Inspired by global protests against systemic racism and police brutality, Nigerian-American blogger Nifesimi Akingbe wore a black shirt with the words “I am black history” and began recording videos.
Then, Akingbe went on to list her dissatisfaction with American racism and conveyed her message to her black immigrant community: This is also your battle.
“When these policemen see us, or when some of the racists see us, they see black people.” Akinbe said in a 34-minute video posted on YouTube. They “don̵
Akingbe in the suburbs of Baltimore is one of many young black immigrants or children of immigrants. They say they are fighting for racial equality while also trying to convince older members of the community that these issues are also important to them.
The 31-year-old told the Associated Press: “I think their mentality is different.” She was referring to immigrants like her parents, who said that these immigrants often ignore ethnic issues.
To be sure, most black immigrants have experienced the cruel legacy of European colonial rule, while immigrants from Latin American and Caribbean countries have a history of slavery in their home countries.
In the United States, from the civil rights movement to the current demonstrations on black life issues, there are also intergenerational tensions in the African American community in terms of anti-racism. David Canton, professor of African American history at the University of Florida, said, but these have largely exceeded tactics.
“Everyone plays a role in sports. People must learn to get along with them and respect people’s decisions.” Canton said.
Like Aquimbe, Nigerian-American Ade Okupe has been in dialogue with elderly immigrants, hoping that they can affect the brutal treatment of the police.
The 27-year-old said that so far, he has not succeeded.
“This is not a problem for the previous generation,” said Okupe, who lives in Parkville, a suburb of Baltimore. In some of their chats, older immigrants told him that they came to the United States to work to provide a better life for their children, not to protest race.
“They want to make sure they don’t do anything that shakes things up,” said Daniel Gillion, author of “The Loud Minority: Why Protests Are Important in American Democracy.”
“They try to be good citizens, and the protest in their eyes-overthrowing and criticizing the country-is not what they think of being good citizens.”
For some immigrants, their attitude is driven by concerns about their children.
Elsa Arega, an Ethiopian immigrant who lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was taken aback by the police killing George Floyd in May and worried about what happened. But she also wanted to keep her daughter (a college student in Virginia) safe and worried that if her daughter participated in the protests, she might put herself in danger.
“I just want her to focus on her education,” Arega said in his native language, Amharic. “People come to this country to work and change lives, not to argue with the government.”
According to the Immigration Organization, the number of blacks immigrating to the United States has increased in recent decades, largely due to family reunions, receiving refugees from war-torn countries such as Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and diversity visas Due to the lottery program. Policy Research Institute.
This led to the dominance of the entire American racial enclave in New York City. Ethiopians left their mark in the Washington DC area, and black immigrants from the Caribbean were particularly prominent in Florida and New York City. The Somalis had considerable influence in Minneapolis, where Freud died under the knees of a white policeman. He was later charged with three other policemen.
The global protest movement that followed Floyd’s death was launched eight years after the police shot and killed the 18-year-old Jamaican immigrant’s son, Ramarley Graham, in the Bronx.
In 1999, Amadou Diallo, a Guinean immigrant, was shot 41 shots by four white New York City police officers and mistaken their wallets for guns. His death sparked widespread demonstrations, but in 2000 all personnel were acquitted. In the same year, the deadly police shot the 26-year-old Haitian American Patrick Dorismond (Patrick Dorismond), triggering another wave of protests against police brutality in New York.
Such police killings may disturb immigrants. Many of them come to the United States in search of a better life and then find themselves caught in the centuries-old ethnic conflict in the United States.
“When they arrived here, they realized that their treatment was the same, and they began to have a certain sympathy for black Americans,” said Bill Unsing, founder of the Immigration Law Resource Center and professor of law at St. Louis University. Francisco.
In fact, one of the co-founders of the original Black Lives Matter network was Opal Tometi, the daughter of Nigerian immigrants. Civil rights leader Malcolm X is also the son of immigrants from Grenada.
“In the final analysis, we are all one person,” said Kwad Annor, a 25-year-old Ghanaian American who lives in Houston. “Whether you are a black American who grew up on the African continent or someone from other places, we are a community in the diaspora.”