I love hearing the perspectives of immigrants, because they always confirm my belief that American exceptionalism is a lie. I’ve met Africans who have a very hard time understanding the diaspora of African Americans here, as they assume like you that we are free…we have basic civil rights like everyone…we can move out of poverty easily…or that we have “opportunities.” It’s not true. Just look at the last few elections. Look at our Supreme Court. Look at our criminal justice and public education systems. Observe our tax codes and how tax cuts are given to the rich at the expense of the working class and poor.
America does a fantastic job pumping out national propaganda to the world about how good it is for anyone desiring to come here. It’s sold as the land of milk and honey. It is for some. Only if you’re White though.
I’ll never forget the time I had a Kenya doctor working in my former home town about why some ignorant, poor White rural patients refused to allow him to treat them because he was Black. They would rather die than to have a Black anything touch them. It took a long time for him to understand American racism, and that even though he wasn’t African American, he was placed in the same class as us.
No matter how smart he was, how many degrees he had, how wealthy he was, how nice and kind he was, or how well he could heal him of their illnesses…he was a Black, and that was considered a lower class to them. We became very good friends and we would spend hours in private talking about the differences of his Black commoner/working class circles, Black professional circles and rich White doctor circles.
The Kenyans, like most immigrants had their eyes opened about the real America, and they decided once their children were out of school they would be go back to their homeland. My Kenyan friends find safety and comfort with other Kenyan immigrants, people they can trust. The doctor has heard the rich White America doctors planning on how to segregate themselves from color, how they horde all the goodness for Whiteness. Other immigrant doctors come in and follow suit so not to rock or give the appearance they are supporting Blacks. It’s unfortunate.
My heart goes out to you and other immigrants who come here and just can’t seem to survive. I have read about immigrant taxi drivers committing suicide in NY because they can’t afford the taxi medallion fees. I’ve read about immigrants committing suicide because they can’t assimilate to Whiteness, they aren’t getting rich like the American dream said they would. They silently struggle in the shadows and America has no sympathy for them because they believe they got money to come here.
They don’t understand people are paying money to immigrate here, only to be abused. Please continue to share your experiences and views, as it’s educational for the arrogant (maybe not so much), and the ignorant. We need perspective. We need the truth. We need a mirror to show us we’re not as beautiful as we thought we were.