Dear African Americans: A Long Overdue Open Letter to African Americans
Dear African Americans,
I am both the descendant of African slaves, who came in chains and of Black immigrants, who came the United States by choice. I want to say something that other groups have neglected to say. I want to say, thank you.
Many of us have forgotten how this great nation – the United States of America, was founded. It was founded to benefit rich White male landowners through the genocide of First Nations people and on the whipped and bloody backs of stolen African slaves. It only evolved to what it is today because of you and your ancestors. Without you and your ancestors’ victories, courage and will, every immigrant, minority and White woman in the United States would not have the rights they enjoy today.
I realize that there are members of minority groups who benefit from the unpaid and back-breaking labor, erasure of your culture and language, separation of your families and the rape and murder of your ancestors’ and won’t say thank you for it. I realize that if it wasn’t for you sitting in at lunch counters, marching for freedom and daring to exercise your right to vote as a United States citizen, many “model” minority groups pitted against you, would not have the economic opportunities they have today. Very few will admit that if it weren’t for affirmative action, many White women (the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action) would not be admitted into predominantly white male institutions or have the jobs they have today. If it weren’t for the efforts of African American activists, many Black immigrants from all over the world, including my maternal relatives, would not be in the United States, granted citizenship or given opportunities.
The sad thing is even despite your ancestors’ sacrifices; you are the least to benefit from civil rights and most likely dehumanized for demanding civil rights. You are the last to be hired and the first to be fired. You are the first to be blamed and the last to be assisted. We all know it, but many are too selfish trying to assimilate. As shameful as it is, along with their equal rights, some have also adopted racist and intraracist beliefs about you when we should be thanking and supporting you.
Despite it all, African Americans are the most welcoming, loving, accepting, creative, forgiving, beautiful and intelligent group of people I have ever known. You are strivers, creators and innovators despite dealing with hundreds of years of systematic racism. Your unpaid, unrecognized and often mimicked contributions have only made this country richer. You are amazing. I am in complete awe of you. I want to say as the granddaughter of an immigrant, that every American owes you their thanks.
Remember the only limit you have is the one you have placed on yourself. Think and be limitless.
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