African immigrants, affirmative action, and Harvard University

By Edward Hayes

June 20, 2009 2:58 PM


Educated African immigrants today are doing to angry African-Americans the same thing that genteel southern blacks did to angry black northerners the last thirty years; . . . quietly moving in and replacing them in the economy. While self-righteous and animated civil rights veterans in Chicago, New York, Detroit, and Los Angeles marched, protested, grew long hair, and elected crooked politicians, less demonstrative and more reasonable black folk from Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia moved into the big cities and sucked up the best jobs. The angry young, gifted and black natives of Harlem, Watts, and Chicago’s south side are still languishing in Harlem, Watts, and the wastelands of the south side waiting for Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton to deliver them from evil and distribute slave reparations.

Meanwhile, the wave of black brothers and sisters from the south have moved into homes in the suburbs, freed their children from the horror of the Arne Duncan Public School System, and are graduating from good colleges and universities.  It stands to reason that the ethnic group, race, or cult with the highest high school graduation rate is going to supplant other identifiable tribes with lesser percentages of grads. It’s happening again, but this time the demographic group that is quietly moving up and away is not born here. 

As far back as 2004, celebrated Harvard University professors Henry Louis Gates and Lani Guinier, raised eyebrows at an alumni reunion by asking the question:  Where are university’s new black students coming from? Two years ago, Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune editorial writer, opened the media door to this educational truth when he wrote, ‘About 8 percent of Harvard University undergraduates were black.  One-half to two-thirds of them were either West Indian or African Immigrants.’ 

Immigrants make up 13% of the nation’s college-age black population, but their representation in Ivy League and elite universities exceeds 25% of the total enrollment of black students, twice their proportion in the general population!  Elite schools are admitting black students, in part to accommodate both legal and sociological goals.  Those goals were driven by the Civil Rights Movement of the Vietnam generation.  Africans do not necessarily require affirmative action to attend college, but surely many benefit from it.  Consequently, many black youngsters that have absolutely no connection to American slavery are benefiting from the Martin Luther King phenomena. Curiously, both the President of the United States, Barack Obama of Kenyan heritage, and arguably the most respected public figure in the nation, Jamaican descendent, Colin Powell, have the same amount of civil rights credentials as Dick Cheney and Pat Buchannan.  None.    

Indigenous urban blacks have waited decades to declare victory in the War on Poverty while their religious leaders have grown wealthy, and their elected representatives have been indicted and imprisoned.  Immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean aren’t waiting for deliverance, they’re earning it the old-fashioned way.   

Found in the L.A. Examiner




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