*The lingering racial wealth gap and reparations have been the core issue within the African American community. There is anger over the widening wealth gap between the white and Black people. Conversations are happening online using the hashtag #ADOS, which stood for American Descendants of Slavery. It is this particular movement that has created a wedge between the Black people.
ADOS advocates are talking about reparations and economic justice by only advocating for the descendants of slaves and not the Black community as a whole. Their advocacy eliminates an entire group of people, the American-born descendants of immigrants. Disparities exist between the two groups. There was a research that showed US-born Black people were less likely to have a bachelor’s degree compared to the Black immigrants. There are countless theories and studies on why such a gap exists. The fact remains that many Black immigrants are improving faster than Black Americans when it comes to education and income, and this adds fuel to the ADOS movement.
Many critics of the movement have accused the group of spewing xenophobic rhetoric and online harassment. Several high-profile black politicians such as Kamala Harris, Joy Reid, Jonathan Capehart, and others have been attacked by ADOS for having non-American lineage.
Kamala Harris, the former presidential candidate, is half-Jamaican and half-Indian. Yvette Carnell, the most followed ADOS activist, has tweeted that she has issues with Harris’ solidarity with Black people descended from slaves. Rapper and activist Talib Kweli also expressed his criticism for the ADOS group. He said that the ADOS activists are dishonest about wanting reparations. He says they are anti-Black immigrants and have aligned with the GOP on immigration.
Alvin Bernard Tillery, Jr. Ph.D., an associate professor of political science at Northwestern University states, “They’ve attracted pushback because they have the radical thesis that if there’s going to be reparations for slavery, that it should really only be targeted to persons who are the descendants or legacies of actual American slaves.” He says the reason why there is so much backlash against ADOS is that, as Black people, the skin color is paramount to unity and belonging. This type of activism is creating a divide in a community that is already vulnerable to outside factors.
ADOS is intent on making a controversial statement during the 2020 elections, proposing a strategy to vote down-ballot of Democrats unless the Democratic nominees work for a ‘Black Agenda.’ It is a move that has a negative impact on the Democrats’ efforts to protect voter’s rights, particularly of a historically disenfranchised group like Black Americans.