“Suppose a client walked into my office and told me that police officers in his country had choked a man to death over a petty crime. Suppose he said police fatally shot another man in the back as he ran away. That they arrested a woman during a traffic stop and placed her in jail, where she died three days later. That a 12-year-old boy in his country was shot and killed by the police as he played in the park.
If these were the charges of a minority ethnic group in Rwanda or Iraq, the UN would be all over the case, endeavoring for refugee status and asylum to the US.
But what happens when the persecution occurs in the US, where do the persecuted minorities go then?
This is the question Raha Jorjani and thousands of activists have grappled with, considering the disproportionate odds, risks and wounds facing African-Americans.
We already know we face 20 times greater odds of being victims police brutality, as well as increased risk of predatory lending. Not to mention 90% lower average household wealth, which at least partially is related to the fact that we earn on average 20-40% less than whites with equivalent educational credentials.
How will such odds be improved or worsened by an recently-elected president who is slashing billions from workforce preparation, education, enterprise and economic development funds destined primarily for the African-American community?
The election victory of a largely unqualified, misogynist and xenophobic populist spurred many African-Americans to vow self-imposed exile. Threats of this voluntary exodus got so much social media attention that #Blaxit now has its own hashtag.
is a very real exit strategy.
Imagine knowing you and your children won’t face disproportionate risk of being attacked by the police or subject to violence? Imagine knowing that they won’t be stigmatized in schools? Imagine knowing their future job search would not be limited by stereotypes?
Large numbers of African-Americans are reportedly moving to Africa to make this a reality. And smaller numbers are exploring a wide variety of other international options for home base.
Having lived abroad for most of the past decade, I can honestly say that the #Blaxit idea holds some weight. Living abroad, I haven’t had my race emerge a serious factor differentiating my safety, job opportunities and quality of life, in ages.
And yet #Blaxit naysayers have a point too: African-Americans built the US, continue to shape its economy and society in far-reaching ways. And maybe our ancestors and the next generation deserve more than our abandonment.
Or perhaps this is not a racial or community choice at all- perhaps just like with anything else in life, we deserve the right to not represent our whole race, and instead live freely based on individual will.
If that’s even a choice, we have still have exponentially more than the cards our ancestors were dealt.