Off to a Running Start

The striking contrast between the disappointing economic achievements of American blacks and the progress made by immigrants is commonly attributed to racism. But the discrepancy is also evident when native-born blacks are compared with black immigrants from the West Indies and Africa. Because color is not a factor, such comparisons have fueled a sometimes acrimonious debate about the varying effects of race, class and culture on economic success in the U.S.

Immigrants from Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and the Bahamas have been coming to the U.S. in significant numbers since the turn of the century, but in the past 15 years there...

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