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Your favorite silhouettes, our most dramatic styles — discover our occasion-ready collection. Get Set For The Holidays. There are items in your shopping bag. Your cart contains an error. One of your items may have sold out. On the United States census, an ultrawealthy Nigerian immigrant and a struggling African-American woman from the South are expected to check the same box.
When many American universities tout their diversity numbers, black students who were born in the Bronx and the Bahamas are counted as the same.
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A spirited debate is playing out in black communities across America over the degree to which identity ought to be defined by African heritage — or whether ancestral links to slavery are what should count most of all. Tensions between black Americans who descended from slavery and black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean are not new, but a group of online agitators is trying to turn those disagreements into a political movement.
They want colleges, employers and the federal government to prioritize black Americans whose ancestors toiled in bondage, and they argue that affirmative action policies originally designed to help the descendants of slavery in America have largely been used to benefit other groups, including immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean. The American descendants of slavery, they say, should have their own racial category on census forms and college applications, and not be lumped in with others with similar skin color but vastly different lived experiences.
The group, which calls itself ADOS, for the American Descendants of Slavery, is small in number, with active supporters estimated to be in the thousands. But the discussion they are provoking is coursing through conversations far and wide. Those who embrace its philosophy point to disparities between black people who immigrated to the United States voluntarily, and others whose ancestors were brought in chains.
Roughly 10 percent of the 40 million black people living in the United States were born abroad, according to the Pew Research Center , up from 3 percent in African immigrants are more likely to have college degrees than blacks and whites who were born in the United States. A study published in the American Journal of Education found that 41 percent of black freshmen at Ivy League colleges were immigrants or the children of immigrants, even though those groups represent 13 percent of the black population in the United States.
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University administrators say that black students from other countries contribute to increased diversity on campus, even if their admittance does not mitigate the injustices of American slavery. Many black immigrant groups are also descended from slavery in other countries.
The film producer Tariq Nasheed is among the outspoken defenders of the idea that the American descendants of slavery should have their own ethnic identity. Embracing their role as insurgents, Mr. Moore and Ms.
Carnell held their first national conference in October, and have made reparations for the brutal system of slavery upon which the United States was built a key tenet of their platform. Their movement has also become a lightning rod for criticism on the left. Its skepticism of immigration sometimes strikes a tone similar to that of President Trump.
Such tactics have led some to accuse the group of sowing division among African-Americans and engaging in a form of voter suppression not unlike the voter purges and gerrymandering efforts pushed by some Republicans. Trump more palatable to black voters. Others have pointed out that Ms. Guest speakers included Marianne Williamson, a white self-help author who has made reparations a key plank of her platform as a minor Democratic presidential candidate, as well as Cornel West, a black Harvard professor who said ADOS is giving a voice to working-class black people.
Tara Perry, a year-old paralegal, was among the attendees. A former employee of the Los Angeles Black Worker Center, which used to count the number of black laborers at construction sites, Ms. Perry said she believed that the influx of Mexican immigrants had made it more difficult for black men to find construction jobs in the city. Perry, adding that she was prepared to see Mr.