Let me start off by saying that I've been delighted to see the discussion in the comments section to this excellent blog post. I've watched the shifts in African-American women's online conversations since 2007. Praise God, a critical mass of African-American (AA) women have finally learned how to put our own ethnic group's interests first and foremost. And many of us have learned how to follow the money and resources trail. All of which is the way every other ethnic group on this planet behaves.
Hopefully, the correct predictions I've made over the years has earned me a bit of patience from the reading audience. Recently, I've done several posts talking about the bitter fruit that AA women will continue to reap from their knee-jerk, rabid, unsolicited support of the 12 Years A Slave movie because it parallels some other catastrophic trends. Trends that are catastrophic for the masses of AAs, while creating material, monetary and career benefits for foreign-origin Blacks, Latinos, and other non-African-Americans.
I'm talking about multiple trends (in various fields of endeavor) that are rooted in reaping the benefits created by AA civil rights martyrs while simultaneously leading to the displacement and erasure of AAs. I'm talking about the displacement and erasure of AAs in higher education, political representation, and the American entertainment industry.
Having access to higher education is important. Follow the money and resources trail. Access to higher education has traditionally provided the only ladder up and out of poverty for AAs. Well, we're (and by "we," I'm talking about my own ethnic group, AAs) being replaced by foreign-origin Blacks in many elite American universities. I talked about this during my first month of blogging in September 2008:
Charity Should Begin at Home, Part 1: "Study: Universities prefer foreign black students"Common sense and a healthy instinct for self-preservation dictate that charity begins at home. And it does. For everybody except African-Americans. We're too busy sharing what we don't even have, and putting other people's interests before our own. Before I get too far into this topic, let me make it clear that I am not advocating resentment against any other group of people. It is perfectly natural (and fair) for people to look out for their own interests. I'm simply pointing out a trend that is not in our long-term interests; and the fact that we need to do a better job of self-preservation.
Let me also make it clear that when I refer to "African-Americans" in this post, I'm exclusively referring to the people who are descended from those Africans who were held in slavery here in the United States. In the context of this post, I'm referring exclusively to the people whose struggle and dead martyrs paved the way to progress during the Civil Rights Movement. Before somebody says "us too," I'll note that there were others who participated. Like Panamanian-born Kenneth Clark (who conducted the doll study involved in the Brown v. Board of Education case). However, the overwhelming majority of the people who created, supported and died in this struggle were African-Americans.
We engage in self-oppression when we refuse to look out for our own interests. This is a large part of why African-Americans continue to suffer as a group. Our self-defeating behavior is part of the reason why other ethnic groups, including foreign Blacks, have been able to advance while we fall further behind. The only thing that remains constant is our position at the bottom of almost every measurable social index.
The core problem is our general refusal to properly understand our unique history, our unique struggle, and our unique situation within this country. Many African-Americans refuse to understand that other so-called people of color (including many of our foreign Black cousins) are actually RIVALS for many of the resources and opportunities that our people's struggle created. We want to believe that we are in "coalitions" with other people.
Umm. . . No. What has happened is that other ethnic groups have harnessed our energy and resources in support of their agendas. When African-Americans participate in coalitions, we allow others to capitalize off of our unique history and the unique debt that is owed to us. Resources that should go to us as restitution for the specific harms that have been done to us in this country are siphoned off by other groups. The African-American Civil Rights Movement created resources that should have been used as restitution for the centuries of slavery, followed by the century of official Jim Crow segregation that our people have suffered right here. Instead, these resources have been converted into vague "diversity" programs that benefit everybody else.
There's a story entitled, "Study: Universities prefer foreign black students" from the March 7, 2007 issue of The Daily Princetonian. Here's the link: www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2007/03/07/news/17622.shtml
The story describes the current situation. Here's the money quote:
"Blacks at Ivy League schools are over three times more likely to be immigrants than blacks in America's general population, a study published in February's American Journal of Education and coauthored by Princeton researchers suggests. Within the United States, first and second-generation black immigrants make up 13 percent of the total black population. In contrast, data from the National Longitudinal Study of Freshmen found that international black students---either first or second-generation---made up 23 percent of blacks attending public universities and 41 percent of those attending Ivy League schools." (emphasis added)
This is just the beginning stage of this trend line. I could compare it to the point in the 1960s when the Moynihan Report came out warning about the rise of single-parent Black families. We ignore this situation at our own peril. Many of us depend on set-aside programs to either pay for, or to get into, much of higher education. If these resources created by our civil rights martyrs continue to be systematically diverted to other people, then we're in a lot of trouble as a group. Any future depends upon access to higher education.
