Attacks on Immigrants :The African Diaspora
March 1, 2006 Commentary Archives
The peppering of immigrants some would say, is a right of passage. But is the level of violence we are witnessing against immigrants, new.
On November 14, 2005 an African youngster was beaten to a pulp here in Philly by a couple of African-American thugs. For reasons no less than a down right "bias crime."
On the 6abc new Sunday morning discussion called "Inside Story" moderated by Monica Malpass, with the participation a local assembly and two journalist. The issue of this Liberian immigrant severe beating. Came to the fore in this roundtable discussions.
Coincidently one of these journalist was active in immigration affairs. Based on her knowledge of the cultural conflict in the African and African-American communities. She attempted to give some insight into the problem.
Her accurate assessment of the relations between these two groups, obviously irritated her two counterparts; a Hispanic assembly an and African-American Journalist. At this point they simply dismissed it as "something that happens all the time."
Well they weren't one hundred percent wrong, but in their obvious zeal to put the subject to rest, they chose to be dismissive. Be aware, this young African man, a thirteen year old recent Liberian immigrant was beaten into unconsciousness.
About 5 months prior to this a Mexican immigrant was stabbed several times. none of his money was taken. If you were to speak to those in the African Diaspora communities you'll find that there's a lot of this going on. It just doesn't make the press. Are these two community notables saying this extreme behavior, is common place.
America and its Immigrants
It is common knowledge that many Immigrants of third-world status arriving in the U.S are not too picky about doing honest work, or for that matter, how many hours they need to work to acquire their piece of the American pie.
This of course enable them to quickly rise in status compared to the existence of those around them, who's governance in the immigrants perception, is confusing. To say the least.
Since the areas where African and Caribbean immigrants settle, in some cases gives them the worst possible view of the African-American lifestyle. And their passion to make good here in America. You have a community of color that have very little in common..
Add to this the struggle of the more conservative parents to maintain their cultural value system in their kids.
Add to this discourse African-American resentment of the progress of these folks that "just got off the boat." Resent them because they work hard, because they achieve, and because they are different and want to stay that way.
Here the clash of cultures is set in motion. A class war of sorts, in the hood, if you will.
Is the African Diaspora unique?
Is this unique in the American scheme of things? Definitely not. Back in the 1900s I lived in a little town called Fall River, in southern Massachusetts, where the earlier residents were French and Italian. There were soon displaced by Portuguese immigrants to the point where 60percent of the town was Portuguese.
Hard working penny-pinching, best looking houses on the block. Referred to as Greenhorns in the most derogatory way, and every little expression of contempt you could think of. They were different and unwavering.
Recently in a spirited discussion regarding the beating of this African kid. I was told that Africans and West Indian does not respect African-Americans. My response to that was: the last time I looked "respect" was still a two way street. "Charity begins at home."
Now if you keep up with this very disturbing trend you'll find this is happening across America.
The African Diaspora need to look within and ask why, these attitudes. 0n both sides. I find that there's an unwillingness on the part of the African-American to try to understand other cultures, or even think they can learn from other cultures. This is my opinion. I give it quite seriously.
The immigrant is not willing to accept the defeatist programming that has been perpetuated on the African-American by their leaders, for generation after generation.
At the same time lets clear the air about who is assaulting the immigrants. It is certainly not the African-American community at large. But for community leaders to be dismissive about a young man beaten into unconsciousness as common place is very disturbing.