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Most discouraging was their de facto confidence that American blacks made poor decisions, and their lack of criticism of undeserved racist stereotyping.

Indeed, how they came to have a black, immigrant woman as their professor.

Our text, Elizabeth Nunez’s "Beyond the Limbo Silence," was set during the height of the 1960s Civil Rights movement.

Curious, I asked what else about dark skin might suggest someone was African American?

Responses ranged from wearing low-slung jeans and baseball caps, to dropping out of high school, and hanging out on the corner.

By the second generation many black immigrants find they have become black Americans.

The clipped cadences and other linguistic markers that once identified their parents as foreign have faded. The lack of taboo against intermarriage widens kinship beyond a single, home island identity.

A white mob chased Trinidadian born Michael Griffith to his death in the eighties.

Police tortured Haitian Abner Louima at a precinct and shot another Haitian, Patrick Dorismond, both in the nineties.

In the book, a Trinidadian student is one of only three black women at an all-girls college and she gradually awakens to the reality of American race relations and her place in the struggle.

We also watched several episodes of the PBS documentary "Eyes on the Prize" with its unflinching images of Southern terror and racism against African Americans. Martin Luther King and most of Rosa Parks, not many knew the West Indian backgrounds of civil-rights era activists like Stokely Carmichael and Malcom X.

More recently, unarmed Jamaican-American teenager Ramarley Graham was shot and killed in his own apartment.