Derek Minor on Finding the American Dream as Immigrants
Last year, we had Derek Minor on Community During Chaos. From the start of the conversation, Minor dropped gem after gem of valuable information. In one section, he talked about how black people collectively need to think as a nation within a nation.
When immigrants come to America, they come with a plan, Minor explained. They want to go to a specific location to do a specific thing to gain a better life. Black slaves never got that opportunity to have a plan to survive, their plan was made for them.
“African-Americans, not even black people, because even Nigerians come over and have a plan. We are the only people that don’t realize we are a nation within a nation. White people realize that because this nation is theirs. That’s why you have a Korean town, a little Tokyo, and a Chinatown because someone was smart enough to say ‘I’m coming over here from China. Let’s take this area and own this area, so whenever someone else comes from China, they have a place to stay, have a community to come to, get on their feet with some familiarity in the area.”
Even now, Minor said black people generally do not think in these terms. They want to achieve the American Dream, a goal that has been kept from most due to racial injustice over the last 401 years of American history, Minor said. To Minor, black people need to work together, build each other up, and achieve their own success.
“That’s not to say isolation, it’s just to say cooperation if that makes sense. It’s not about isolation and saying ‘don’t come over to the west side of Nashville because only black people allowed,'” Minor said. “We need more collaboration so that we are able to, as a nation, pick the community up.”
Minor pointed to Erinn Knight as a chief example of this. Here is a person giving out opportunities and jobs to black people, specifically black women, in her community.