African Immigrants in the United States: Implications for Affirmative Action


For more than half a century, an extensive literature has consistently reported that first-and second-generation black immigrants are more educated and economically successful than African Americans. This literature has also suggested that black immigrants are benefiting from affirmative action more so than African Americans without having been the direct objects of slavery and historical discrimination. An important shortcoming of this literature, however, is that it presumes an undifferentiated black immigrant success story and obscures important differences across black immigrants from different countries of origin. Using data from the three census years (1980, 1990, and 2000), I examine the extent to which the black immigrant success story is directly relevant to African immigrants from different countries of origin in the United States. The findings of the study reveal that African immigrants are represented in the entire continuum of the American class structure, and therefore, any representation of a uniform experience is not empirically defensible. Empirical and theoretical implications of affirmative action are also discussed.

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Kusow, A. (2014). African Immigrants in the United States: Implications for Affirmative Action. Sociology Mind, 4, 74-83. doi: 10.4236/sm.2014.41010.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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