Caribbean American Or African American?

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America's Future - A young girl sits atop her parents car using her cell phone camera as Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks at a Drive-in event in Coconut Creek, Florida, on October 29, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
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Biden In Pitch For Florida’s Caribbean American Votes Says He Knows The Difference Between Caribbean And African American Voters

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Oct. 30, 2020: With just five days to go before the Nov. 3rd general elections, Democratic Presidential hopeful Joe Biden was in the battleground of Florida again Thursday, courting Caribbean, African-American and Latino voters in the Democratic enclave of Broward County, and insisting he knows that the so-called “Black Vote” is vast and diverse.

After rallying invited voters in Coconut Creek, Biden told CBS Miami’s Ty Russell in an exclusive interview that he knows the difference in the Black voting bloc supporting him, and is confident he will get a large showing of black voters in this election.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks at a drive-in campaign rally at Broward College on October 29, 2020 in Coconut Creek, Florida. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“The Haitian community is different from the African American Community in Detroit. The Caribbean island community…. The Jamaican community … they’re different. Understand the differences, which I do,” he said. “That’s why I’ve been to Little Haiti a number of times.”

Biden has been courting voters in the must-win state since September and has insisted that the Caribbean voting bloc, often dismissed as simply part of the “Black Vote,” is the key to helping Democrats win in Florida and win the White House.

On Oct. 4th, in a visit to Little Haiti, he told Haitian American voters” “Think about this: Wouldn’t it be an irony, the irony of all ironies, if on election eve, it turned out Haitians deliver the coup de grâce in this election? The Haitian community by itself, if the turnout was like it was last time, the Haitian community itself can determine the outcome of this election. I really mean it. Look at the numbers, it’s real.”

The message was recently largely repeated by his running mate, vice-presidential candidate and US senator, Kamala Harris, who also said the wider Caribbean-American voters in Florida can help bring home the win for the Democratic ticket.

Speaking to Caribbean American radio personality, Diana “Lady D” Taylor on Caribbean Affair Connection Radio in Orlando, Harris, whose father is Jamaican-born Professor Donald Harris, said: “When you look at the Caribbean-American community, it is vast and it is so intertwined and integrated into the fabric of America and so much a part of the historic leadership of America so we just want to make sure everyone votes. And Florida is so important because Floridians can determine the outcome of the election.”

The Biden-Harris campaign has also released a TV ad on Haitian creole stations and print ads for Caribbean publications promoting Biden’s relief efforts to aid Black-owned businesses. A new ad made for English-language Caribbean radio stations refers to Harris as “our Jamaican sister.”

Florida has more than 974,000 people of West Indian ancestry. That total includes more than 300,000 Jamaicans and more than 530,000 Haitians, according to census figures. A conservative estimate for the number of Jamaican voters in Florida stands at 91,000, because many may not report Jamaica as their country of origin. Haitian voters are estimated at about 115,000. Across the state, nearly four of every ten immigrant was born in the Caribbean and call areas like Broward County, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Palm Beach Gardens, Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Port Saint Lucie, West Palm Beach, Deerfield Beach, Miami Beach, Kissimmee, Fort Myers, Boca Raton and Sarasota, home.

Caribbean American voters are not simply Black but are a melting pot of ethnicities and nationalities who are scattered all across the US. In 2017, approximately 4.4 million Caribbean immigrants resided in the United States, accounting for 10 percent of the nation’s 44.5 million immigrants.  Caribbean immigrants are more likely to be naturalized U.S. citizens than immigrants overall. In 2017, about 59 percent of Caribbean immigrants were naturalized citizens, compared to 49 percent of the total foreign-born population. Immigrants from Trinidad and Tobago (70 percent) and Jamaica (68 percent) had the highest naturalization rates, while those from the Dominican Republic (52 percent) were the least likely to be naturalized.

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