Pan-Africanism : Tensions Increase Between US-Born African Americans and Black Immigrants

zuleilah2

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Oct 10, 2003
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The fabric of America is changing, with the influx of Black immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa into African American communities.

In the 1950’s and ‘60’s, AAs considered themselves a united community fighting for the right to live in America as first-class citizens. That perception seems to be changing. By the mid-‘60’s, race began to be overshadowed by divisions based on ethnicity and national identity, particularly in cities such as Miami, New York, Boston and Chicago.

Black immigrants represent about 48% of the Black population in Miami, and one-third in New York City and Boston.

In Miami, tensions have been building on both sides since the ‘80’s. According to Black psychologist, Marvin Dunn of Florida International University…


“Black Americans, for the most part, were not welcoming when Haitians arrived in the early ‘80’s, complaining about Haitians taking their jobs, or claiming they were bringing AIDS into the community, etc. On the other hand, there’s a certain ‘look-down-the nose’ attitude that one gets from certain Caribbean Blacks towards African Americans that I think is offensive to American Blacks. Add that to the Haitian view that African Americans are violent, don’t want to work, are lazy. Some of the things you hear from white racists you hear from Blacks who are not African Americans.”


Astute Black immigrants, however, understand that as an immigrant you are now part of America’s underclass – a poor immigrant - no matter your middle-class status or ranking on the educational scale, back in your home country.

In New York City and New Jersey, AA and Haitian kids clash, with similar clashes in southern Florida high schools.

Mr. Dunn goes on to say…


"It’s not a healthy situation. But I tell you, as these things go in south Florida, so may they go in the country. The entire nation is being impacted by immigrant groups coming in, particularly immigrant groups of color, into communities – and ethnic clashes, even within the same race groups, are becoming more common across the country. The tension between immigrants and native Blacks can be hurtful - emotionally and psychologically. But these tensions are a classic part of the immigrant story – arriving groups face hostility until they become assimilated into American society.”
 

Queenie

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Feb 9, 2001
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Sadly, the fact that Black people don't always get along is nothing new. This is an historical fact. But then, this is also true of people of other races. It's a common human phenomenon. While we're being real, let's also acknowledge that people within the same families don't always get along either. When's the last time you were at a family reunion?

It may not seem right and we can often do things to each other where the results can be hurtful, but many of us recognize that there are 'unwritten' rules applied in what we will and won't tolerate from those outside of our community.

We know the difference between someone in the same family calling you a name versus someone from another family calling you the same name. The impact is not the same. Just because we may fight each other from time to time, doesn't mean we don't love each other. Just because we might have disagreements and be upset with each other, doesn't mean that we will tolerate someone different stepping up to us and treating us with disrespect. Because many of us are confused in that we believe the stereotypes about others among us, doesn't mean that we are racist--just means we're ignorant.

When one of us is killed or being beaten or treated differently in what appears to be a racist way, how many of us stop to ask, are they Haitian? Are they Jamaican? Are they Afro Cuban? Are they lazy African Americans? I think we all feel the impact whether we admit it or not and we know immediately our common thread--we're all Africans living in a hostile world.

My opinion.

Queenie :spinstar:
 

Alkebulan

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Mar 17, 2002
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hi sister zuleilah2 :wave:

these r jus a few of my thoughts on the subject.

when i c the phrase, 'tensions increase', i can't help but wonder, what level were the tensions at b4? increased by what measurment/unit? f, as the post suggests, 'AAs considered themselves a united community fighting for the right to live in America as first-class citizens' during the 50's & 60's, they were delusional. i am not aware of any period of amerikkkan history where aa's behaved n such a manner, including during their enslavement.

we seem 2 hv plenty of disharmony amoung ourselves, continually teasing out the most minute differences & magnifying them to fractionalize ourselves. we've never met a difference we didn't like. of course, we live w/n a system that doesen't merely permit that disposition, but actively encorages it. not only does it generate higher ca$h flow, it safeguards the lofty positions & tennents of the ruling class.

i think it's still tru that the information u gather is determined by the ?'s u ask, & that leads me 2 wonder, f 'psychologist, Marvin Dunn of Florida International University' had been attempting 2 uncover evidence of increased cooperation either w/n or between what he might consider disparate groups of blk ppl, f his findings wld hv been any different. 1 thing is certain n my mind: most blk ppl finding themselves n this country, irrespective of their circuitous journey, shld focus on what they hv in common. it doesen't take much research 2 discover that there aren't many blk ppl n a position to exploit, oppress, incarcerate, or exterminate them.

the jan/dec double issue of savoy has an interesting article titled: 'a philadelphia story', a behind the scenes peak at the organizing, staging, & aftermath of the million women march (mwm). after reading it i am left wondering whether 2 focus on the triumphant accomplishments all that effort & hard work produced, or, the dissappointing enmity & dichotomy that resulted. i believe our disunity 2 b our most crippling debility.
 

Electra Woman

Member
MEMBER
Mar 28, 2004
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with love and understanding we can overcome many ignorances. I was called an "Aids having Haitian" by an African sister once in Llouisiana. I thought it was ridiculous. She thought I did not understand the English. I come from Santiago, Cuba and have been here for over 20 years. I learned English as best I could to get by. She saw my dark skin probably and locks and thought I was not from there. Maybe so. I do not dress the same as many people. I think it is Divide and Conquer. Not all people think the same though. Thank God for that. I wish BET.com (the forums there) would understand that not all people who say they are something ARE. I noticed tensions between Blacks and Latinos and knew that it was probably people who have nothing better to do than drive a wedge between commuinties of color that would benefit from unification.
 

panafrica

Well-Known Member
MEMBER
Aug 24, 2002
10,227
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The Diaspora
with love and understanding we can overcome many ignorances. I was called an "Aids having Haitian" by an African sister once in Llouisiana. I thought it was ridiculous. She thought I did not understand the English. I come from Santiago, Cuba and have been here for over 20 years. I learned English as best I could to get by. She saw my dark skin probably and locks and thought I was not from there. Maybe so. I do not dress the same as many people. I think it is Divide and Conquer. Not all people think the same though. Thank God for that.
That indeed was an ignorant comment, and no, everyone does not feel that way.
 
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