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Tensions Between Black Americans and African Immigrants Surface

Why the All-Ivy League Story Stirs Up Tensions Between African Immigrants and Black Americans

Story about Kwasi Enin causes tension between Black Americans and recent African immigrants.

The story of the first-generation Ghanian-American student accepted by all eight Ivy league schools is wonderful, but it also stirs up the tension between Black Americans and recent African immigrants — especially when you describe him as "not a typical African-American kid." That's been the reaction to USA Today's profile on Kwasi Enin, a Long Island high schooler who got into the nation's most competitive schools through hard work and, according to IvyWise CEO Katherine Cohen, being African (and being male).

At one point the piece reads: Being a first-generation American from Ghana also helps him stand out, Cohen says. "He's not a typical African-American kid."

"Not a typical African-American kid" is being read as an allusion to the lazy black American stereotype. The tension comes from the fact that some African immigrants buy into that stereotype, which gets turned into "Africans don't like Black people." This has almost nothing to do with Enin, who is obviously a remarkable young man, and everything to do with how America perceives and portrays Black Americans and African immigrants.

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