Freedom Folks

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Timely: Blacks React To Illegal Protests

Source: NYT
WASHINGTON, May 3 — In their demonstrations across the country, some Hispanic immigrants have compared the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s struggle to their own, singing "We Shall Overcome" and declaring a new civil rights movement to win citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants.

Civil rights stalwarts like the Rev. Jesse Jackson; Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia; Julian Bond and the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery have hailed the recent protests as the natural progression of their movement in the 1960's.

But despite some sympathy for the nation's illegal immigrants, many black professionals, academics and blue-collar workers feel increasingly uneasy as they watch Hispanics flex their political muscle while assuming the mantle of a seminal black struggle for justice.
I attended a protest on the south side of Chicago yesterday. Present were the Chicago Minutemen and Anthony Williams a noted black activist who is currently running for Congress and several locals who live literally across the street from an enormous factory that passes over them in it's hiring allegedly for illegal aliens. I had the opportunity to speak with several of them during the course of the protest.

Their concerns were straightforward. They feel that their community is held to a different and more stringent standard than that of illegals. They expressed disgust that because illegals often use false ID they often face no longterm consequence for their actions, while the young black men I spoke to were citizens whose convictions followed them for the rest of their lives.

In other words they couldn't agree with this article more.

I found this interesting over at TheBlackProf...
1) Economic competition - but when blacks say immigrants are taking "our jobs," they really mean the jobs that might go to (the large number of) young black dropouts. African Americans would be better off focusing on ways to get blacks, especially males, to graduate from high school.
While I agree whole heartedly that this would be the best possible outcome, how do we get there? Here in Chicago our firmly entrenched Democrats have all but given up on the poor black community. A good friend of ours taught in a predominantly black neighborhood high school, the stories she relates would chill your blood as to how the city has simply shrugged off the nagging problem of blacks lagging educationally.

The truth is that the first step on the ladder of success often isn't education. I realize in this day and age this sounds counter-intuitive but it's the truth. The first step out of poverty often comes through employment. The first generation gets a decent job and learns some basic skills and responsibility, the second and third often build on these experiences climbing the educational and financial ladders of success.

But our thinking on this is precisely backwards. Instead of trying to create those jobs and opportunities that will naturally pull communities away from their current slumps all we offer is the one thing that will not help, education. It is the exception not the rule that kids will be pulled up through this method, and while we should most definitely celebrate every story of that sort, let's not demand it from those for whom it may be exactly the wrong thing.

I'm reminded of a family with two brothers, the brothers are as different as can be. One brother excels at school garnering awards and scholarships. The other struggles in school barely surviving the experience, this brother tends to learn things the hard way, perhaps he has a couple of small offenses on his record or some jail time.

Which one will be more successful? Instinct tells us brother one is more likely to succeed, but that's primarily because we've overemphasized the importance of formal education. In truth either brother may very well be the successful one. There is no one route to success, how dare we in our 'compassion' demand people pursue their success in a way that's pleasing to us.

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