This is a theme we have reported on several times in the past.* Violence is on the rise in traditional African- American communities where numbers of African (largely Muslim) immigrants are on the increase. The difference here is that it’s the New York Times publishing the politically incorrect news. Hat tip: a friend from Tennessee.
Their fear and frustration are shared by many local West African immigrants, whose fast-growing presence in the neighborhood — and in the city over all — has been accompanied by increasing tensions with the local black American residents.
“They think they’re better than black people,” James Carroll, a retired Army specialist standing in front of a busy convenience store, said of the West African immigrants. “We’re supposed to be one community — we’re supposed to be able to get along — but they don’t give it a chance.”
Some of the tension can be attributed to cultural differences that all immigrants face, though the West Africans in Claremont, as conservative Muslims, have the added challenge of adjusting to a post-9/11 New York. But resentment and mistrust has escalated to actual violence, and, they say, left them feeling under siege.
After reports of nearly two dozen attacks on West African immigrants in the last two years, community leaders reached out to the police, who interviewed 17 Africans in the neighborhood and filed 11 criminal complaints. Two of those were deemed hate crimes, including an attack in June that left a Gambian immigrant hospitalized for eight days.
They have made no arrest in either bias case, but a police mobile truck with a video camera now stands outside the mosque.
The reporter tells us that most of these African immigrants are illegally in the US and points out the rapid increase in population in Bronx neighborhoods.
The African population in the Bronx has grown considerably in recent years: the census reported 12,063 sub-Saharan Africans in 1990, while the most recent census estimate was 61,487.
African-Americans feel their communities are being invaded—no kidding!
Zain Abdullah, an assistant professor of religion, race and ethnicity at Temple University in Philadelphia, says it is common for African immigrants to suffer harassment when they settle in traditionally black neighborhoods in big cities, like Detroit, New York and Philadelphia.
“Many African-Americans feel that the influx of Africans coming in represents a kind of invasion,” he said. “Culturally, African-Americans have always imagined themselves as Africans, or at least of African descent, but they might have never encountered Africans from the continent. The actual encounter is shocking.”
Isn’t diversity beautiful! Incidentally, it is into this neighborhood that the International Rescue Committee is resettling Bhutanese refugees as well. It almost seems that stirring up racial and ethnic tension is the game plan!
* If you would like to find more locations in the US where American Blacks have come in conflict with immigrants, use our search function. You might search for African- Americans and immigrants and you will come up with lots of previous posts on the topic.