Friday, May 05, 2006

Growing Unease for Some Blacks on Immigration et al

Growing Unease for Some Blacks on Immigration - New York Times

U.S. Immigration Debate Is a Road Well Traveled - Washington Post

Of U.S. Children Under 5, Nearly Half Are Minorities - Washington Post

The uneasiness that many Blacks feel about immigration and Hispanics taking the lead in the push for civil rights is understandable. This shifting of leadership and focus has implications, for both groups, that reasonably have Blacks wondering if the flickering light on their group’s progress is about to end, entirely.

Forty-two years have passed since the 1964 Civil Rights Act, yet Blacks are clearly holding onto their place on the bottom. The group’s lack of progress, compared to the gains of Hispanics, especially in the southwest, begs the question of whether they, upon the removal of physical barriers on immigration, will zip past Blacks on their way towards economic parity with Whites.

The focus that the immigration struggle brings to the plight of Hispanics allows Blacks to divert their attention away from the self-denial that their own struggle has long since been one of civil rights, but rather an internal struggle of exercising those hard-won rights. Hispanics are at the crossroad of gaining rights they do not have, by whatever tactics they choose to utilize. Only time will tell of what they do with those rights, once they have been achieved. This is the real Black fear – being left behind.

Indeed, Hispanics have a built-in advantage over Blacks, in that they carry a higher degree of immigrant mindset than do Blacks. It is not as high as those who travel across oceans, but it is present nonetheless, because each of them still had to make a decision to leave their birthplaces and come here. The larger percentages of Blacks are still searching for the inner motivation that the Atlantic slave trade did not select for, in West Africa, when it took their ancestors by force.

The overarching challenge of Blacks in America is one, not of making up the gap in test scores, or wages, or jobs, but rather how the group accounts for the fact that, unique to how they arrived, the immigrant drive of too many Blacks is dormant and untrained in reaching out to opportunity. Once this drive is trained, the disparities will begin to erode, not only as they have eroded for W.E.B.Dubois’s ‘talented-tenth', but for the talented ‘all’.

James C. Collier


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