Friday, May 26, 2006

There are still a lot of unresolved issues from the civil rights era

Mr. Laster is dapper and cosmopolitan, a part-time professor and Democratic activist who drinks and dines with a wide circle of black, white and Hispanic friends. He said he marveled at first as the images of cheering, flag-waving immigrants flickered across his television screen. But as some demonstrators proclaimed a new civil rights movement, he grew uncomfortable. He says that immigrant protesters who claim the legacy of Dr. King and Rosa Parks are going too far. And he has begun to worry about the impact that the emerging immigrant activism will have on black Americans, many of whom still face poverty, high rates of unemployment and discrimination in the workplace.
"I think what they were able to do, the level of organization they were able to pull off, that was phenomenal," said Mr. Laster, who is also a part-time sociology professor at a community college in Baltimore. "But I do think their struggle is, in fundamental ways, very different from ours. We didn't chose to come here; we came here as slaves. And we were denied, even though we were legal citizens, our basic rights."
"There are still a lot of unresolved issues from the civil rights era," he said. "Perhaps we're going to be pushed to the back burner." This painful debate is bubbling up in church halls and classrooms, on call-in radio programs and across dining room tables. Some blacks prefer to discuss the issue privately for fear of alienating their Hispanic allies. But others are publicly airing their misgivings, saying they are too worried to stay silent.

No comments:

Post a Comment