Refugee

In a Washington Post article commemorating the one-­year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, the immigration lawyer and professor of law Raha Jorjani (2015) argues that African Americans be considered refugees. She explains, “Black people in the United States face such racial violence that they could qualify as refugees if they didn’t live there.” Identifying racial injustice and violence as a human rights issue, she goes on to write, “The United States claims to be a country that protects refugees, not produces them; a country that chastises nations with poor human rights records. But what of our own human rights record, which shows how far we still have to go in eradicating racial injustice and violence?” Jorjani’s question is a compelling point of entry for a discussion on the meaning of the term “refugee” in the context of African American studies.

At the most basic level, a refugee leaves …

This essay may be found on page 172 of the printed volume.

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