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More Than Black

More Than Black

Resistance and Rapprochement

Chapter:
(p.179) 5 More Than Black
Source:
African & American
Author(s):
Marilyn HalterViolet Showers Johnson
Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814760581.003.0006

This chapter examines the contentious relationship between West African immigrants and African Americans. West Africans, like other black immigrants, have adapted and assimilated in three main domains: within the reconfigured African ethnicities, within the milieu of African Americans, and within mainstream America. The newcomers have benefited from the dividends of the civil rights movement since the post-1965 wave came to America. The complicated face of race in the United States nonetheless has been lost on many of the West African diaspora, who instead see only a postracial America. This chapter first considers the divide between West African and African American Islam and goes on to discuss the killing of Amadou Diallo as the turning point in the public's awareness of a growing West African presence in America. It then explores racial politics and alliances between black immigrants and African Americans and concludes with an assessment of how West African immigrants' increasing interactions with the native-born continuously redefine the meanings of African American race and culture.

Keywords:   race, West African immigrants, African Americans, West Africans, civil rights movement, West African diaspora, America, Islam, Amadou Diallo, racial politics

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