Excerpted From: Ankevia Taylor, The American Dream Belongs to All of Us: Latinos and Jamaican Americans Experience Cultural Genocide by American Assimilation, 17 Florida A & M University Law Review 249 (Spring, 2023) (113 Footnotes) (Full Document)

AnkeviaTaylorAmerica has a history of oppression that starts right at its inception-the infamous voyage of Christopher Columbus. Since the beginning of the United States of America as we know it, there has been a history of discrimination, genocide, and, in 1619, the enslavement of African people. Four centuries later, it is difficult for many citizens of the United States to merely acknowledge--let alone combat--the insidious racial disparities which minoritized populations face in the country today. In this assumed “color-blind” era, many citizens of the United States and their sympathizers propose that we live in a post-racial society. Unsurprisingly, most people in racial categories other than White would seriously beg to differ.

The American Experiment was supposed to yield a country with freedom and democracy for all its citizens. The promises of the constitution reinforce these ideals-yet racialized populations struggle every day for equal opportunity and protection of the law. As the country continues to diversify, racialized populations such as the Latino and Jamaican American communities have been forced to assimilate into what has been the racial status quo of America - “White,” “Black,” or “Other.” This forced assimilation aims to further racist ideologies and promote “model minorities.” However, the effect of this forced assimilation is the stripping of history and self-identity from racialized populations to further White supremacy.

The struggles that Latino and Jamaican Americans face in the United States resemble the experiences of the African Americans in their fight for civil rights and equality fight that continues today. It is time for the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of the United States to initiate a collective effort to empower this country's diverse cultures. This mission of attaining access and opportunity to racialized populations cannot be done simply through Supreme Court rulings or even the passing of a state or federal act -it will take a collective commitment of all three branches of the government to uphold the promises of the United States Constitution.

“The histories of African Americans' collaborations with other people of color have indicated that dreams born out of the Black freedom struggle impacted African Americans and White Americans and other people of color.”

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Latinos and Jamaican Americans are stripped of their history and self-identity to achieve even minimal success in the United States of America. The forced assimilation that occurs when immigrants come to the United States results from a race-centered society that forces individuals to fall into the status quo of White, Black, or “Other.” and Jamaican Americans, and other immigrant communities, are significantly confined by this “othering” in the United States -and must be protected to prevent cultural genocide of the diverse people who truly make America great.

American legislators must protect those most vulnerable in society to ensure that the constitutional rights and protections guaranteed to every American are provided without obstacle -and that the cost of attaining such rights is not cultural genocide. Law, culture, and society significantly shape the experience of Latinos and Jamaicans in the United States and other racialized communities and the country must reconcile the destruction White Supremacy has inflicted upon them. The fight against White Supremacy has been a struggle in America since its conception -originally targeting Native Americans, then moving to include stolen enslaved Africans, and now expanding to oppress all racialized population. Affirmative action, education, and consideration can address and combat the forces of White supremacy in the United States of America.

The American Experiment was supposed to produce a country of free citizens able to fully participate in the governing of society through democracy; however, that privilege has only been extended without obstacles to White Americans, and those who are perceived or accepted as such.

Racism in the United States has had a detrimental effect on the Latino and Jamaican experience in this country; affirmative action can be used to promote acculturation rather than assimilation. Part I of this article will explore the origins of the American Experiment as the creation of a country with freedom and democracy and how the benefit of those rights has never been given to racialized minorities without a struggle and fight. Part II explores Supreme Court cases that deal with discrimination issues in America and highlights how the solution to the forced assimilation of diverse cultures cannot be found solely in the judicial system. Part III will explain how American assimilation promotes cultural genocide and discuss how “Additive Acculturation” should be the goal to uphold the right of equal protection explicitly provided in the United States Constitution.

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The American Dream belongs to all of us. The Fourteenth Amendment clearly and explicitly promises equal protection to all citizens, and it is time for all branches of the American government to join in furthering this goal. It is time for federal and state laws to provide explicit protection and celebration of the diverse populations that call the United States their home. Latinos and Jamaican Americans, like all minoritized populations in the United States, wish for more than to be simply tolerated-or pushed towards assimilation. It is through a genuine and consistent celebration of this multicultural country that America can truly be great!

Ankevia K. Taylor, J.D. Candidate, Florida A&M University College of Law, 2023; B.A. Florida State University, 2019.