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The Voice of the Black Community

Opinion

A U.S.-made humanitarian crisis
Nation has history of destroying families
 
Published Sunday, July 14, 2019 11:05 am
by Victor Armstrong

FILE PHOTO
American immigration policy has sparked protests across the country, including Charlotte.

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Politics aside, as an African American, when I look at what is occurring at our southern border, I find myself not only repulsed by the sight of children in cages, removed from their parents; living in squalor, but I also harken back to a time in the not too distant past, when African Americans were in a similar situation.


Children were stripped from parents. Mothers had their children ripped from their arms. Fathers felt their manhood stripped away as they stood helplessly by while their families were torn apart.


African Americans were placed in shackles and sold on auction blocks; forced to live in deplorable conditions, because we were somehow deemed to be “less than.” Somehow, if you are deemed “less than,” your suffering doesn’t resonate quite the same.


During the Jim Crow era, blacks were characterized as predators looking to rape, kill, and steal, thus justifying blacks being lynched and beaten.
All the while, there were “honest, hard-working Americans” who either supported the despicable, inhumane acts by their willing participation or by their complacent silence.


For those who would offer the argument that those at the border have broken the law and are therefore subject to imprisonment, I would argue that you’ve somehow been misinformed about the law, and the intent of many who enter the southern border.


I don’t believe the women and children attempting to cross our borders, fleeing violence and inhumanity, seek to do us harm. They simply seek a better life. It is not illegal to seek asylum. In addition, there are a number of illegal immigrants who are here of other nationalities, and who cross via other American borders.


There are illegal Asians, Europeans, even Canadians as well. There are many Ph.D. students at universities across this country on expired visas, yet we are not arresting them, locking them up, or clamoring for their deportation. Inhumanity is inhumanity no matter how one qualifies it.


For those who would argue (and I’m sure there are some), that the treatment of illegal immigrants should not be compared to that of slaves; that to compare illegal immigration to the slave trade “cheapens” the struggle that many African Americans have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to overcome, I would offer that while I certainly understand your point, I in no way believe that my position cheapens the legacy of slaves.


As an African American, I am the legacy of slaves. As such, I have a responsibility to advocate for others when I see them labeled because of their origin or nationality, in the name of “the law”. The abuse of children in the name of immigration, albeit selective immigration, is simply wrong.


I have always chosen to believe that the America I love is not that America of the past. I have chosen to believe that the America I have trusted my children to is not that America. The America I have chosen to see and believe in, is a nation that opens its arms and hearts to the less fortunate.


It is a nation that recognizes the atrocities of our past, and vows not to repeat them. It is a nation after all, whose motto is “In God we trust.”


Perhaps the larger question is, can God trust us? Can He trust us with the poor, the sick, and the weak? So often over the past several months, I have found myself saying that we are a nation at a crossroads, and we need to decide who we are. At some point, we are beyond the crossroads and rather than deciding who we are, we reveal who we are.


The frightening revelation I have come to of late is while we say that so much of what we see occurring in our country today is not consistent with the character of America, it is unfortunately consistent with our past. We are better than this.


Victor Armstrong of Charlotte is a behavioral health professional.

Comments

Everyone needs to rise up and demand the President orders the release of EVERYONE in those detention centers. They need to be cater to for illness, food, showers, fresh clothing, a sound bed to lay down on. ENOUGH of this madness!! If the Prez doesn't order them out then let's hope the Detention Center Commander has the balls to unlock the gates and just let them out!
Posted on July 17, 2019
 

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