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So how?

First, I believe black immigration introduces diversity of experience and thought to black America. For decades, black people in America have advocated more diversity in American public life, partly to better represent America and also to bring different perspectives. Well, those principles should still hold true among black people. We usually speak of diversity among the black community in terms of education, class and complexion. We hardly talk about it in terms of voluntary as opposed to involuntary immigration. We need to recognize and embrace the reality that though there are many ties that bind us, there is no universal black experience or expression. As we meet in America, those differences in experience create differences in perspective on America. That’s unity in diversity.

Second, black immigration further opens America’s eyes to the diversity among the black community. So you can’t just see a black person and assume you know their American story.

Third, black immigration opens new windows of honest engagement with America. Many black immigrants coming to the America do not bear the same historical scars as many “African-Americans.” That allows for some interracial conversations that are otherwise uncomfortable.  I have difficult conversations with my white friends that would frankly have been impossible if my forefathers had been forced to the back of the bus and been hung from trees.

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