Contemporary preoccupation with immigration proves an interesting discourse in contemplating racism. Following Trump’s Muslim ban, several of my coworkers posted flyers outside of their offices/cubicles. The flyer states that Muslims, immigrants, and refugees are welcome. Similarly, I’ve seen these posters in countless restaurants and businesses throughout Manhattan.
All this talk about who is and is not welcome in America inspires me to inquire:
Is Assata Welcome Too?
Queens native Assata Shakur remains in exile after suffering abundant injustices from the American legal system. In her own place of birth she endured discrimination and racism that labeled her guilty before she would stand trial. Shakur rightfully labels herself a “twenty-first century runaway slave,” as she had to migrate from a place that deems her a criminal for demanding what should be readily given.
Thus, the controversy surrounding whether Muslims, immigrants, and refugees are welcome in America, overlooks a crucial point. Immigrants journey to the western world to enhance their chances of a better life. This is a privilege. Assata’s exile illustrates the countless involuntary western inhabitants that cannot find peace in a land they labored in as if it were their own. This is in grave contrast to the migrant who journeys to America to obtain an experience not attainable in their current land. Thus, immigration fights for rights still readily denied by western culture to black bodies.
Thus, allow me to reassert my query to adamant opposers to the current immigration ban posed to several Muslim countries:
Is Assata Welcome too?
While many may overtly answer yes, the continued disregard and mistreatment of blacks by the western world illustrates that immigrants matter more than descendants of the Africans abducted centuries ago. Assata symbolizes the black collective— a faction who overstayed their welcome after the industrial revolution usurped the agricultural revolution. Assata, representative of the black collective, never received the welcome or silent promise that non-black immigrants gain upon first setting their feet upon western land. Moreover, the conversations surrounding immigrants appear to bring a new oppressed group into the forefront. However, this oppression is not new.
Rather, the non-black American immigrant is not used to being oppressed. But now that stop and frisk and systemic disenfranchisement shifted its gaze to a different demographic, racism and oppression becomes a national catastrophe. The overwhelming outrage surrounding Muslims, Mexicans and other immigrants as the victims to racial injustice prompts many to forget that this systemic racist gaze remains cast onto the black body. This relegation of blacks oppression is both insulting and ignorant.
Thus, to eliminate immigration is not to eliminate racism. In fact, the opposite is probably true.
It is imperative to note that Muslims or immigrants in general, have a pattern of excluding blacks. Namely, many of the countless Muslim rallies refuse to acknowledge black Muslims. Malcolm X was a Muslim, yet he is never quoted or even acknowledged by most Muslims. Why is this? Because although a Muslim, Malcolm was a black nationalist, thus is seemingly not “Muslim” enough for factional acknowledgment–proving that their is a factional hierarchy amongst persons of color, a hierarchy that places blacks at the bottom. Blackness or a darker hue received similar baseness in countless other immigrant groups, reflecting the superiority immigrants collectively develop towards blacks.
This hierarchy is perhaps most evident in the abundant migrant businesses in black communities. From Chinese food restaurants, to Asian dry cleaners, Arab-owned corner stores, and Dominican salons, black communities around the world remain inundated with non-black businesses. I for one have never seen a beauty supply store in an Asian neighborhood, but find at least two within a ten block radius in predominately black communities. I have also never seen an Arab- run corner store in a community that is not predominately black. I say this to say that the black community, despite being overwhelmed with migrants willing to accept our money, experience exploitation, prejudice, and disenfranchisement from migrant groups. Thus, upon considering immigration and the overwhelming amount of support it receives from racist individuals and factions, it becomes obvious that immigration foments racism. For it was America’s first immigrants that enslaved the abducted Africans. Thus, many opt to support immigration as a subconscious effort to thwart blackness from central placement in contemporary society, seducing many to aid “immigrants” in their plight and right to exploit the black community.
By halting immigration from several Muslim countries ban, America seeks to halt the Muslim or Immigrant process of becoming white. What the world calls “Islamophobia” is actually white America retracting its privilege.This act of oppression by ejection, has little to do with Muslims or Immigrants, but everything to do with damage control. Namely, the Muslim ban functions to ensure that western privilege does not backfire onto western people. Thus, it is not the right to enter the country that lies beneath the Immigration/Muslim ban, but the right to enter whiteness.
In “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Dr. King prolifically states that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The conscious black understands that his or her treatment is not wrong because it happens to them, but wrong on a ethical scale. It seems that other factions of color understand that oppression takes place, yet compartmentalizes certain racial tensions as “nigger issues–” because while they may be “of color” they are not black. This means that these factions may sympathize somewhat with blacks, but due to a lack of empathy, these other persons of color do not truly desire change. This is until these injustices begin to bleed over to their factions. This post does not function to suggest that blacks should do other groups as they’ve done us, but it is imperative that blacks comprehend the systemic seduction that entices them to play a part in their own oppression.
Nevertheless, in closing, immigration as a contemporary cause, exploits the issue in isolating conflict. Namely, racism seduces the general public to distort mistreatment as permanently and deservingly aligned with some factions, allowing systemic injustice to manifest in varying degrees all the while illustrating the same issues time and time again. Thus, while the western collective implies unity in efforts to maintain immigrant rights—white supremacy remains stagnant.
Furthermore, these posters, my colleagues and vendors throughout North America post seemingly occupy today’s method of saying “All Lives Matter” as the poster also seems to reference “all” who are not black. These posters speak to all who since 9/11 have experienced what blacks have experienced for centuries. These posters speak to those whose wealth and ultimate whiteness bears silent promise between their factions and this stolen land. If I were to hang an “Assata is Welcome sign” outside my office, I’d be regarded as polarized as “Black Lives Matter,” or The Black Panther Party, for simply desiring to use my voice to say what America silence has refuted for centuries.
Black lives don’t matter and neither does Assata’s. Or my own. In the western world black lives only matter when they play a role in western fiction.
Furthermore, the Muslim ban proves a gateway to conceptualizing the depth of black systemic placement, illustrating that even on the verge of extradition migrants receive what the Western world seized from the black collective— a chance to go home to a place where the language, food, culture and diaspora is largely unsullied by white supremacy.
Must be nice.