The Immigrant Experience and the Black Experience



Past immigrants came to this country seeking refuge from oppressive governments and economic freedom. For many of them they found their American Dream through hard work and education. Today’s immigrants have arrived in America for many of the same reasons. However the genetic makeup of immigrants today has shifted dramatically from solely Caucasians to include a number of people of color and other ethnicities.

I imagine that most immigrants have a very forgiving view of America and an “I’m so happy to be here” (excuse the Coming to America reference) attitude which, they may find it confusing and wonder why Black people have had such a difficult time adjusting.America was our oppressor we had no other country that opened its arms and said come here and begin a better life, no other country to offer economic freedom. America to Black people is what so many immigrants ran from.




America for Black People only became the land of “opportunity” at the end of Jim Crow. So while, immigrants came to this country believing they could do better we have lived in this country hoping to achieve the same. Whereas, immigrants have had family business and the ability to accumulate wealth for decades to pass onto future generations that was not to be the case for the America Negro. We are playing catch up, running a race where the leader is yards ahead. So if my outlook is different than yours please don’t think that I am ungrateful to live in this country just know that I sure as hell don’t feel indebted.


Cross post located atDallas South

 

Reader Comments

I was just thinking (again) about the converse the other day. The nagging question for me is, "why do so many immigrant ethnicities (Italians, Irish, Oriental) go through many of the same things as American Blacks, but eventually rise above it?"

I have to wonder how much of it has to do with self-selection. Antebellum blacks didn't decide come here (by and large, I'm sure there were a handful of willing immigrants.) Virtually all of the immigrants of other ethnicities (even Chinese coolies) did. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around how much that difference makes in the long term.

Complicating it is that the war and reconstruction itself brought unique pressure on blacks compared to others because of the desire for vengeance on the side of the southern whites. Other ethnicities dealt with discrimination and being locked out of particular markets, but the South had a particular reason to go even more viciously against blacks ("if we keep them down, then we didn't really lose the war.")

The part that irks me is that we could be past it by now, if blacks had largely given up the old grudges in the 60s when whites did. Instead, it was their turn for vengeance. I really can't fault them for it. It's human nature. But things would be better now if they had, even though it would have been harder then.

(That's also what bothers me about this election. A good part of the appeal of GWB was vengeance for Clinton. Well, we got what we got. Now, a good portion of the support for Obama is vengeance for both Jim Crow and GWB. How do you expect the fruits of that tree to turn out?)

@ Phelps “The part that irks me is that we could be past it by now, if blacks had largely given up the old grudges in the 60s when whites did. Instead, it was their turn for vengeance”


Please clarify what you mean by their turn for vengeance, I think I know what you mean but in this case I would like to be absolutely sure before I offer my rebuttal to this bit of twisted logic.

Also did whites really give up anything what old grudges did they have to bear?

“I really can't fault them for it. It's human nature. But things would be better now if they had, even though it would have been harder then.”

I think this ideology is easier to accept when you were not the target of such hate, with that said I agree. However, when there are institutionalized laws that are still in play that hinder the growth of the community (i.e. crack laws which have taken two decades to even begin reversal of such high sentences) it makes it harder to achieve the success that so many immigrants have in this country. Notice I said harder not impossible.


“(That's also what bothers me about this election. A good part of the appeal of GWB was vengeance for Clinton. Well, we got what we got. Now, a good portion of the support for Obama is vengeance for both Jim Crow and GWB. How do you expect the fruits of that tree to turn out?)”

You really should not try to speak for a race of people. Alluding that Black people are voting for Obama because he is Black and will be pay back for all the evil whitey has done borders on Neanderthalish backward thinking. My desire is to see a Black man (and no not any black man Jessie and Rev. Al) hold the highest office in the land as a role model for other Black youth that have been consistently told by this country that you are not as good as every one else. It does help that I believe in Obama’s ideology more than that sack of feed McCain keeps handing out, his begin Black is icing on the cake.

Also did whites really give up anything what old grudges did they have to bear?

Pride. People will do horrible things that they would never do for money or power when pride is on the line.

You really should not try to speak for a race of people.

I didn't. The majority of the people I am talking about are white.

Alluding that Black people are voting for Obama because he is Black and will be pay back for all the evil whitey has done borders on Neanderthalish backward thinking.

I'm alluding to white liberals who believe that racism is all the South's and Republican's fault, who have built up this myth that GWB is some sort of unprecedented monster (just like white conservatives did with Clinton) and think that if we just elect this one particular type of person, that by sheer presence (GWB or Obama) people will suddenly start thinking differently and politicians will change their spots, and the world will suddenly start running they way they think it should.

Electing any particular person of any race is not really going to have any particular influence on an individual. Presidents aren't role models for any kids. Catholics didn't suddenly start studying harder because Kennedy was elected. Black kids in the ghetto won't be able to use Obama as surrogate fathers, and no gangster is going to stop dealing because a black guy is president.

