Culture

Dear African Americans: A Long Overdue Open Letter to African Americans

AmericaAfrica

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.

Read: My third great grandfather Warren McKinney’s Slave Narrative

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.

Read: My DNA Test Results are in… Who Am I

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.

Thank you,

BBG

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8 comments

  1. Elle 1 February, 2015 at 19:53 Reply

    I share your sentiment. I am African American as well with grandparents on my father’s side from the Caribbean. I often wonder why is it that my dads side integrated with African Americans really well and have respect for AA’s but so many other immigrants don’t?

    A part of me thinks these people are very insecure and feel inferior to white Americans and maybe they need someone to look down on to feel better.

    I believe that people should have mutual respect for one another but I know this is not always the case, so I make it a point to learn my own history and to be clear minded about my reality and that of African Americans collectively. I also make it a point to learn other people’s history and their peoples reality.
    This is my weapon against those who hate me.

  2. Von 2 February, 2015 at 17:09 Reply

    Many of these same immigrants from the Carribean, South and Central America, you speak of are also the descendents of enslaved Africans, but some seem to forget this. There really is not much of a difference, other than culture and language.

    The rule of divide and conquer has worked to the dominant culture’s advantage and will continue perpetually if we continue with this attitude that one is better than the other. We all fall under the oppressive system of white supremacy and no one is exempt from it.

    Our indifference is killing us, but we are too busy being distracted by non-issues that we miss out on opportunities every day because of it.

    All throughout the Southern United States were men and women who fought for the rights of future generations to have what we enjoy today and they weren’t native born, but they shared the same African bloodline and that was good enough.

  3. mc1010 29 May, 2015 at 08:30 Reply

    Of the 11,200,000 million Africans shipped to the Americas only 4%-5% arrived on USA shores. It was the native population along the eastern seaboard – the chocolate-colored tribes like the Blackfoot, etc. – that were slaughtered and/or kidnapped, given a racial category called Negro and placed into slavery as well. The majority of thosedesignated ‘Free Persons of Color’ were natives not Africans. There are lots of content on this available with a Google or Duckduckgo search. I’m familiar with is aspect of usa history because my maternal lineage is Blackfoo, Cherokee and Choctaw and they were fortunate enough to have been able to keep their land and never be slaves although for some they
    had a brief period of sharecropping in te early 20th century.

    That said many of us are no matter from slave folk or not are tainted with the aftermath of slavery and racism. And if you read The Slave Ship: A Human History it is heart-breaking as insightful into basic business practices and the mindset of early shareholders and traders on three continents of profiting from trafficking.

  4. connie holland 6 July, 2015 at 10:26 Reply

    I am working on an African American project and would love to included your letter, with your permission.

    your approval would be much appreciated.

    thanks in advance.

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