Africans frequently stress that while they greatly appreciate this country's economic and educational opportunities, they prefer to distance themselves from a culture they often perceive as promoting individualism, materialism, racial polarization, and violence. They therefore tend to live insular lives, surrounded by compatriots, socializing primarily with other Africans and avoiding engagement with the rest of society. Very few are active in politics, even at the local level; they choose instead to turn their energies to the betterment of their homeland, the place where they want to live out their lives.
Africans represent a new breed of immigrant: they are transnationals, people who choose to maintain their distinctive qualities in the host country, and retain tight links to their community of origin. They generally view their American experience as transitory, the most effective way to construct a better future at home for themselves and their relatives.
Future developments, at home or in the United States, may change their plans; but their life strategies - savings, education, and strong links to home - are geared toward achieving this objective.
In the meantime, they bring to the United States their robust work ethic, dynamism, and strong attachment to family, culture, and religion, just as other Africans did several centuries ago.