Free African American by Rachel Swarns Essay Sample
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The author of the article is trying to elaborate the theme of debate that focuses on the use of the term African-American among the American black people. The author is portraying the arguments brought forth on who among the black race is depicted by the use of African-American. The descendants of the American slaves’ claims to be the African-American, and segregate the immigrant black to be in this category. The shifts in demography of the black race traces back to the changes made by the federal government on the immigration law that led to the influx of immigrants to the US. This has led to perception by the native-born black to view the descendants as the slaves fear about the identity of the ethnic label of the people of the same color.
They note that the children of immigrants encompass all the institutions of learning and politics. For instance, Collin Powell is perceived to be a child of a Jamaican immigrant, and Barrack Obama’s father is perceived to be Kenyan. Although they claim to be African-Americans, they are not seen to share the same heritage irrespective of similar physical characteristics. The descendants of the slaves claim that their conscience as persons is shaped by the struggle that is deeply emotional and painful with the reality of the struggle that their ancestors toiled in slavery, in their country. Many black Americans argue that the term African-American should be used in reference to the slave descendants and not to the immigrants. This is based on the fact that they never inherited the legacy of segregation and legal discrimination. The African-Americans, as they prefer to be known, do have the fear of being snatched the opportunities hard-won through the civil rights movements.
They perceive the black immigrants, together with their children, have achieved more than the native-born in education, as portrayed by the values of the median income. Sociologists put it that foreign-born blacks are less psychologically affected by the race stigma with many coming to US for their high education levels and professional experience. As a result, they encounter less discrimination. Immigrants are viewed as a hurdle struggling to climb the ladder of well being by the native blacks in order for them to achieve their dreams. They are perceived to be aggressive, and they sacrifice a lot to get there. This creates a dividing line for competition with the native blacks. These arguments have been discredited by others as not reflecting the views of black Americans fighting against colonialism and poverty in Africa and the Caribbean. Thus, sharing more than their differences, as the pattern of struggle and degradation is the same.
The term African was being used in the 17th and 18th centuries with the word colored gaining momentum in 1800. It popularly referred to mix and full African heritage. There are other terms that were used depending on the degree of white blood in their ancestry. The term African-American gained momentum when Rev. Jesse Jackson urged the American to use it as it put them to proper historical context, since the term had reached the level of maturity. Since then, the number of blacks using the term has increased; with 66% preferring it even in the political fixture where the white use it to refer to all blacks. It is only among the blacks that the term has not come to an agreement as it is more difficult when one recognizes that their country is full of people of the African origin. Therefore, the argument head to accepting that the term African-American should be used by all even the immigrants, even though others feel that the term black is inclusive of all; foreign and native blacks. Thus, the article tries to define the many people in America and know who they are and where they are classified in the US, as many methods are applied in the process of tribe classification for that which is their home.
This paper is developed on the notion that immigrants should not be incorporated in the same class of the native born black Americans. It revolves around how most native blacks perceive the fellow African-American, and use it to depict only the native-born blacks. The segregation of the immigrant blacks by their counterparts show that the natives still have the characteristics of discrimination. It also shows that they are trying to enlighten those that are still embedded on the historical segregation to join their efforts in the building their lives together.
They should not perceive the immigrants as only the rippers of their hard work of fighting segregation, but a companion in the sense that they share resources at their disposal to fight poverty. The historical stigma of discrimination needs to be put aside as this acts as a barrier to advancement. Also, it handicaps even the able persons making them vulnerable to discrimination more than their immigrant counterparts. The immigrants should not be viewed as intruders to the lives of the natives, who have the capability to diminish the dreams of the natives’ splendid life. The shifting labels among the blacks has the reflection of the changes of social-economics and political strategies over the view of identity (Swarns).
The paper tries to solve the current mode of discrimination among people that historically share the same heritage. The paper shows that even the prime crusaders of white discrimination against them are now on the fore front claiming that their label should not be used to address people who do not share the real historical pain of segregation. The reason behind this is that they see the children of immigrants or foreign born being in the frontline to reap where the never sowed. This paper exposes the silent and undisclosed discrimination among the blacks against their fellow blacks.
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