Tuesday, May 16, 2006

When immigration meets racism

I just read an interesting article that reminds me of the tension that continues to brew over this whole immigration debate. According to the author, Tennessee (of all places) has become a battleground for immigration conflicts. In the article, he cites that:

"From 1990 – 2000, Tennessee’s Hispanic population grew by 278 percent, from 32,741 to 123,838. The state ranked sixth in the growth of foreign-born residents with a 168 percent increase that also included Asians, Africans and other nationalities. Nashville also boasts the nation’s largest Kurdish population and served as a regional voting center in the Iraqi elections."

At first this all seemed rather odd to me. I would've never equated Hispanics with Blue Grass and country music. But, in light of the demographics provided by the author, coupled with the history of racism that continues to stir in Tennessee, it makes sense that immigration debate is hot topic and that Hispanics in that area would be subject to oppression. As the author comments:

"In November 2005, a former Ku Klux Klan member, Daniel Schertz, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for building pipe bombs to kill Hispanic immigrants. Next, in May 2005, vandals scrawled Nazi graffiti on the La Lupita Mexican store in Maryville, Tenn."

I guess that, by and large, I'm not too surprised at the racial hatred aimed in the direction of Hispanics, mostly because I've expected it to show up sooner or later. At the risk of sounding insensitive, I also speculated that all of the attention given to the Hispanic community would somehow assuage some of the racial tension faced by the Black community and give us a little breathing room...

I don't presume to know where this whole immigration debate is going. But, one thing is for sure: this whole thing is going to lead to a proliferation of racist, hate crimes being committed all over the country.

Your thoughts?

- ACL

20 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

karen said...

I was listening to talk radio the other day and I hear a lady from California ranting and raving about her legal co-workers took the day off to join in the protest. The anger that this woman had proves to me that immigration debate is really starting to heat up.

Even though I haven't seen anything do down yet (I live in a big city), I can tell that there is some pretty strong resenting brewing.

Andre said...

You know Karen,

In some way, I can't say that I'm suprised by the racist demonstrations against Hispanics. I hate to sound insensitive, but -- if you think about it -- immigrants, especially Hispanics have been little arrogant with this whole thing. I mean, how can you sneak into someone else's established country and then demand the same rights as its citizens (while waving YOUR flag, no less)? I can't break into your house illegally and expect for you to feed me.

Considering the racial discrimination in this country, I never thought for a second that immigrants would go unpunished by White extremist groups.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I completely agree with you on this one. Redirecting racism doesn't gives any minority group any "breathing room". I think it just expands the fires so that it consumes everything in it’s path.

Andre said...

Oh, I agree with you. I was only using the idea of "breathing room" as a hyperbole.

No matter what happens in this society, Blacks will always feel the sting of racism. There's no two ways about it. In fact, approximately 65% of all hate crimes committed in America are against blacks. Homosexuals are the next closest group at 28%.

But, that doesn't stop me from believing that Hispanic hate crimes will increase, especially when they start demanding rights.

It'll be interesting to see how next year's statistics will either support or refute this claim...

Anonymous said...

It's hypocritical for you, a black man, to bash on any other minorities for demanding civil rights, while wanting to acknowledge their country of origin. Uh...remember the black pride, Africa is the motherland movement?!

Andre said...

@ anonymous #2: Let's get a few things clear here:

(1) We didn't sneak into the country illegally, we were forced here.

(2) Don't you dare compare the oppression currently faced by Hispanics, Asians, and other ILLEGAL immigrants to what my people endured during slavery. If you wanna go toe-to-toe on this one, I'd be more than happy to.

(3) The economic success of this country traces back to our enslavement. Yes, I say "our". I never had a chain shackled to me, but the conditions that Blacks face today stems back to an oppressive history.

Note: don't come to the table unless you're ready to play...

Anonymous said...

I think we might have got off on the wrong foot here. I'm not suggesting that you're supporting Hispanic oppression or that it compares in any way to slavery. I'm also not implying that you encourage anything to "assuage" the problems faced by black people.

All I'm saying is that if anyone should be able to vouch for Hispanics, it's African-Americans.

kc said...

Oh! A fight. I've got $10 on Andre...

green eyed girl on planet earth said...

play nice :)
Greeneyes

Yasser Rahman said...

Im just so far away..I really have no opinions..but for the fact that they should make legal immigration a lot easier in all countries... :)

By the way.. you have been TAGGED! :)
And as a ‘tag victim’, you are supposed to do the following:

1. Come up with 8 different points of your perfect lover.
2. Mention the sex of the target.
3. Tag 8 victims to join this game and leave a comment on their comments saying they’ve been tagged.
4. If tagged the 2nd time, there’s no need to post again

:)

Andre said...

@ anonymous: I apologize if I got a little tempered. As I mentioned in my "Disclaimer" post, I get easily irritated. I'm sorry for snapping like that. But, when it comes to race relations, my buttons get pushed very easily...even if it's ONLY on a blog.

