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The Black Scholar Readers Forum on Immigration: African Americans and Immigrants: Shall We Hang Together or Hang Separately?

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The Black Scholar
Journal of Black Studies and Research
ISSN: 0006-4246 (Print) 2162-5387 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rtbs20
The Black Scholar Readers Forum on Immigration:
African Americans and Immigrants: Shall We Hang
Together or Hang Separately?
Gerald Lenoir & Nunu Kidane
To cite this article: Gerald Lenoir & Nunu Kidane (2007) The Black Scholar Readers Forum on
Immigration: African Americans and Immigrants: Shall We Hang Together or Hang Separately?,
The Black Scholar, 37:1, 50-52, DOI: 10.1080/00064246.2007.11413382
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00064246.2007.11413382
Published online: 14 Apr 2015.
Submit your article to this journal
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THE
BLACK
SCHOLAR
READERS
FORUM
ON
IMMIGRATION
African
Americans
and
Immigrants:
Shall
We
Hang
Together
or Hang
Separately?
by
Gerald Lenoir and Nunu Kidane
THE
BLACK
SCHOLAR'S
Forum
on
Immigra-
tion
in Volume 36, No.
1,
("Revolution-
ary
Black
Women's
Activism")
provided
an
excellent
starting
point
for
a serious discus-
sion
about
how
Mrican
Americans
should
approach
the
question
of
immigrant
rights.
Much
of
the
discussion
here
expands
upon
the
points
made
by
the
three
Forum
authors,
Ron
Walters,
Jesse
Jackson
and
Earl
Ofari
Hutchison.
Inspired
by
the
upsurge
in
the
immigrant
rights
movement
in
2006, a
group
of
African
Americans
and
black immigrants in Oakland,
California came
together
last April to
form
the
Black Alliance
for
Just
Immigration
(BAJI).
BAJI
was
founded
to
support
the
demands
of
the
immigrant
rights
movement
and
to
engage African Americans
in
a dialogue
about
the
underlying
issues
of
race
and
economic
status
that
frame US immigration policy.
BAJI's
main
goal
is
to
organize
a
core
group
of
African
Americans
who
are
pre-
pared
to
oppose
racism
in
all
of
its
forms
Specifically,
BAJI
supports: 1) a fair
path
to
legalization
and
citizenship
for
undocument-
ed
immigrants;
2)
no
militarization
of
the
US-Mexico
border
and
no
criminalization
of
undocumented
workers
immigrants
or
their
families,
friends
and
service
providers;
3)
due
process, access to
the
courts
and
mean-
ingful
judicial
review
for
immigrants;
4)
no
mass
deportations,
indefinite
detentions
or
expansion
of
mandatory
detentions
of
undocumented
immigrants; 5)
the
strength-
ening
and
enforcement
of
labor
law protec-
tions
for
all
workers,
native
and
foreign
born;
6)
no
use
of
local
or
state
government
Page 50
agencies in
the
enforcement
of
immigration
laws.
T
HE
NUMBER
OF
IMMIGRANTS
from
the
African
continent
has
increased
to
record
levels
since
1990, largely
due
to
US
immigration
policy
changes
in
1989
and
partly
due
to
the
increased
pressures
of
eco-
nomic
globalization
driving
more
popula-
tions
in
sub-Saharan Africa
to
search
for
bet-
ter
opportunities.
According
to
the
2000 Census,
there
are
approximately
1.8
million
people
in
the
United
States
that
claim
their
birth
in
Mrica,
nearly
60
percent
of
whom
arrived
in
the
one
decade
between
1990
and
2000.
This
low figure is highly
disputed
by
organizations
that
work with
and
represent
these
commu-
nities. Many
of
them
put
the
figure
at
four
to
five million.
Despite
being
one
of
the
most highly edu-
cated
groups
in
the
nation,
African
immi-
grants
remain
disconnected from civic engage-
ment,
and
more
importantly,
remain
divided
from
their
black
American
counterparts
on
issues
of
race solidarity.
