The title of this post takes the point possibly too far , but the merits of the basic point remains the same. There are few South Africans here in the United States. When was the last time you ran into one? Now ask yourself, when was the last time you ran into someone from say, Nigeria, or Ethiopia, or Mexico for that matter? Okay, I am using a little humor here but the point has merit.
My point is this. Nelson Mandela and other leaders in South Africa have done a better job of selling the vision of their own South African dream than other leaders have, to date. And on balance, as amazing as America is, people would prefer to stay in their own home country, provided they can provide a sense of true opportunity there.
Now, South Africa has a lot of problems to be sure, and higher crime rates than they would like because there is not yet enough opportunity to go around — but my personal experience in South Africa is one of optimism. People genuinely believe that things will get better if everyone, of every race, continues to strive together, and works together. And I believe it too. That is one of the primary reasons why Operation HOPE and it’s partners have made an investment there, helping people to help themselves.
I do not believe that my Mexican brothers and sisters, coming to the United States, are criminals. For the most part they are ordinary people, just like you and me, trying to find a better way of life for themselves and their families. The best way to stem illigal immigration is to create real opportunity, and hope, back home.
As I said in Rwanda with my hero Andrew Young during the filming of RWANDA RISING, “prosperity is the best partner to peace.”
John Hope Bryant, reporting from my iPhone (smile)