period of slavery as an economic system on Earth. It was not the same period as the transatlantic slave trade that birthed capitalism and the existence of Africans in the Western Hemisphere in the numbers we occupy today.
One area of confusion about this history is the question of dominant periods. Today, the dominant system is is capitalism, but there are still in 2019 existing vestiges of all previous economic systems in existence. You can find communal practices in the world today. You can find slavery practiced. You even have monarchies or vestiges of the dominantly feudal era, but none of those other previously dominant systems are dominant today. That is the confusion about economic history that these people suffer from. And this particular belief conflates all periods of history together to create a fantasy version where Africans were always here as Natives and that some strange pairing of peoples resulted in the biological make ups we have today. Fantasy with no evidence, but one of the poor manifestations of a world based on injustice is that evidence is secondary to our ability to express our individualistic interpretations of reality. Yes, rampant individualism, one of the core components and weapons of capitalist ideology is again at the center of this dysfunctional vision of the world.
The glue that forms around all of these shameful fantasies is the reality that not one of these people promoting this nonsense can tell you anything substantial about Africa. Nothing. They have studied nothing about Africa. They know practically nothing about Africa and they don't want to know. This again is a victory for imperialism because capitalism/imperialism needs us to be as ignorant as possible about Africa to continue to ensure they can control the narrative about Africa. Its like being able to convince someone that their devoted partner is not working in their interest so that they can instead focus their attention on someone else who has nothing except exploiting them as their objective. For people who are not good at paying attention to material reality, it is of course possible to confuse them in these instances and that is what is happening with our people about Africa. We are not angry at our people for this. We know the mechanisms of capitalism/imperialism. We know that they will do anything to keep us confused about Africa because their pocketbooks depend upon our confusion. They know that once we figure out that we can end our poverty and powerlessness by connecting our future to Africa's future, they are finished. Our task is simply that of exposing the truth to our people. And, we have absolutely no doubt that although it will take time, we will succeed in bringing historical light to this misinformation about our glorious Mother Africa.