In
August,
an
immigra-
tion
briefing
was
held
for
leaders
of
Mrican
immigrant
communities
in
the
San Francisco
Bay Area, initiated by Priority Africa Network
(PAN), BAJI
and
the
National
Network
of
Immigrant
and
Refugee Rights.
It
was evident
from
the
discussion
that
many
of
the
leaders
assumed falsely
that
the
ongoing
immigration
debates were
about
"the Mexicans crossing
the
border"
and
had
nothing
to
do
with
them.
Few
immigrant
rights
groups
had
initiated
contact
with African
immigrant
communities
THE
BLACK
SCHOLAR VOLUME 37, NO. 1
Downloaded by [GERALD LENOIR] at 17:44 17 November 2017
to
engage
them
on
the
issues, to
bring
better
understanding
of
the
current
debates,
or
to
invite
their
participation
and
ensure
their
voic-
es were heard.
T
HE
MAJORITY
OF
AFRICAN
AMERICANS
are
not
aware
of
the
large
presence
of
African
immigrant
communities
around
them
or
the
dramatic
increases
in
major
cities
across
this
country
(For
example:
Between
1990-200,
Atlanta
has
had
a
284
percent
increase,
Minneapolis-St.
Paul
628
percent).
Even
with
the
clear
evidence
of
Mrican
restaurants,
arts
and
crafts
shops
and
hair
braiders
that
spring
up
nearly
every
month,
Africans
as a
community
remain
invisible
and
not
integrated
into
the
tradi-
tional
black
institutions,
churches,
schools
and
political
organizations.
When
the
word
"immigrant"
is
used
among
all
communities,
the
one
image
that
is
least
considered
is a
black face
of
an
Mrican
immigrant.
There
is
a
long
history
of
blatant
discrimi-
nation
against
people
of
color
attempting
to
migrate
to
the
United
States
from
Latin
America,
Africa,
Haiti,
China
and
other
countries
in favor
of
immigrants
from West-
ern
Europe.
Historically
and
today,
these
immigrants
of
color
have
been
scapegoated
for
the
economic
ills
of
the
country
and
have
been
subjected
to
exclusionary
laws
and
racist violence.
Mrican
Americans
have
a
good
deal
of
ambivalence
among
on
the
issue
of
immigra-
tion. A public
opinion
poll
conducted
by
the
Pew Charitable Trusts in April 2006
found
that
a large majority
of
Mrican Americans feel
that
immigrants
are
hard-working
(79
percent)
and
have
strong
family values (77
percent).
Mrican
Americans
were
more
that
twice as
likely as whites ( 43
percent
vs.
20 percent) to
support
undocumented
immigrants receiving
public
benefits. Two-thirds
of
whites
and
79
percent
of
Mrican
Americans
said
that
the
children
of
undocumented
immigrants
should
be
allowed to
attend
public schools.
However,
more
Mrican
Americans
than
whites say they
or
a family
member
have lost a
job,
or
not
gotten a
job
because
an
employer
hired
an
immigrant
(22
percent
vs.
14
per-
cent).
And
34
percent
of
Mrican Americans, as
compared
to
25
percent
of
whites, say
that
THE
BLACK
SCHOLAR VOLUME 37, NO. 1
immigrants take
jobs
from US citizens,
rather
than
take
jobs
that
US citizens
don't
want.
D
ESPITE
THE
CONCERNS
of
many
African
Americans,
the
high
unemployment
rate
endemic
in
Mrican
American
communi-
ties
is
not
the
consequence
of
immigration.
Both
black
unemployment
and
mass migra-
tion
to
the
United
States have
the
same
root
cause:
the
worldwide
phenomenon
referred
to as globalization.
The
number
of
migrants
worldwide
has
doubled
to
over
200
million
in
the
past
25 years, in large
part
due
to dis-
placement
caused
by profit-driven
economic
policies
emanating
from
Washington
and
other
western capitals,
and
genocidal
wars.
