Back in March of 2003 I brought to your attention a piece in the New York Times on Africa’s lost tribe of Somali Bantus coming to America. It was a heartwarming story of the descendants of people kidnapped from southern Africa by slave traders two centuries ago, but its warmth was obscured by the political correctness from the Times: "The refugees tell each other, the Bantu will be considered human beings, not slaves, for the first time," said the article, but the Times wondered and emphasized how they will do in this land of prejudice and poverty, never mind language difficulties, or not knowing what a toilet was. Well, yesterday The New York Times ran another story on some Bantus who had settled in Tucson. Officials are saying that "the Bantus are making the most remarkable progress of the refugee groups" even though they came with the most disadvantages. America represents opportunity for them, and they are taking advantage of it, taking menial jobs, not complaining, paying rent, overcoming some of their bad "cultural" habits (like beating children), telling time, being punctual, noting that fireworks are meant to amuse not to strike fear, getting used to the kids being pelted with water balloons, etc. They are happy. The children are in school (and doing better than the natives, surprise!) and the 15-year-old boy wants to become a doctor. America represents opportunity, his father said, opportunity.
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