I moved back to my hometown of Augusta, Georgia 13 years ago after an absence of 18 years, except for visits. Shortly thereafter, I bumped into a person whom I considered a friend from high school. We exchanged pleasantries and became friends on Facebook. At some point, this former friend (“FF”) objected to some of my political posts, and, after some online back-and-forth on these matters, we stopped being friends on Facebook (and I don’t remember who “defriended” whom), although we do have mutual friends there. We haven’t, to my knowledge, met again IRL. Continue reading
July 23, 2016 – Nick Kristof’s column in the New York Times of July 16 “We’re Helping to Deport Kids to Die”
Update: Sign petition urging President Obama to stop detaining children.
I like horror movies, but some, for no reason which I can discern, give me the heebie-jeebies. Stephen King‘s 1984 movie Children of the Corn was one of those. So I guess I can understand why my hometown newspaper’s editorial page was freaking out about the children of brown people from Mexico, Central and South America trying to reunite with their parents now living and working in the United States. Many of those parents used to actually grow corn, until NAFTA made it possible for US agrobusiness to dump its subsidized corn into their markets and make subsistence agriculture impossible. Continue reading
The Pew surveys show that Muslims are as likely to hold lazy views, i.e. prejudices, of “Westerners” as “Westerners” are to hold of Muslims.
However, the danger of a Pakistani Muslim believing that a German non-Muslim is selfish is less than that of a German believing Muslims are violent religious fanatics, especially when there are more Muslims living in Germany than Germans (and white Europeans and their descendants) in Pakistan. After all, it is not Muslims who have military bases and wage wars in predominantly non-Muslim countries, rather it is non-Muslims who do these things in predominantly Muslim countries.
In fact, Dr. Jalees’s argument reminded me of the reverse racism discussions in the United States. White people find blacks who make racist utterances or even violent attacks against whites and then claim that no special effort should be made to end racism against blacks since there is also racism against whites. Reading this 1 hour after I wrote it, I want to make sure people understand that Dr. Jalees is definitely not doing the reverse racism argument. It just reminds me. Of course, that’s the entire “don’t air the dirty linen” trap we must avoid falling into.
For this reason, I am not as outraged by the prejudices of unemployed youth towards the dominant social/ethnic/racial groups as I am by the fact that people from the dominant groups make up the police, judiciary and corporate boards which detain, imprison and then make money off of those now incarcerated youth.
Of course, prejudice is damaging first of all to the person who holds it. Only by accurately perceiving the world can a person act in his own interest.
For example, when you hear a Muslim in Turkey say something stupid like “Jews control the U.S. government,” is that ipso facto proof that he’s a raging anti-semite ready to do a pogrom on the nearest Jewish village? Or is it simply an inability to find a rational, moral explanation for the United States’s support of Israel, which claims to represent all Jews, that forces the Turkish Muslim to come up with a conspiracy theory, which is unfortunately buttressed by propaganda from internal political, social and religious forces opposing liberalism in Turkey?*
Arundhati Roy warns against oligarchical elites using prejudice as a weapon to divide the revolutionary classes. That is the real danger of Islamophobia and Occidentophobia.
Again, my quick first impressions. Point out my mistakes and I may change my mind!
P.S. I should add that Dr. Jalees’s article is good, but it’s ignorance, not anti-Western attitudes, that is the problem. And in many cases, and I can only speak about what I see from Muslims in the U.S., it’s ignorance of U.S.’s history as a bastion of white patriarchal supremacy. This ignorance distances us from the people who should be our natural allies in our lives in the U.S., namely the progressive, revolutionary struggles of the Native Americans, blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, women and gays.
P.P.S. I also worry that this kind of article would be misused by the “kick their ass, take their gas” crowd itching for more wars in Iran and Pakistan.
*The U.S.’s war on science, which is nearly the essence of prejudicial thinking, is also, IMO, about oligarchical control.
I had to watch this video for Spanish class and write a response in Spanish.
My response is this: just like that man at the end who cries because of the video footage he saw, by the end of the video I am fucking bawling. I am bawling because I am Mexican-American, I am bawling because my dad started out in this country as a day laborer, I am bawling because my dad’s English is not that great and the customer service he receives at stores when I’m not with him can be downright appalling.
The debate over undocumented workers is difficult. On the one hand, every country has the right to secure its borders and know who is inside its country. On the other hand, the demonization of these undocumented workers (and the Hispanic community at large) by calling them “illegals” solves nothing. All it does is make that community seem less than human. How do you know someone is here with a visa or not? Is it the shoes I’m wearing, the clothes I decide to wear, the color of my nail polish? Or are you simply assuming things based on the color of my skin and the fact that I look Mexican? And, even if I am here “illegally”, does that give you the right to treat me as less than human?
On the issue of English as the language of the U.S., all I have to say is that there is no official language for this country. For example, in the state of Louisiana the signs are in both English and French.
So the question was, what would you do? My first instinct is to help these men. I would translate. But you know what? The hypothetical establishment (because it was an actor behind the counter) does not deserve my money or those of the day laborers. I would say something along the lines of what I said above. I would get angry. I would be yelling. I would finish with a fuck you.
Fuck you for judging these people on their appearance. For all those people who joined in, fuck you and your ignorance. For the people who just stood by and did nothing, fuck you. Because if you watch injustice and do nothing you are not being neutral, you are part of the problem. Fuck you for making them, and me, feel like less of a person. Fuck all of your racist bullshit. I am proud of being Mexican-American and I won’t let you or anyone else make me feel ashamed for who I am.
I felt much better when they mentioned that not only is the guy behind the counter an actor, but the two “day workers” are always actors.
But still… this makes me sick. I would be inexplicably furious if I walked into a place and saw something like this happening.