What will we do when the percentage of immigrant-origin Blacks among Black college students reaches 51%? Or 75%? Or 90%?
It looks like we'll do something similar to what we do in terms of Latino immigration. We stand and watch while legal and illegal Latino immigrants work at construction jobs in Black residential areas. Soon, we'll be watching our foreign Black cousins and their children go off to college while we remain behind in our slums.
Here's another money quote from the story,"What to do with the conclusions of the study depends on admission officers' definition of affirmative action, Massey said. 'If the purpose of affirmative action is to redress past wrongs and redress former slaves and people victimized by a century of Jim Crow, then you want to favor native blacks perhaps,' he said. 'If the purpose is to reflect the diversity of American society, then you want to favor immigrant blacks.'"
This ties into why I have extremely ambivalent feelings about Black immigrants who are pushy about claiming the label "African-American" for themselves. Other people re-defining our category to suit their needs helps to obscure situations like the one described in the article. After all, how does one measure or track this situation if immigrant-origin Blacks are claiming to be "African-Americans"? I also start to wonder if some of them are so quick to claim this label when there's nothing to be gained from calling oneself "African-American." Do they call themselves "African-American" just to reap the benefits of our struggle? Or do they do this out of a real sense of solidarity with us?
I've met a number of Black immigrants who stand in sincere solidarity with us. I've met a number who do not. I've also run across those who only claim any connection to us when there is something to be gained.
The story ends with a quote from an African student stating that he doesn't feel that Africans are overrepresented at Princeton. He goes on to add that, in economic terms, African children are disadvantaged compared to African-American children. I see nothing wrong with him saying this. He's just looking our for his best interests. I would be saying similar things if I was of immigrant origin.
When are we going to start looking out for our best interests? When are we going to use whatever influence we have with any of these college admissions officers to ensure that African-Americans get at least a proportionate slice of the resources that our martyrs created? Let me be clear: I'm not interested in blocking anybody else's advancement. I just want to make sure that my own group gets our slice. I've got some phone calls to make. I hope you make some calls too.
As I've repeatedly said: I'm not angry at non-AAs. I expect people to maximize their OWN interests. It's not anybody else's fault that AAs help various categories of non-AAs snatch up the opportunities created by AA civil rights martyrs. My point has always been to help other AA women catch a clue and learn how to look out for their OWN best interests as individuals and as African-Americans.
AAs have also slit our own throats politically. I talked about this during another September 2008 post:
Charity Should Begin at Home, Part 2: Black Folks' Mass Suicide by CoalitionAfrican-American leaders are feckless and foolish. Most of them have an uncompromising commitment to mediocrity and political fantasies. One such fantasy has been the notion of a rainbow coalition. And we've been fools to buy into this fantasy. Most of us never developed the simple (yet life-saving) habit of asking, "What's in it for us [to support x, y, z position]?" Many of us still don't understand that what our (mis)leaders call "coalitions" and "alliances" actually consist of other people capitalizing off of our unique historical struggle.
Our lack of political common sense has already cost us. Dearly. In terms of political empowerment, we've already slit our own wrists. Our (mis)leaders encouraged us to support Latino and other non-White immigration, and to cry copious tears over the "plight" of various categories of illegal immigrants. We were encouraged to assume that non-White immigrants were somehow our natural, and automatic allies in the quest for justice.
Umm . . . No. People generally come to the United States to get paid. Period. There's nothing wrong with that. Like I said in Part 1 of this series, it is normal, natural, and fair for people to look out for their own interests. I would like to see more African-Americans acquire this mental habit. Somehow, we got it in our heads that other people of color are naturally inclined to help us in our struggle. NO. Helping us is not part of most immigrants' mission profile. People come here to find a better life for themselves. Not to join our struggle.
We are now reaping the consequences of foolishly supporting non-White (legal and illegal) immigration to this country. We are being displaced. We are being physically displaced in many areas of the country. This physical displacement leads to political displacement. Many currently Black congressional districts have large and growing Latino populations. NO Latino districts have growing Black populations. I've read reports estimating that this demographic shift will cause Blacks to lose 6-7 congressional seats after the 2010 census redistricting.
