An Immigrant's View of Racism in America
Many neighborhoods in Los Angeles are neither majority black nor whites, but mostly Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, with both blacks and whites are becoming less and less visible. Many mainstream supermarkets are going out of business only to be replaced by ethnic supermarkets with Arabic or Hispanic music blasting while one shops, catering to the growing immigrant population. But in the mind of the US media, America is still racially divided between whites and blacks and is stuck on racial issues that were prevalent decades ago.
A large number of first generation immigrants in America don't view themselves as black or white, and even those who do cannot help but be puzzled with how deep the issue of race is ingrained in the psyche of America. Because of the importance of race politics in the US, immigrants quickly learn to either ignore the issue altogether and concentrate on achieving the success they came here for, or join one camp or another if they are emotionally or financially benefiting from racial issues. Many Arab Americans have tried to claim that they are a minority in order to get an advantage in hiring or college acceptance, without success, but demonstrating how the politics of race corrupt.
New immigrant families who did the impossible to come to America, are told soon after arriving that they are oppressed and should demand privileges and compensation for past injustice (which we have only experienced in the countries we fled from). But why not take the free stuff when offered? Immigrants would be stupid to reject the advantages proffered.
As a first generation immigrant, I perceive that constant racial consciousness and tension are extremely destructive to blacks, whites and others. I personally feel embarrassed and sad when I see grown men and women constantly complain about race and make a living promoting racial divide and anger. Many blacks and whites in America seem to be stuck on a phase in American history that they cannot seem to outgrow, preventing them from seeing the reality of change in American demographics.
Race talk in America keeps perpetuating the false idea that one race has life or death power over another, that the laws and Constitution of the United States are not enough to protect everyone, and that the only way out for blacks and other racial minorities is through constant blaming, shaming, anger, finger-pointing and rioting.
Below are some questions regarding race that many immigrants to the US wonder about:
1- Most new immigrants don't believe that whites or anyone have much power over their destiny, so why are African Americans constantly told they are powerless without white support and approval?
2- The most important protection against unfair treatment is the law, and the US has the fairest laws in the world when it comes to protection of minorities. Much better than the laws we immigrants left behind in the old country. So why are blacks buying the propaganda that they are unprotected?
3- If blacks in America are so oppressed, why then are dark skinned people flocking to come to America?
4- Most new immigrants don't look to whites to solve our problems, so why do blacks look to whites to solve their problems?
5- Are whites responsible for the destiny, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of blacks and other minorities?
6- Are whites even that powerful?
7- How can constant complaining about racism help black kids in any way?
8- It is obvious to most immigrants that White America often goes out of its way to make up for past injustice, but that seem to never be enough. Why is that?
9- Why do black and brown immigrants seem to succeed much quicker than African Americans?
10- Where I came from, slavery as well as sexual slavery still exists and is highly regulated and accepted in Islam, so why are many African Americans converting to Islam but still complain about US history of slavery?
11- Why are most white people divided into two camps regarding race issues?
12- Why is the liberal camp full of rage and anger at the conservative camp and accusing them of racism?
13- Since race baiting is profitable business, will it ever end?
14- Why are many African American activists constantly saying 'we need more discussion and dialogue over race'? Haven't they discussed this to death already?
15- The whole world has been hearing about racism in America by American media for decades, and CNN International is constantly telling the world we are racists. So how can America expect the world to be anything but hateful towards the US?
16- Why are African Americans ignoring the fact that old-fashioned slavery still exists in the Muslim world and parts of Africa?
17- Why aren't the majority of Americans aware that slavery historically existed extensively within people of the same race all around the world even before America was discovered?
Whites and blacks in America have been marinating in race shenanigans for decades and many are unable to see outside the fog. It is time for America to end the humiliating and dysfunctional dependant and co-dependent dynamics of race. Sorry for being blunt. Love you America, but it is time to grow up and grow out.
Nonie Darwish is the author of "The Devil We Don't Know."