One Destination, Two Finish Lines: The Case Of African-Born Whites And Blacks In The U.S.
Sub-Saharan Africa comprises two segments of legitimate native population: Whites born in Africa and blacks born on the same continent. The largest number of white African immigrants come from Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Over the past several years, globalization, as well as political and social instability have caused the outflow of countless African immigrants to Europe and the United States in search of security and employment. However, persistent patterns observed among both white and black African immigrants suggests two different finish lines: a glorious one, and skunky one.
According to recent research from Michigan State University, white African male immigrants in the U.S. enjoy higher educational returns on earnings than their black counterparts despite the same origin and similar academic credentials.
These findings complement other data showing that foreign degrees acquired from African countries are not as respected in the U.S. compared to those acquired by Caribbean blacks in their countries.
Upon further examination of the problem, a considerable number of scholars have concluded that a black African male immigrant’s lower educational returns on earnings is the result of racial discrimination in the labor market.
No matter how we look at it, discrimination and race are just a small portion of the many complex social issues immigrants have historically dealt with and continue to deal with in contemporary societies.
Africans must recognize that each new nation comes with it’s own set of trials that require courage, determination, and an inextricable desire to overcome. In other words, racism, discrimination, and integration are part of the political and social issues that African immigrants cannot eradicate or reduce unless they develop a political prowess that can entice politicians to act in their favor.
It is important to point out that forming a political power does not necessarily mean that African immigrants have to become formal politicians. But instead, they have to participate in the democratic process and influence policy makers. Most importantly, they need to be aware of democratic means that they have at their disposal and to which they can resort in order to solve their problems.
Rather than sidelining themselves politically, African immigrants who now enjoy the right to vote must learn to vote. In doing so, they will be compelled and move others to pool their democratic resources together as a single entity to build a strong voice through which they influence politicians to take their problems seriously, while reserving the right to remove those who continue to remain blind to the hurdles continuously placed at their finish-line.