Whose Side Are You On?

By Andre Banks Feb 13, 2007

That’s the underlying question of a fascinating study from the Community Service Society of New York about the difference in perception between native-born Blacks and Latinos and new immigrants. When my friend sent the study along, he offered a qualification: the data is useful, but the conclusions…questionable. So I read it. And I think he’s pretty correct. One of the conclusions, "U.S. and foreign born low-income New Yorkers share a striking similar political agenda," seems particularly concerning. The data suggests that although, in the broadest strokes, immigrants and native born blacks share similar policy priorities (train people who need training, educate the youth), there seems a strong basis for the idea that native-born Blacks do NOT see immigrants as allies. I mean, more Black people (46%) were in favor of the idea that immigrants take their jobs than that the notion that shared discrimination was a basis on which to ally. Doesn’t that seem significant? The study doesn’t tell us why Black folks feel this way (beyond a very general notion of "job competition") causing me to, once again, ring the alarm on the Black/Brown divide. In particular, the growing, not shrinking or absent chasm between immigrants (particularly from Mexico and Latin America) and native-born Black people.