More Africans Enter U.S. Than in Days of Slavery

More Africans Enter U.S. Than in Days of Slavery
New York Times

Immigration may also shift some of the nation’s focus from racial distinctions to ethnic ones. “Certainly, South Africa showed us that minority status does not necessarily correlate to one’s position in society, but rather that power and its uses are the issues,” said Samuel K. Roberts of Columbia, a history professor who is also on the faculty of the university’s Institute for Research in African-American Studies. “That being said, increasingly distinguishing between black Americans and black Africans may produce conditions in which we will be less prone to think of a fictional construct of ‘race’ as the distinguishing factor among all of us in North America.”

How long might those distinctions last? “I guess one of the questions will have to be what happens in the next generation or two,” said Professor Foner of Columbia. “In America, marriage is the great solvent. Are they going to melt into the African-American population? Most likely yes.”

Look at the last sentence of the article; the writer assumes that intermarriage will be with African Americans. I would bet Africans are more likely to marry white Americans. Education and aspirations are important factors — in my experience, African immigrants have more in common with majority Americans than with African Americans. Perhaps slavery was an experience that really changed some social groups profoundly. Perhaps it’s sort of a class or self-concept difference. But while African immigrants may be drawn to other immigrants because of the similarity of the immigrant experience, I think that when they marry non-immigrants they will tend to marry whites or others that share their views on family and society. Africans families tend to be very stable and their values are usually quite conservative.

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