The Brown Menace
Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez posted this up.
I'm happy to announce the op-ed editors of the Washington Post got hold of this blog and contacted me about contributing a shorter, more simplified version of my first immigration post. It appears in today's Outlook section of the Post.
Interesting story on this? When the editor, who is British but lives in DC, brought my piece up at the meeting, a fellow editor of hers said, "Yeah, but YOU'RE not an immigrant..." to her. He was NOT kidding. Because she is white, he had simply...assumed, in spite of her obvious accent. She told me about this with a bit of disbelief at how bad the confusion had gotten in the U.S. between race/nationality/legal status/immigrant status/socioeconomic class etc.
Now for the bad news. New polls show that Americans, awash in anti-immigrant propaganda the last few weeks, have suddenly decided (thanks to CNN and most other irresponsible media outlets) to blame this nation's economic problems on...you ready for this? Illegal immigrants. That's right. I saw this coming. Propaganda 101.
If you had any doubt what this faux-debate on illegal immigration has been about, or who has orchestrated it, this poll tells you all you need to know. The Big Brown Alien Frenzy was created by right-wing think-tanks who have studied the strategies of dictators throughout time. They are purposefully and incorrectly using Latinos - and they have convinced the public that we are ALL illegal immigrants, even though 60 percent of us were born here and the majority of the other 40 percent are legal - as scapegoats and distractionary hate-targets so that no one pays attention to the real reason for our nation's economic destruction: George W. Bush and his idiotic fiscal policies.
THe "illegal immigrant" media orgy is nothing more than good old-fashioned hate-mongering, with the aim of deflecting blame from the White House to Brown People. Sick. Fidel Castro has used this kind of sleazy tactic to his advantage for nearly 50 years, by convincing everyone in Cuba that their lack of freedom and poverty are the fault of...us. Yup. The United States. As long as Fidel can keep his people unified against the American "enemy," no one blames him for, say, making dissent ILLEGAL, and they remain paranoid and docile.
How sad that the U.S. now has a president borrowing strategies from Fidel Castro.
The mistake the U.S. spin-meisters are making now is that they are clumsily and racistly trying to equate "Latino," "Mexican," and "illegal," (terms that are NOT interchangeable) in hopes of scaring the bejesus out of non-Hispanic white Americans and directing American anger over disappearing jobs, failing schools and lack of health care on what they wrongly perceive to be a foreign menace.
Why this fearmongering against Latinos a mistake? Simple. Most Latinos in the U.S. are citizens who are extremely offended by this false labeling and ignorant discourse. The only exception, I think, is Alberto Gonzalez.
See, Bush was a mediocre student. So was Cheney. All of 'em, stupid as pet rocks. Stupid people in charge, making stupid attempts at creating a stupid dictatorship. What they REALLY don't want conservatives to know is that the Bush administration is NOT CONSERVATIVE(read this book!) . Real conservatives, like my ranching grandfather, roll over in their graves over the wasteful, dishonest government of the Bushies.
It would be funny if it weren't so...sickening.
Please remember, the "illegal immigration problem" is not NEW in this country. It was here last year. And the year before. The only difference is the media coverage. Keep in mind that under George W. Bush the United States, long admired for its free press, has slipped from having the 7th freest press on earth to having...the 27th. The Bush adminsitration is at war with the press. Who can forget when W said, thinking the cameras and recorders had stopped rolling, "I'm all for a free press; I just don't want them in the room."...?
It's just now that the media have jumped on it, because of press releases launched from right-wing think tanks and the carefully coordinated efforts of President Bush. It's called propaganda. The timing is quite beautiful. Bush's ratings at an all-time low, the Republican ranks destroyed by scandals of their own greedy making, more people in poverty than ever, the gap between rich and poor bigger than the one Dave Letterman's teeth. On and on.
How low they have stooped, to try to blame the entire collapse of the U.S. economy on desperate people working for slave wages. Just plain stupid. And evil.
But then, these are the men Ronald Reagan thought were so far out to lunch he termed them "The Crazies"...
Hmmm, not new?
Why would she say that?
Chinese Exclusion Act (United States)
The Chinese Exclusion Act, signed into law May 6, 1882, followed revisions made in 1880 to the Burlingame Treaty of 1868. The revisions to the treaty allowed the U.S. to suspend immigration and Congress acted quickly to implement the suspension.
The act excluded all Chinese laborers from the United States for 10 years. Amendments made in 1884 tightened the provisions that allowed previous immigrants to leave and return, and clarified that the law applied to ethnic Chinese regardless of their country of origin. The act was renewed in 1892 by the Geary Act for another 10 years, and in 1902 with no terminal date. It was repealed by the 1943 Magnuson Act, allowing a national quota of 105 Chinese immigrants per year, although large scale Chinese immigration did not occur until the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965.
The act was passed in response to the large number of Chinese who had immigrated to the Western United States as a result of unsettled conditions in China and the availability of jobs working on railroads. It was the first immigration law passed in the United States targeted at a specific ethnic group.
Although the law has long been repealed, it was around long enough to be made part of the United States Code. Even today, although all its constituent sections have long been repealed, Chapter 7 of Title 8 of the U.S.C. is headed, "Exclusion of Chinese." It is the only chapter of the 15 chapters in Title 8 (Aliens and Nationality) that is completely focused on a specific nationality or ethnic group.
The United States was not the only country to have racially restrictive immigration policies. Australia, Canada, and New Zealand also had similar policies. See The Chinese Immigration Act, 1923, White Australia.
Chinese came to America in large numbers during the 1849 Gold Rush in California. Most came from Southern China, which was in poverty after the Taiping Rebellion, looking for their fortunes. At first, surface gold was plentiful, and the Chinese were greatly appreciated and well-received. As the easy gold dwindled and competition for it intensified, animosity to the Chinese increased. Nativist groups demanded that California's gold was only for Americans, and began to physically threaten foreigners' mines. After being forcibly driven from the mines, the Chinese settled in cities, mainly San Francisco, and took up wage labor and menial work. With the economy in decline, the animosity became politicized by labor leader Dennis Kearney and his Workingman's Party as well as by Governor John Bigler, who blamed the Americans' woes on the Chinese "coolies," and Chinese laborers contracted to help build the central Pacific Railroad between the years 1864 and 1869. Accused of immoral and unsanitary habits, unfair competition in business by such factors of lowering wages, the Chinese were also victims of mob violence.
From 1910 to 1940, the Angel Island Immigration Station on what is now Angel Island State Park in San Francisco Bay served as the processing center for hundreds of thousands of Chinese immigrants; upwards of 30% were returned to China.
Millions of pounds of newsprint was wasted on the yellow peril in American newspapers. White immigrants, no problem, Chinese immigrants, problem.
posted by Steve @ 3:21:00 PM