This is an interesting piece that appeared today. I would hope that rather than there being divisions between African Americans and Latinos, that a struggle premised on a shared sense of fate would exist. Although there has been throughout history great collaboration between the two communities, divisions have also occur--almost always around divide and conquer strategies. This article makes the excellent point that many African Americans were pleased with Chinese exclusion in favor of European-origin immigration. Yet, African Americans then suffered at the hands of the latter. These are important matters for all of us to discuss in our homes, schools, and churches. -Angela
May 4, 2006
Growing Unease for Some Blacks on Immigration
By RACHEL L. SWARNS
WASHINGTON, May 3 — In their demonstrations across the country, some Hispanic immigrants have compared the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s struggle to their own, singing "We Shall Overcome" and declaring a new civil rights movement to win citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants.
Civil rights stalwarts like the Rev. Jesse Jackson; Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia; Julian Bond and the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery have hailed the recent protests as the natural progression of their movement in the 1960's.
But despite some sympathy for the nation's illegal immigrants, many black professionals, academics and blue-collar workers feel increasingly uneasy as they watch Hispanics flex their political muscle while assuming the mantle of a seminal black struggle for justice.
Some blacks bristle at the comparison between the civil rights movement and the immigrant demonstrations, pointing out that black protesters in the 1960's were American citizens and had endured centuries of enslavement, rapes, lynchings and discrimination before they started marching.
Others worry about the plight of low-skilled black workers, who sometimes compete with immigrants for entry-level jobs.
And some fear the unfinished business of the civil rights movement will fall to the wayside as America turns its attention to a newly energized Hispanic minority with growing political and economic clout.