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African American – Immigrant Alliance Building

African American – Immigrant Alliance Building
2009Civic Engagement

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Relations between immigrants and African Americans increasingly draw the attention of policy-makers, researchers, community organizers, and community members alike. Sheer force of numbers accounts for much of this interest. Latinos, many of them immigrants or the children of immigrants, now outnumber African Americans nationally, and many of the nation’s largest cities already are “minority-majority.” Actual and perceived tensions between the groups also attract attention. From gang violence to political representation, from labor concerns to negative stereotypes, black Americans and immigrants are engaging each other on a range of issues. In many communities, including some in the South, Midwest, and Northeast previously marked almost exclusively by black-white interactions, inter-minority relations feature more prominently on the political agenda than white-minority relationships do.

Many progressives, in particular, also note that during this generation-long American era of deepening inequality between the most affluent Americans and everyone else, African Americans and immigrants number disproportionately among our nation’s truly disadvantaged. Increasingly, we also hear nonprofit leaders, advocates, community members and even some elected officials pushing the observation about the communities’ common challenges one step further. Rather than succumb to largely structural inducements to regard each other as rivals, they argue, the interests of black Americans and immigrants would be served best by deliberate, strategic collaboration between them.