“Electing any particular person of any race is not really going to have any particular influence on an individual. Presidents aren't role models for any kids. Catholics didn't suddenly start studying harder because Kennedy was elected. Black kids in the ghetto won't be able to use Obama as surrogate fathers, and no gangster is going to stop dealing because a black guy is president.”

Phelps, Obama will be a role model maybe not so much for the group of people you listed but for Black kids growing up in middle class families he will be. This group of people will be able to see in tangible form that a person that looks like them has been able to achieve the HIGHEST office in our land and maybe just maybe they will have something bigger and brighter to look towards. Hell he and his wife are Role models to me and I am past the age of impressionability. As far as role models for “black kids in the ghetto” or “gangster” “dealing” I agree with you people mired in daily life struggle are going to need role models from their own community to help them visualize success can be theirs as well.

*Greets Jazzy with a HUG*

Phelps...

"Pride. People will do horrible things that they would never do for money or power when pride is on the line."

I'm sorry to say but this is some bullshit. Do you actually think they are sorry for the "horrible" things they did? Please spare me.

"The part that irks me is that we could be past it by now, if blacks had largely given up the old grudges in the 60s when whites did. Instead, it was their turn for vengeance."

From my experience Black Americans are just trying to get ahead (the ones I know and deal with)not seek vengeance. Just want to be equal to the other Americans.

I was following you on "The part that irks me is that we could be past it by now".

I agree both races should be able to get over it by now. It's quite annoying to hear anyone blame slavery for their failures. But then you said " if Blacks" as Black Americans are the only ones who haven't gotten past it by now.

Just last month two white men got off with probation and an apology to the victims for shooting at local construction workers and yelling racial slurrs in Baton Rouge, La. Are you sure white people got over this in the 60's these guys were betwen 19-22yrs old.

If anything some (and I use that loosely) white Americans are not over the fact that Black Americans are no longer bound by "them" physically. So they do what they can to bound us in other areas...like the Presidential position?

That's my peace....

Go B.

I'm sorry to say but this is some bullshit. Do you actually think they are sorry for the "horrible" things they did? Please spare me.

Nope. They don't feel sorry. But certainly you know people, black and white, who will do crazy thing over pride (or disrespect, which is the same issue) that they won't do for money or power.

Just last month two white men got off with probation and an apology to the victims for shooting at local construction workers and yelling racial slurrs in Baton Rouge, La.

People get off with probation for shooting at (but not hitting) other people all the time. That's just the way the system works. (I would be happier if more law abiding people shot back.)

I'm sorry Phelps I will have to disagree with you again. "People" do not get off with probation for shooting at and not hitting people all the time. White people get off with probation for committing crimes as such but we can be realistic in saying if it was the other way around not only would it be attempted murder the law would dig around for a few more charges to add to.

@ Phelps, "why do so many immigrant ethnicities (Italians, Irish, Oriental) go through many of the same things as American Blacks, but eventually rise above it?"

(sigh) For the sake of brevity Phelps, I will reply in short that, in comparison, historically, there was never an even playing field between immigrants and black americans; and for gods sake, do not ever make the mistake of thinking that they'd experience "MANY of the same things as American blacks" because nothing about the word MANY in that context is true what-so-ever and I'm definitely prepared to argue that claim with HISTORICAL FACTS if need be.

Otherwise, I want to ask you exactly what do you mean by "eventually rise above it". And this may be a rhetorical question rather than an answerable one because who's at liberty to judge when, in this case a group, rises above anything and whether or not they should even be credited with that. What would be the basis? It's my personal opinion that history will be one of the most important points of reference with issues such as these; whether its to argue, develop philosphies and or solve problems all within this context. To that end, I would strongly encourage you do some thorough research of some serious,legitimate, valid and reliable sources of history(particularly american). I don't want to come off as attacking you and you're certainly entitled to your opinions, but I have to put it out there, that there are so many holes in your arguments; to first seperate fact from mere popular opinion and or fiction before even addressing the points themselves.....I mean, I just didn't know where to begin. I was almost tempted to copy and then paste your entire response and then going from there, but that would be an exercise in futility. Rather, I'll leave you with this. If ever you want to seriously argue these points, and even more importantly be taken seriously you're better off piggybacking from facts; and even if you decide against doing any historical research what so ever, consider this, consider the subtle and not so subtle psychological nuances that have affected blacks in America; whether you want to talk about slavery, civil rights, HUMAN RIGHTS, social, political and economic justice, segregation, Jim Crow and I mean the list just goes on and on and on. Talks about the long-term psychological affects of the black american experience is dismissive and taken for granted. Once you understand that, and take that into consideration, you'll be one step closer understanding that your claim that somehow we'd(i'm assuming you meant blacks if not please correct me) be better off if we'd just "given up old grudges" just isn't, well to put it bluntly, plausible.



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