I have several African friends for years on years and from different countries in Africa, and I can say based on my personal experiences the differences between us are no different than say me and someone black from Cali or NY. The core values, interests, morals, religion, political views, music, etc are exactly the same. Like I said it is no different than a Mexican American from an Mexican. Again that is my personal experience.
It's one thing to have friends from Africa that live in America, and another to live in Africa and actually see how the culture is vastly different from Black American culture. I'm a Nigerian that lived in Memphis until recently, I spent seven years there, I came to the conclusion that Black American culture and African culture have much less in common than Black Americans seem to think.
When I say "African" culture, this is a blanket term of course, in Nigeria alone there are over 120 ethnic groups each with their own separate cultures, traditions and beliefs. Black Americans and Africans do have a shared history, this is reflected in various aspects of Black American culture, mostly in music, I'm not saying there aren't ties, there are.
The way Africans act in social gatherings, how we talk to elders, our superstitions, methods of greeting, ideology, the fabric very fabric of an Africans everyday life is extremely different from that of the Black American. Our cultures have diverged a lot of the centuries.
Let me lay out just a few cultural differences, perhaps this'll give you a better idea of what I'm talking about.
In many parts of West Africa you don't give items of any sort to anyone with your left hand, it's extremely rude and in many cases the person you're giving the item to won't even accept it.
Greeting an elder: In many parts of South Western Nigeria, a woman is expected to go down on both knees in a gesture of respect when greeting an older man or woman, similarly, a man is expected to lie flat on the ground, face to earth.
The naming ceremony: When a baby is born, a party is thrown and numerous relatives are invited, each relative gives the child their own special name. An assortment of foods with varying flavors, like pepper, salt, sugar, palm oil, etc, are laid out and the mother dips her finger in each food item, and then lets the baby suck on her finger to get a taste.
These are just a few examples of some of the more popular traditions native to one small part of Africa, these traditions create a culture that's pretty darn different from that which Black Americans have created over the past couple of hundred years.
A contemporary, educated African generally knows enough about American culture and Black American culture to fit in pretty well, culture is after all Americas biggest export. American movies, music, fashion etc, are all very popular in most of Africa. The reverse however is not usually the case, Africa is extremely culturally dense, drop your average well educated Black American in the middle of Lagos and I think he'd experience a far greater degree of culture shock than if you were to drop a similarly educated African in the middle of New York.
Do a large number of Africans enjoy Black American music? Yes. Are a large number of Africans liberal? Yes, but it's no wonder why. As far as core values and religion go... well, almost half of Nigerians are Islamic, Africa has a huge Catholic contingent, and in the bustling metropolitan city of Lagos its not uncommon to come across a pile of animal bones laid out as an offering to Sango... on the highway!
Basically I think our cultural differences far exceed the similarities. I should clarify that I don't believe this is a bad thing, I think it's important that Black Americans have forged a cultural identity for themselves that's uniquely their own.
We have talked on this before, that there are exceptions to this, like I have met people from Africa that felt they were superior to me (I dislike the term African American) and I know there are people here that feel they are superior to people in Africa, but there are people in NY and Cali that feel the same way, so like I said there is no difference.
I don't dislike the term African American, I simply think it isn't accurate any longer. As I've explained, Black Americans don't have very much in common with their African cousins, a unique culture has emerged and the term "African American", to me at least, does a disservice to the unique nature and strength of that culture.