Immigration reform or what have you should start with a frank and honest discussion about Blacks in America. While President Obama is still one of my favorite presidents, his push for a path to citizenship for those who came here illegal is perplexing. We would have a huge influx of new citizens from just south of the border rather than a balance blend of people from all around the world. Before we bring anyone into the American family we should consider those who toiled to make this great nation; those who were stolen from the land and those whose land was stolen.
I understand that many Mexicans feel free to ignore the southern border because they think that Texas, Arizona, parts of California and of course New Mexico was stolen from them. Native Americans can say that two continents were inexplicably taken from them. Historians will tell you that America jumped passed older nations from the Old World economically in part because of the cheap and free labor provided by African slaves. And folks have the nerve to say “go back to Africa” like we wanted to come here in the first place. Heaven knows that resources-rich Africa would have done well if respected and if her nations were considered normal members of the global community.
I love the fact that President U.S. Grant wanted to buy the island of Hispaniola (current Haiti and the Dominican Republic) to create a nation in this region for former slaves. The web is buzzing with a rare video of Dr. Martin Luther King going off about the land that was given to Europeans who arrived after the Civil War but no land for those former slaves who worked by force for over 150 years before 1776.
To be honest, the use of Mexican labor over the last few decades was based on replacing the recently freed African Americans—yes, we were freed around 1970. Dr. Hollis at my Black college had the vision to tell her pol sci majors that America’s relationship with African Americans wasn’t based on our being minorities because in time we wouldn’t be the top minority group. It was based on our labor and oppression in the making of this great nation.
The Japanese Americans were placed in internment camps during World II and that was wrong (where were the Italian and Germany internment camps.) In the 1990s, the U.S. Congress compensated them for this wrong but if they were owed an inch, Black America would be owed a freaking mile. It will never happen but keep that in the back of your mind, Mr. Go Back To Africa. And we shouldn’t act as if current people and companies are still benefiting from the cheap labor that continue with Jim Crow and sharecropping until the 1970s.
Moderates shouldn’t be lumped together with liberals on immigration reform because we often feel that the country should slow it’s roll on this matter. The decisions about what to do with African and Native Americans usually didn’t include those two groups. So, we should address some lingering issues before opening the doors any wider.