Friday, December 19, 2008

Blurring the line between patriotism and racism makes it hard for some to see the difference



The battle over immigration reform that Congress has forced onto Main Street USA has spun off a variety of unforeseen consequences — a negative perception of Hispanics, a hunt by private citizens for undocumented immigrants and a sincere confusion between patriotism and racism.


(Source: imungo.flickr)

Patriotism used to be something that most Americans didn't wear on their sleeves, not even military personnel. It was just a silent pride understood that everyone who lived in this country was patriotic by virtue of them either choosing to live here or having been born here.

Yet, as the immigration battle wears on in towns across America, people, who think they are preserving the "American Way," are damaging the essence of what this country has historically stood for with their constant attacks on Latino immigrants.

And when they're called out for these racist views, because discrimination against another group of people who are ethnically diverse is a form of racism, these so-called defenders of the American Way can't stomach such a strong label, but they have no problem villifying a whole group of people.

The latest incident is happening in a place where it's safe to say it's unsafe to be Hispanic — Patchogue , New York.

Patchogue is the site where the Ecuadorian immigrant, Marcelo Lucero, was murdered by seven students who attended Patchogue-Medford High School. The latest "racial war" is happening in the halls of the high school.

It seems in one particular hallway of the school four classes of ESL are being held next door to each other. Not for any particular reason other than it's convenient for the students. It seems there are some people who don't like that there are so many non-English-speakers grouped together. They want the classes to be broken up and scattered throughout the school.

These same people are complaining that the hallway is unsafe for white students. School personnel checked out the complaints and couldn't find any truth to the allegation.

To top it off, a critic of school board had an even further demand:

At Monday's meeting, North Patchogue resident and frequent school board critic Bill Pearson suggested the district get rid of ESL. The suggestions escalated into a shouting match, pitting Pearson against Superintendent Michael Mostow and board member Miguel Perez.

When Mostow called Pearson "a racist," Pearson threatened a lawsuit if Mostow did not apologize. "Not to you, racist," Mostow shouted back.

Pearson said he plans to contact a lawyer.

To suggest ridding these particular classes is a racist statement. The classes are not against the law so it can't be argued that Pearson is upholding the "rule of law" because he isn't.

He's targeting one group of kids based on their ethnicity.

It's not unusual that Pearson should be insulted at being called a racist. Most people who are advocating harsh measures against undocumented Latino immigrants don't see themselves as racists but defenders of the American Way.

They just can't see that the American Way has always been idealized as being an inclusive society that judged people's immigrant status in the courts — and not in the streets or hallways of high schools.

RELATED POST AT IMMIGRATION CLEARINGHOUSE

I would like to add some thoughts to hers and use her words to make a point.

The battle over immigration reform that Congress has forced onto Main Street USA has spun off a variety of unforeseen consequences — a negative perception of Hispanics, a hunt by private citizens for undocumented immigrants and a sincere confusion between patriotism and racism.

Congress didn’t force the issue onto Main Street USA at all. This lies at the feet of a relatively unknown person by the name of John Tanton who had plans as far back as 1979 to bring this to the mainstream.

There are three memos detailing his plans and ideas, and if one will think, they’ll see that the hysteria against Hispanics, without regard to legal status, is following the plans he laid out.

  • WITAN I - lays out Tanton’s plans to further insert FAIR into U.S. politics.
  • WITAN II - this memo reviews FAIR’s history and urges FAIR to take on legal — not just illegal — immigrants. Conner’s vision for a ‘Border Security Project’ seems to presage today’s controversies involving Ranch Rescue and other groups.
  • WITAN III - this memo is the most explicit, discussing Latinos and others in derogatory terms.

That’s right. Federation for American Immigration Reform was funded and founded by this guy 30 years ago and is one of 13 loosely networked groups founded or funded by Tanton. Some have been designated “Hate Groups” by the SPLC and others, with good reason.

These are the ones putting this out on Main Street USA.

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