One example of this was last year's battle for the traditionally Black 37th Congressional District seat in Southern California. This district covers an area including much of Long Beach, Compton, and Watts. The death of Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald led to a special primary election. A May 8, 2007 article from Politico.com talks about this political race. Here's the link:
An African-American candidate ultimately won the seat. See the July 3, 2007 article from the Los Angeles Times entitled, "Racial issues take a back seat in 37th - Multiracial support has Laura Richardson poised to represent a largely Latino district. Her take: 'We are a new America, very diverse.'" http://articles.latimes.com/2007/jul/03/local/me-congress3
However, it is important to note that Rep. Richardson won a Democratic primary with 10 other candidates running. She then went on to win the runoff election against 3 other candidates. This is not an example of a strong, solid victory. It sounds quite fragile. Decades of believing in a "Black and Brown Together" fantasy helped make this vulnerable situation possible. We enabled our own political disenfranchisement by supporting non-White immigration. We slit our own wrists.
As a side note, Rep. Richardson is half White. She has an African-American father and a White mother. I don't know if she emphasized this fact during her campaign. I also don't know whether or not she self-identifies as "Black" or if she's highly invested in indentifying as something distinct from Black, such as "biracial." The media refer to her as African-American. Her parents divorced, and she was raised by her White mother. http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docID=news-000002573713
The displacement and disenfranchisement of African-Americans in California's big cities is fairly obvious. What's not so obvious is that this process is being replicated in small towns across the South. Legal and illegal immigrants are overrunning rural towns all over "Dixie." Praise God, some of us are starting to wake up and see this for what it is: NOT in our interests. A Los Angeles Times article from August 31, 2008 entitled, "Immigrant raid divides a Mississippi town" mentions the variety of reactions to an immigration raid.
The above story talks about the employment angle of illegal immigration. What about the political repercussions? What happens in these towns (and the South in general) if illegal immigrants are given amnesty and the ability to vote? Answer: The same thing that is happening in California. Blacks will be pushed aside in our traditional population centers in the South.
Miami is a sneak preview of what will become of Black folks' political fortunes across this country if we don't change course right now. Looking at Miami, it's clear that living under the heels of Latino political overlords is not a pretty picture for African-Americans.
An article from the Winter 2008 volume of City Journal entitled, "The Rainbow Coalition Evaporates" also describes how some of us are belatedly coming to our senses. http://city-journal.org/2008/18_1_blacks_and_immigration.html
I just hope that this realization hasn't come too late. We've already slit our own wrists, and the blood is flowing freely. There's still time to bandage some of the wounds, but only if we immediately start looking out for our own best interests.
Political offices are important. Follow the money and resources trail. Holding political office leads to controlling lots of "good government jobs." Having access to these "good government jobs" is extremely important for an ethnic group (guess who) that refuses to "do for self" by creating and supporting their own business infrastructure.
This trend line of AAs being displaced, replaced and erased by non-African-Americans is even further along than it was when I first mentioned all of this in 2008.
The way AA women consumers spend their money is important, and creates generational effects. Follow the money and resources trail. I gave the specific examples of decades of entertainment money going from Greg Morris (Mission: Impossible, 1966 TV series) to his son actor Phil Morris to Phil Morris' White wife. And from Michael Warren (Hill Street Blues, 1981 TV series) to his half-Black son Cash Warren, to Cash Warren's nonblack wife, Jessica Alba and their totally-White-looking daughter. The photos in that post tell the story.
In more recent years, it's come to the point that AA women consumers launched crusades in financial support of being erased from their own history (Red Tails).
And now in 2014, AA women are giving fanatical financial support to non-AA outsiders reaping the lion's share of the monetary and career benefits of a movie based on an AA person's autobiography (12 Years A Slave). As a people, we're allowing ourselves to be erased and/or replaced across the board. Even down to allowing outsiders to tell our historical stories in place of us.
We do these sorts of things and then wonder why our group (as a collective) has not, does not, and will not prosper. Like it's a mystery. While other people use our resources to pass us by.
