African Immigrants vs. African-Americans - who is right?
November 06, 2005, 05:39 AM
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Recently, it appears, there has been an influx of black immigrants from the troubled West African country of Liberia into the predominantly African- American area of Southwest Philadelphia. Many seemingly qualify for the privileged status of refugee.

The locals are not amused, and have responded characteristically. On Thursday, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported

The vicious beating of a 13-year-old Liberian boy in Southwest Philadelphia this week has exposed a larger problem of animosity between African Americans and African immigrants, according to community members and school officials..."It`s been going on for a quite a while," said Sekou Kamara, 25, a Liberian immigrant and Temple University student ..."It`s just the first time we`ve seen it in the newspapers."...Kamara said some African Americans perceive the growing African-born community as a threat.

"That`s what the fighting is really about," he said. "You have this increasing African community competing with African American kids."

[Residents say beating fits widespread pattern - By Robert Moran, Gaiutra Bahadur and Susan Snyder The Philadelphia Inquirer November 3 2005 Access requires free registration]

Of course the immigrants see the cause as reflecting their virtues:

Orabella Richards, a Liberian businesswoman ...said there is often friction between the two groups.

"There`s anger about African immigrants coming here and doing so well," she said. "You see them fixing up their houses, buying cars." ..."The worst of all is if you`re good in class," said Varney Kanneh, 47, a host on WSKR-FM (97.7) from Liberia, who alleged that some of his children had been harassed and attacked in Philadelphia public schools. The immigrants make some of the African American students look bad, Kanneh said, "and they don`t want to look bad."

The immigrants may well be right. And it is impossible to consider an eighth grader only in the country six weeks being beaten unconscious without disgust. (Although it should be noted `Normal` at Tilden Middle School is different -Elmer Smith The Philadelphia Inquirer November 4 2005 reports the police feel there was a drug dimension.)

But the fact is that when in the first story

Patricia Doe, an American-history teacher who is married to a native of Liberia, said she is appalled at the prejudice in the community.

"They didn`t come here to take anything away from anybody or to displace anybody else," said Doe, whose husband is a choreographer and drummer. "They came because they had a right to come to find a better life",

she is wrong. The immigrants do displace, they do obtain welfare transfer payments which are not infinitely expandable, Liberians have no rights to anything in America, and American blacks are right to feel disgruntled - if not to respond in this way. What they need to do is get the attention of their feckless leaders.

Hat tip, American Renaissance