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Invitation to assimilation

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Mr. Julius Olalusi is a rising senior at University of Pennsylvania. He is the chair of SOUL (Students Organizing For Unity and Liberation). Photo courtesy of Julius Olalusi.

“Assimilation is treason against your own conscious.”

Mr. Julius Olalusi, senior @ U Penn

At a young age, African Americans are encouraged to speak, dress and think like White Americans, preferably White Christian Americans. This road of assimilation is paved with smiles, rewards and pats on the back. The purpose of these accolades and kind words is to convince African Americans that assimilation leads to safety and success. Invitations to assimilate are given to African Americans at churches, jobs and schools every day. Assimilation is never offered explicitly; these invitations are delivered subtly with a distinct aroma of opportunity attached. In exchange for this opportunity at the American Dream, African Americans must disavow their heritage, their Blackness.

The public school system has been the most effective tool of assimilation. In general, an overwhelmingly White teaching staff has been collectively tone deaf to the needs of African-American students. It is no wonder that this group of teachers is comfortable with dispensing a colorblind and culture less education, which promotes a singular American narrative sans the African American experience. With as much zeal as any missionary, these educators teach Black children to use the English language correctly; teach them to dress properly; and show them how to be good citizens. African American students who do not accept public school’s definitions of correctly, properly and good are dealt with harshly: Andrew Jones, valedictorian of Amite High School in Louisiana, was not allowed to participate in the school’s commencement ceremony because he had a beard. Taiylar Ball, a senior at Homewood Flossmoor High School in Illinois, was banned from the school’s prom because of the diction in her Black female empowerment poem “Dear Black Girls.” Severe consequences for not assimilating do not end when you leave school.

Whenever African Americans embrace their culture or demand their human rights, they can expect to be demonized by White America. Civil Rights Movement? Communist. Muhammad Ali? Draft dodger. Black Lives Matter? Anti-police. Beyonce’s “Formation” video? Anti-White. The warning is clear: Assimilate or be labeled unAmerican.

Assimilation is White America’s way of finding African Americans they are comfortable with. And if White America was not comfortable with you while you were alive, they will wait until you die to create a narrative about your life they are comfortable with. After Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, White America transformed this relentless freedom fighter into the “I Have a Dream” guy. After Muhammad Ali’s death, he was being remembered more for lighting the flame at the 1996 Olympics than for refusing to fight in Vietnam because of his dedication to the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Now, White America does have living, breathing and thinking African Americans they are comfortable with.

Dr. Ben Carson and Justice Clarence Thomas are well educated, professionally successful family men. Their social stands will never be condemned or ridiculed by White America the way Dr. King and Muhammad Ali’s social stands were. White America is more comfortable with the lives led by the good doctor and friendly old judge than they were with the lives led by the preacher and the champ. There are two questions every African American must answer: What will you devote your life to and which road will you to travel to reach your goals?


  1. Sol Rothstein on June 28, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Samuel Adams,

    I think you need to think deeper. THIS article was poor journalism. Do you understand anything about African Diaspora? Do you understand African culture? When you learn this please re-write the article/blog.

    FYI — At this point in CURRENT DAY…American culture is all that matters. Stop SELF-Segregating yourselves…Black folks.

    Drops Mic…

    • [email protected] on June 29, 2016 at 7:51 am

      I basically get paid in the range of six to eight thousand dollars /a month online. If you are ready to complete simple online work for 2h-5h each day at your house and get good paycheck in the same time… This is perfect for you…

    • Julius Olalusi on June 29, 2016 at 11:46 am

      American culture cannot be all that matters when Black men and women are being killed day by day. It is only natural to protect yourself from such conditions. We do not have time for you or your American culture. My brothers and sisters are dying as I type.

      • Sol Rothstein on June 30, 2016 at 5:57 am

        Black Americans, doing crimes will be killed day by day.

        Can you explain why BLACK AMERICAS are doing so much crime.

        Speak on that Julius Olalusi !!!

  2. Julie on June 29, 2016 at 1:07 am

    Question: How can a white American family adopting black children avoid this? And if their desire is to share the Gospel with the world, including their black children, is this problematic? I believe Jesus came to set the captives free. To save us from ourselves. To redeem our brokenness and restore us to Him. His desire is for us all to live in a loving, liberated, and perfect place and until then, to love Him and each other. For me personally, this message of hope is the most important that a parent could share. It jumps every gap and chasm; culturally, racially, and otherwise.

    • JULIUS OLALUSI on June 29, 2016 at 11:50 am

      “His desire is for us all to live in a loving, liberated, and perfect place and until then, to love Him and each other.” Granted this be true you cannot use this message of hope in order to ignore cultural and racial injustices. If you want to adopt Black children you must challenge these problems and fight for justice in order to make love, liberty, and a perfect place possible for Black children.

  3. Joseph Olalusi on June 29, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Thank you Mr. Adams.This is a fantastic article which speaks on many of the obstacles I have faced growing up. I am a victim of assimilation because I’ve had to dress and speak a certain way in order to get where I am today. As a college undergraduate, I choose not to assimilate; and as a result, I have been called aggressive on multiple occasion because of the tone of my voice and my colloquialisms (which are empowered by my urban dress and my undesirable blackness). Sometimes, I wonder if being myself and refusing to assimilate will lead to another tragic story.

    • JULIUS OLALUSI on June 29, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      I don’t think you assimilated, you have used code switching to access White spaces for their privileges and benefits. Its not easy being that one on campus, I often look around and cannot find any similarities between my style/culture and that of my peers. There is know such thing as a tragic story when you are doing the right thing for yourself. Look at the example of MLK, even though his beliefs brought him pain, it lead to glory forever.

  4. Live and let live on June 29, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Assimilation into white America is not quite right. Whites are expected to assimilate to American culture. This applies to all folks: Irish, Italian, African, Mexican, Asian, Polish, German, Hungarian, etc etc. Why does it only matter when it’s African? Why do all whites including foreigners if another decent, face the same circumstances but still get blamed or told their struggle is somehow less? Why can’t whites celebrate themselves without being seen as racist? Why can’t whites gets justice in interracial issues and are automatically assumed to be guilty based on the racist correlation imposed by our skin color? It is what it is, I suppose but we will never improve as long as folks like you have an us vs them attitude. Maybe we should segregate again? Not by race but by mentality. Alot of black Americans don’t want that and I personally wouldn’t want them to be forced to based solely on the emotions of others with their shared skin color.

    One more question: if you were offered reparations in the form of cash and revocation of your evil white America’s citizenship, would you take it? If America bought a country in Africa for blacks in America to be reparated to, would you go? I mean, it happened in history but most of your ancestors who actually faced slavery and real bad racism, chose to stay here, so would ya’ll choose differently now?

    • Dunit on July 3, 2016 at 5:39 pm

      The reason whites cant celebrate themselvrs without being seen as racist is because you value wealth over people. No other culture is this a staple than white culture. The difference between white pride and everyone else is whites use violence, hatred, and pull others down in order to make themsrlves feel better and to gain political power. Other races are able to have pride without taking entire countries, making people think and act the way they do or call them savages, steal labor and resources and so forth. So if whites can celebrate themselves without committing genocide and ruining entire cultures, than the rest of humanity would celebrate whites as well.