Are Black Immigrants Black?

Debra Dickerson on the divide between 'native' and 'immigrant' blacks
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2008 7:31 PM CST
Are Black Immigrants Black?
A sight seeing bus with tourist drives past the Apollo and turns at the the intersection known as African Square in the New York neighborhood of Harlem on Oct. 18, 2007. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)   (Associated Press)

The notion that a black American must be a “descendant of West African slaves brought here to labor for whites against their will” just reinforces the “invisibility that black immigrants face in America,” Debra Dickerson writes in Mother Jones. But she can’t escape it herself, she admits; she has said that Barack Obama isn’t black, endorsing “a politico-cultural reality which I reject.”

"'Black' is simply a label which obscures more than it illuminates,” writes Dickerson, who sees behavior from the streets to the Ivy League that puts a premium on a heritage of American slavery. Though studies show African immigrants to be the country's most educated group, blacks often shun them. African-Americans “don't want them taking 'our' jobs and affirmative action slots.” (More Debra Dickerson stories.)

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