Since
the
1970s, globalization
has
meant
the
deindustrialization
of
the
United
States
with
union
jobs
in
manufacturing
fleeing to
low
wage
countries
in
Latin
America
and
Asia. More recently, it
has
meant
the
corpo-
rate
outsourcing
of
jobs
in
high
tech
fields
and
other
industries.
In
addition,
employer
discrimination
against
Mrican
Americans,
white
flight
from
inner
cities
and
the
con-
comitant
deterioration
of
the
tax base,
and
systematic
public
and
private
disinvestment
in
urban
areas have
meant
the
devastation
of
black
communities
across
the
country.
Meanwhile,
the
bilateral
and
multilateral
international
policies
of
the
United
States
have
forced
migrants
to
risk
their
lives
to
come
seeking a
better
life.
The
example
that
Rev.
Jackson
pointed
out
in
his
commentary,
"Wage War
on
Poverty,
Not
Immigrants,"
is
the
North
American
Free
Trade
Agreement
(NAFTA), which was ratified by
the
US Con-
gress
in
1996.
Under
NAFTA,
Mexico
was
forced
to
open
up
its
markets
to subsidized
food
crops
from
the
United
States.
The
result,
according
the
New York Times,
is
that
2.8 million
farmers
could
not
compete
with
cheap
US
commodities
and
lost
their
land
and
their
livelihood. Many
of
them
and
their
dependents
have
migrated
to
the
US
looking
for
employment.
T
HE
US
IS
NOW
ATTEMPTING
to
impose
a
Central
America
Free
Trade
Agreement
(CAFTA)
on
countries
in
the
region,
a
pact
similar
to NAFTA.
The
so-called
free
trade
agreements
are
also
being
implemented
in
Page
51
Downloaded by [GERALD LENOIR] at 17:44 17 November 2017
or
proposed
for
many
countries
in
Africa,
Asia,
South
America
and
the
Caribbean.
The
US has also used military policy
and
covert
operations
to
support
opposition
groups
and
rebels fighting against legitimate
governments.
Nicaragua,
Grenada
and
El
Salvador in
the
1980s
and
present
day Haiti
are
cases
in
point.
These
actions have precip-
itated
a flow
of
refuges
from
these
countries.
The
current
wave
of
African
immigrants
is
supposedly
arriving
in
increased
numbers
through
their
own free choice.
But
how vol-
untary
is
this
migration
when
many
are
flee-
ing
economic
hardships,
political instability,
repression
and
conflict
caused,
at
least
in
part,
by US
economic
and
political policies?
So African
Americans
and
immigrants
of
color
are
pitted
against
each
other,
often-
times fighting over low wage
jobs,
the
prover-
bial
crumbs
on
the
table.
This
competition
is
a
result
of
the
normal
operation
of
an
unjust
economic
system.
THE
BL>\CK
ALLL\NCE for
Just
Immigration
offers
another
alternative.
BAJI
says
that
African
Americans
must
join
forces
with
immigrants
to fight
for
economic
and
social
justice
for
all
people.
As
Ron
Walters
stated
in
"A
Respectful
Black-Hispanic Coalition," Latinos
are
reen-
ergizing
the
labor
movement.
Through
unions
like
the
Service
Employers
Interna-
tional
Union
(SEIU)
and
Unite
Here,
a
hotel
industry
union,
important
gains
are
being
made
for
working
men
and
women
in
service industries. Walters stressed
the
need
to
join
forces to
promote
workers' rights.
Unite
Here
Local
11
has
set
an
important
precedent
for
mutual
struggle.
In
its
latest
settlement
with
the
Beverly
Hilton
Hotel
in
Los
Angeles,
the
5,000-member,
predomi-
nately
Latino
and
immigrant
union
won
a
contract
that
obligates
the
hotel
to increase
wages,
maintain
an
employee
health
plan,
and
hire
more
African Americans.