In each case, AAs were worried about "being fair" (meanwhile nobody else worries about being fair to us). In each case, gullible AAs assumed that "we're all in it together" with foreign-origin Blacks, Latinos, and other immigrants from the third world. Umm . . . no. While gullible AAs are worrying about "being fair" to other folks to the detriment of their own interests as AAs, these other folks are focused on looking out for themselves. First and foremost. As any sensible person and group would.
Hopefully, incidents like the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case will break AAs out of the bad habit of reciting that okey-doke "Blacks and Latinos" mantra that Rev. Al "Hot Comb" Sharpton, Rev. Jesse "Baby Daddy" Jackson, and other AA misleaders love reciting.
BONUS COMMENTARY. Our misleadership class really did us a disservice. As I've repeatedly emphasized when talking about inter-ethnic Black affairs, the problem hasn't been foreign-origin Blacks. The problem is with AAs' general refusal to set boundaries with outsiders in general, including with foreign Blacks. A simple thought experiment will show what I mean by this.
Imagine that you made the voluntary and uninvited choice to move to the West Indies or an African country. Can you imagine fixing your lips to tell the native inhabitants that "it's a two-way street" that you don't like the things they say to and about you as an immigrant?
No, you probably can't imagine doing that because there is NO "two-way street" in that type of scenario. As an *uninvited immigrant, you're on THEIR street in THEIR country! Many of the locals would probably be quick to tell you that if you really have a problem with the people of that country, you're free to take yourself back home to the U.S. And they'd be totally justified in telling you that. Because you're a guest in somebody else's home country.
Well, the AA misleadership class has so many AAs mentally frozen in an oppositional relationship with the U.S. that we've forgotten that this is OUR country!
OUR ancestors' unpaid slave labor created this country's wealth. Claim ownership of your country! There's NO "two-way street" between you and any immigrant. It's YOUR street in YOUR country. That YOUR ancestors built. Keep it all in perspective. I'm perfectly fine with folks who have good manners and are good guests. They're welcome, as far as I'm concerned. I don't know about you, but I don't like it when uninvited guests show up in my house and then want to talk greasy to me.
Keep it all in perspective. For me, the starting point of any squabble with nonwhite, non-European immigrants is the fact that my people’s Civil Rights Movement led to, and influenced, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Prior to African-Americans’ Civil Rights Movement, White Americans were quite clear about keeping non-Europeans out of this country.
One of the few good things about the post-9/11 environment is that it made White Americans rethink their open door policy with these nonwhite immigrants. And considering how many of these nonwhite immigrants are racists with "stank" attitudes, I say “Good riddance to bad trash” whenever they’re deported. This is why I’m less offended by the government’s anti-Muslim crackdown than I ordinarily would be—because I want the racist, "stank"-attitude Somalis, Arabs, Pakistanis, etc. OUT of this country. I’ve seen these people and their attitudes at the mosque. I don’t shed any tears for most of them who are hassled or deported. Most of them can’t leave this country fast enough for me. The same applies to anybody else who's a bad, uninvited guest with a "stank" attitude.
*There's a difference between invited and uninvited guests/immigrants. The UK is an example of a country that specifically invited folks to come there in the modern era (after WWII). From Wikipedia:
As a result of the losses during the war, the British government began to encourage mass immigration from the countries of the British Empire and Commonwealth to fill shortages in the labour market. The 1948 British Nationality Act gave British citizenship to all people living in Commonwealth countries, and full rights of entry and settlement in Britain. Many West Indians were attracted by better prospects in what was often referred to as the mother country.
The ship MV Empire Windrush brought the first group of 492 immigrants to Tilbury near London on 22 June 1948. The Windrush was en route from Australia to England via the Atlantic, docking in Kingston, Jamaica. An advertisement had appeared in a Jamaican newspaper offering cheap transport on the ship for anybody who wanted to come and work in the UK. The arrivals were temporarily housed in the Clapham South deep shelter in southwest London less than a mile away from Coldharbour Lane in Brixton. Many only intended to stay in Britain for a few years, and although a number returned to the Caribbean to rejoin the RAF, the majority remained to settle permanently. The arrival of the passengers has become an important landmark in the history of modern Britain, and the image of West Indians filing off its gangplank has come to symbolise the beginning of modern British multicultural society. See Windrush image "here". .
Now that's an example of folks who were invited to enter a country. Most of the immigrants (of all types) who talk greasy to AAs were NOT invited to come here. Keep it all in perspective.