I would love for someone to give me evidence of the much ballyhooed theory that diversity strengthens communities. I swear someone just made that up and it is repeated so often that no one ever challenges it. Well, almost no one. We have a link at the top of our page simply titled ‘Diversity’ which we haven’t mentioned much lately, but this might be a good time to revisit it. Be sure to read the first article reprinted there entitled “Bowling with our own.”
So what made me think about this today was this mention of a struggling Iraqi family in Rochester, NY. Yes, same story, no jobs, resettlement funds running out, but this is the passage that attracted my interest:
Ahmed and Mahmood, the two teenage boys in the house, described in detail a terrifying incident they had during their first two weeks in America. The pair was playing soccer at a park across the street from their house. Two older African-Americans, one wielding a knife, approached them. Holding Ahmed at knifepoint, the two bullies absurdly demanded Ahmed to explain why he made fun of his mother. Ahmed, who couldn’t speak English at this point, dashed home with his brother afterward.
The episode terrified the children — Mahmood told me he didn’t leave the house for two weeks. Furthermore, the episode solidified in the kids’ minds stereotypes about African-Americans. The kids still seem to fear them and think they’re thugs, and after an episode like that two weeks into a foriegn country, well, it’s kind of hard to blame them.
This is not the first time we have heard of clashes between African Americans and refugees, even their ‘African brothers’, the Somalis, don’t get along with American blacks. When plunking refugees down in a community, do the refugee agencies just project their own view of how we should all embrace one another no matter what our cultural upbringing is— that we should simply join in brotherly love because it makes the do-gooders feel good?
Oh, that reminds me, check out this thought-provoking essay at Gates of Vienna a few days ago about ‘deadly diversity jive.’