At any rate, I wasn't implying that anti-Hispanic hostility would completely eliminate anything directed towards Blacks. Anti-Black sentiments are too deeply rooted in this society. Even the Chinese Human Rights Report on the US addresses anti-black racism; which, for an oppressive nation like China, is saying a lot. All I'm trying to point out is that Hispanics will feel some of the heat because of the whole immigration debate, as this article has suggested. The analysis is pretty clear.

@ KC: always the instigator...

@ My green-eyed partner: (in my whiny voice): This is my playground and I'll play like I wanna... *Joking*

@ yasser: Welcome back to cybernetic land of the nerds. How's your big 2-0 been?

BTW, I guess I'll give this 'tag' thing a try, though I'm typically annoyed by chain-type things...

josh said...

While I’m a white conservative who is not as knowledgable about race as you seem to be, I still believe that the way to fight racism is to claim the moral high ground, something that racists will NEVER have.

Andre said...

I guess that I can -- at least -- commend you for having that type of spirit.

But, I would argue that if you were apart of the group that is discriminated against ON A DAILY basis, you wouldn't be so optimistic about the "moral high ground". This moral high ground won't extinguish the effects of deep-seeded, daily perpetuated racism.

If relying on the moral high ground actually worked, then Black people would've been free from oppression a long time ago. Most Black people I know are the most church going-est, praying-est, hoping-est people on Earth.

It's easy for you, in the majority group, to fall on the "Moral High Ground" ideology, largely becasue persecution is not your story.

By the way, I need to clarify to everyone else: I am NOT implying that I'm OK with racial hostility against others so they know whate we go through. I'm just keepin' it real by telling them, in plain English, "Welcome to our world."

Anonymous said...

I actually agree with Josh on this one. I'm also white (but I'm not a conservative). I think that the sooner that minorities get over the anger and rage that comes with racism, the sooner we can all progress as people.

Also, I think that Blacks should stop directing their anger at ALL whites. My family never owned slaves. They immigrated here from Ireland in the 1930s. Not all white people are bad, just because they are in the majority.

Andre said...

@ anonymous: I'll address your comments in two parts:

(1) I think that its a misinformed and...forgive me for saying...rather ignorant statement to say that "blacks should just get over it". Statements like this are an indication that you don't realize the full effect that history has on the present. Do blacks need to take more responsibility for their actions? Absolutely! Are there social, economic, and political injustices in the world that precipitate some certain 'destructive behaviors by minorities? Absolutely!

(2) Even if your family never owned slaves and you personally have NEVER benefited from slavery, the fact of the matter is: you belong to the majority. That, if nothing else, gives you privilege.

If you think about it, this idea even applies to the subtle things: You walk into a store, and you're 'above suspicion'. The brotha with the cornrows walks in and he's a thief. The sista gets turned down for a bank loan, while the white guy (who makes less than her) gets approved.

Whether you agree or not -- or like it or not -- that "white card" you're carrying has its privileges. As for my "black card"; I have to PAY BACK ON IT EVERY MONTH, by essentially showing society that I'm one of the "good ones".

If you're really interested in "progressing as people", start by identifying the privilege that you have by being white in America.

thehc said...

Hey Andre,
I grew up in a racially diverse part of Flint, although i didn't know it. My friends were Hispanic, Jewish, Asian, and Muslim, although I thought we were all "white". The only people I knew of that were "not white" were black people. Slowly, one by one, society pointed out their differences until I started thinking of only Euro-Americans as "white". If no one had ever separated blacks from whites for me, I doubt I would have ever even looked at them as being any different than "whites". Strange how stressing our differences pulls us farther apart. It's our simularities that make us friends. Maybe one day, with any luck, things like this won't be "Hispanic" issues. Just issues.

Andre said...

@ HC: I also wish that "Hispanic" issues or "Black" issues or "Arabic" issues will eventually peter out. But, I don't have the same optimism as you do; especially when societies have historically thrived by exploiting minorities.

green eyed girl on planet earth said...

Hey My Greeneyed Man
you can play anyway you like, nah nah nah nah nah !!!!!! it is after all your playground as you stated ,I beg thy pardon SIR,:0)LOL LOL LOL {evil grin} I try to keep my words both tender and sweet for I not know when I may have to eat them :-O
But I was refering to the other posting party who was challenging you ! but guess I did not clarify, so it was clear as mud
:-)
Greeneyes

Andre said...

Hey my green-eyed love,

I'm glad you picked up on the humor. Most people would've taken me seriously and cussed me out!

Truth be told though, I can be a spoiled little brat sometimes. I mean, you've read my "Disclaimer" post, right?! :)

Really good to have you back!

green eyed girl on planet earth said...

Greeneyed man
you have me blushing , THANKS, and you are one silver tongued ,,,,,,,well I wont say devil but your words are silky and sweet ,,,I likey!
Greeneyed girl