This
victo-
ry
is
a
model
for
the
union
negotiations
with
twenty-five
other
Los Angeles hotels.
S
TEVEN
PITTS,
an
economist
at
the
UC
Berkeley
Center
for
Labor
Research
and
Education
and
a BAJI
member,
maintains
that
African
Americans
would
benefit
if
Page 52
undocumented
immigrants
were
granted
legal status.
He
points
to
recent
studies
that
provide
evidence
that
legalization
would
improve
wages
and
working
conditions
for
both
immigrant
and
non-immigrant
workers.
However, Walters' call
for
stronger
sanc-
tions
against
employers
for
hiring
undocu-
mented
workers
is
misplaced.
Employers
have
used
the
specter
of
sanctions to threat-
en
problem
workers, i.e.,
those
who
try
to
assert
their
rights, with
being
turned
over to
immigration
officials.
As
labor
journalist
David Bacon
pointed
out
in
a
recent
article,
'Justice
Deported,"
often
the
motivation for
immigration
raids
on
workplaces
by
the
Immigration
and
Customs
Enforcement
(ICE)
is
to
stop
the
momentum
of
immi-
grant
workers
who
are
organizing
unions
or
asserting
their
rights.
Employer
sanctions
foster a
form
of
blatant
racial discrimination
in
the
workplace.
Latinos
and
Asians
are
scrutinized
closely, while
white
immigrants
receive
preferential
treatment.
In
addition,
the
federal
database
used
to
verify
Social
Security
numbers
is
severely flawed
and
sub-
ject
to
errors.
In
his
commentary
Earl
Ofari
Hutchinson
rightly
decried
the
silence
of
many
black
politicians
and
civil rights activists
on
immi-
grant
rights.
African
Americans
have
the
moral
responsibility to
step
up
and
demand
that
US
immigration
policy
consider
a
human
rights framework
The
African Ameri-
can
struggle
for
civil
and
economic
rights
has
never
been
waged
without
allies. Like-
wise,
the
struggle
of
immigrants
for
recogni-
tion
of
their
human
rights
cannot
be
won
without
friends
and
supporters.
If
they
join
together,
the
two
movements
can
take
giant
strides
toward
victories
now
and
for
future
generations.
Social
justice
activists
must
build
and
sustain a new
human
rights move-
ment
that
incorporates
the
burgeoning
immigrant
rights
movement,
the
African
American
civil
rights
movement,
and
other
social movements.
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Downloaded by [GERALD LENOIR] at 17:44 17 November 2017
Article
Police violence in the USA disproportionately impacts black Americans. However, most research exploring minority experiences assumes black ethnicity is monolithic and therefore elides experiences of African immigrants to the USA—a growing subpopulation. This interpretative phenomenological analytic study sought to capture and understand the views of African diasporans in the USA of police violence through open-ended interviews with ten adult participants. We used critical race theory as the primary conceptual lens and found four themes: otherness, perception of police, civic engagement and systemic racism. The results offer a counter-narrative that complicates normative categorisation of race in the USA. This work offers activists and social work practitioners a more nuanced understanding of racialised identity, and the concomitant vulnerabilities and resiliencies of African diasporans in the USA.
Article
This research focuses critically on the relationship between African immigrants and African Americans in the United States. It examines stereotypes, conflicts and grudges between the two groups and how they impact their co-existence and adaptation to each other. Most African Americans are descendants of enslaved Africans that were transported to the US during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Since African Americans and Africans are descended from the same root African cultures, it is reasonable to expect that they would adapt and co-exist in harmony; however, there is tension between the two groups. My objectives are to probe the issues between these two groups and analyze intergroup effects of conflicts, stereotypes, and grudges. I will explore cultural differences and cross-cultural interactions between the two groups. What issues are real, and what are imagined? Can both sides adopt mutual understanding? These are some of the questions that this research addresses. Faculty Mentor: E. Kofi Agorsah
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.