Friday, February 16, 2007

Black Like Me? et al

Black Like Me? - Washington Post

The Right Question About Barack Obama - Washington Post

When Blacks, who are the ancestors of America's slavery, wonder if Senator Barack Obama is 'Black enough', the distinction is not one of mixture, but of immigration. If the measure of blackness was one of degree of European ancestry, Black America would quickly descend into chaos.

Instead, the challenge is the unspoken differences and results of immigrant Blacks and their children, as compared to US slave descendants. Black immigrants, like nearly all legal immigrants, have done quite well in taking advantage of this country's Ellis-island franchise of, 'bring us your tired, your hungry, your huddled masses yearning to be free…'.

American Blacks, on the other hand, have advanced individually, but with the group still holding a lock on the bottom economic rungs of the ladder. Black America continues to be under housed, under educated, health challenged and under employed, relative to Whites.

The Senator can be counted in the same category with the two-thirds majority of Black Harvard undergraduates who happen to be of Black immigrants. Their disproportion at the top of the education chain reflects the difference in immigrant behavior. Combining a willingness to work bottom up, long hours, multiple jobs, with tireless saving and a relentless pursuit of education for themselves and their children makes a winning difference.

Some American Blacks are suspicious of immigrants, because as son-of-an-immigrant Colin Powell so eloquently represented, hard work rules the day, and excuses don't cut it. This approach is counter to guilt-producing strategies and tactics that keep Blacks at the mercy of Whites.

So while Blacks claim the issue it about the Senator, it really is about how immigrants, especially Black immigrants, highlight the thwarting behaviors of Black America, and the painful emotion that follows.

James C. Collier


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