Intensive discussion, education, and legislation are occurring at all levels in our country on the topic of racism. We want to overcome this blight on our country, heal the ugly mistakes from the past. But are we getting it right? One basic feature of race in the U.S. is that Black Americans have two sharply distinctive historical inheritances: those who “came by boat” and stand on hundreds of years of slave ancestry, and those who “came by plane”, having immigrated from Africa or the Caribbean in recent generations. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. is an example of the former; President Barak Obama is an example of the latter.
Some might say that we don’t need even more divisions. What is important is how black people in America are treated today.
Others would point to the lessons of “truth and reconciliation“ commissions in South Africa and Rwanda as proof that accurate appreciation of the past by all parties is an essential part of the process of moving forward.
What do you think?
What is your personal experience? Have you found there to be distinctive cultural or character differences between these two groups?
Why would appreciation of differences in ancestry be relevant in racial reconciliation?
Should appreciation of this ancestral distinction be highlighted in education or policy relating to improving racial relationships?
Please share your thoughts below.