The comment usually goes something like this: "Well, I don't understand why African-Americans complain about racism keeping them down because Africans and Chinese, etc. come over here all the time and make something of their lives. And they (we) come from a legacy of colonialism. I think African-Americans just use slavery to make excuses for bad decision-making."
A version of that comment has been launched at me repeatedly during conversations with many of my African friends in particular. It's always like, "Look at Africa! We have a fucked up history too! But we manage to not let it hold us back like you African-Americans do!" Usually the comment pisses me off so much that I find myself incapable of squelching my anger in order to coherently respond to it.
I was going to respond on the comment thread on the site, but someone beat me to it with an almost perfect response (pasted below). The only thing I would add is: "What makes anyone think that some brown and black immigrants here are not similarly suffering from the same limitations - psychological and economic limitations that stem from the legacy of the racism that manifested itself as colonialism in their home countries? Furthermore, for every African or Chinese, for instance, who comes here and succeeds there are probably a dozen more who end up like many of the black Americans who live perpetually in slums, pathologized and blamed for their near inability to rise from their underclass position. The successes of a few don't erase the suffering and continued oppression of millions." Anyway, what's your opinion on the topic?
“How is it that African, Caribbean, and Asian immigrants with their own painful colonial pasts (some experienced first hand) can come to this country and not similarly suffer from the same limitations?”
A lot of it has to do with subtle differences in the oppressed minority group psychology.
Colonialism has usually meant a minority of powerful Whites controlling (by threat of force) a majority of non-White native peoples.
Americanism has been a MAJORITY of powerful Whites oppressing a much smaller minority of imported, non-White alien people, in a culture that is extremely hostile to them.
The damage done by Americanism is different.