If Blacks Really Suffered From Racism In America, They’d Head For Black Majority Countries—And They Don’t
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Earlier (September 2020) OK, Let’s Give Them Reparations—If They Go Back To Africa

I live in France, and a frequent subject in the news here has been and remains the crossing of the Mediterranean by people leaving various countries in Africa. Piteous reports of adults and children being plucked half-starved from their rickety boats and rafts have been on the news, only outdone by those about boats found after their passengers had fallen off and drowned.

Almost every day we hear reports about people from the African continent who would rather live in Europe. Whatever else one might say on the subject, the fact that large numbers of them pay a lot of money and risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean demonstrates the seriousness of their desire to live among white people.

“In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body—it is heritage,” Ta-Nehisi Coates has written to widespread acclaim [Letter to My Son, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, July 4, 2015]. White America is conducting a “war on black people,” the Black Lives Matter  Movement maintained—and still does.

How, I wondered, should a non-black man who believes himself free of any desire to destroy black bodies or make war on black people evaluate these statements, which are treated respectfully by the country’s Main Stream media?

It occurred to me that there might be an objective means of judging the validity of the increasingly common  complaints that black people were making about their situation in the United States.

Unlike Africans, black Americans are not obliged to risk their lives to leave; they can easily acquire a U.S. passport and buy a plane ticket to fly away. In 2020, the MSM reported on several of them: 'I'm Leaving, And I'm Just Not Coming Back': Fed Up With Racism, Black Americans Head Overseas, by Kim Hjelmgaard, USA Today, June 26, 2020. But the operative word here is “several.”

Not all countries in the world are dominated by a racist white majority. There are roughly fifty sovereign countries in Africa where the majority of the population is black and also several in the Caribbean where whites are in the minority.

So a simple, though admittedly rough, measure of white oppression in the United States might be the number of blacks who leave the country for one where the majority is black.

We have all heard of black jazz musicians and writers—Mr. Coates, for example—who have lived in France. But France, of course, still has a white majority and is itself often criticized for its colonial history and racial discrimination.

Black emigration to black-majority countries would be clear evidence that it is white racism that makes life unbearable for black people.

With that in mind, I contacted organizations that monitor the movement of people from one country to another. Could they please tell me how many Americans leave the United States for African countries? (I also emailed several embassies of African countries in Washington but got no replies.)

  • A communications assistant at the Pew Research Center—I've deleted her name as she seems to no longer be with the center—told me that she didn’t know if they had anything, they were usually looking at migration in the other direction, but she would pass on the inquiry and get back to me. A few days later she wrote back:
I double checked with the researchers and we do not have any data looking at Americans seeking citizenship in African countries. Unfortunately they didn’t have any reliable sources to suggest to you. Apologies we couldn’t be more helpful.
  • Michelle Mittelstadt, the director of communications at the Migration Policy Institute, referred me to one of the policy’s websites (Immigrant and Emigrant Populations by Country of Origin and Destination), where one can enter the name of country of origin and country of destination to see the reported estimates of Americans living in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, in 2023, one can see ten countries marked 1,000, one country (Mali) marked 2,000, South Africa with 7,000, and many countries with no number at all.

Here’s what it looks like for Tanzania:


Clearly these numbers would include Americans of any race.

For comparison’s sake, the same site shows over 400,000 Nigerians living in the United States.

Mittelstadt subsequently wrote to me:

I don’t know that we’d able to shed any more light on these movements of Americans to Africa, as they are very small movements and we haven’t spent much time studying them.

Itayi Viriri, head of online communications and spokesperson for the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration, responded:

You’re correct that it is not something that we hear much about but I certainly recall occasionally reading about African Americans who move mostly to West Africa and sometimes take up citizenship. I am afraid, apart from that and what I can find via google (African Americans moving to Africa, etc.) I have not much else to add.

Viriri sent a copy of his reply to four of his colleagues in the United States and West Africa, inviting them to comment; I waited a couple of weeks but did not hear from any of them.

That expatriation by black Americans to Africa is so uncommon as to be ignored by organizations dedicated to monitoring migration hardly proves, of course, that black Americans are not suffering from racism.

But it might conservatively be interpreted as a sign that those who talk of a “War on Black People” are—shall we say—exaggerating.

Lawrence G. Proulx (email him) lives on the coast of Brittany. His work has appeared in The Unz Review.

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