Sunday, April 02, 2006

Rant #1 - Xenophobia

My brain is about to explode because I haven't blogged in quite a while. So I'm hoping to catch up and empty my head, one subject at a time. Please bear with me. I'll start with Immigration.

I was born in East Los Angeles and I'm so proud of the kids in LA who left school and took to the streets to protest draconian immigration reform. (I remember their parents and/or grandparents doing the same in 1968.) And I'm proud of Los Angeles in general for the half million or more who marched last weekend and the hundreds of thousand across the country who also participated. Tonight's local news out of Albuquerque ran a story about a town in Texas which is banning students who marched there from attending their senior prom. Why am I shocked?

If I hear one more newscaster or politician deny being "xenaphobic" I'll start throwing darts at the TV. I think "xenaphobic" means fear of pointy breasts and bad dialogue. It's "xenophobia", guys. And you are xenophobic, all of you who think of the 10 or 12 million undocumented workers in this country as "illegal". There are no illegal people, except perhaps George Bush and Dick Cheney and all the illegitimate love children of Barbara Bush and the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

There has to be a better solution than suddenly declaring workers and their support groups (priests, nurses, teachers, doctors) felons. Aren't are prisons full enough already? And do we really want to break up families, leaving children here under an already stressed foster system as we jail and/or deport their parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles? Didn't we do that in the 30's and the 50's, sweeping up thousands of American citizens in the process and dumping them across the border into Mexico?

My grandmother never did learn English and didn't become a citizen until well into her seventies after she'd lived and worked in this country for more than four decades. But she didn't take anyone's job or money nor did she hurt a soul as she struggled to raise four children on her own. Besides, there was no country for her to return to once the Ottoman Empire collapsed. And many of the folks we are demonizing in the press feel that they have no place to go either.

It's time we began to think outside the box on a host of issues, beginning with our own borders. They are arbitrary as well as porous. They're not carved in stone. There must be a better solution to fixing a broken system, like scratching it and starting over.


Anonymous said...

Dear sister Francine,

I am a descendant of the Puritans of Plimouth, Massachusetts and the Quakers of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And I am disgusted and angry at the zenophobia of many of my fellow WASP Americans. Recent polls suggest though that the majority of Americans are not zenophobic, that they do not want to kick all the foreigners out, which is good, because otherwise we'd all have to leave. Except for the remnants of the First Nation which have somehow managed to survive three centuries of genocidal oppression.

Paula and I resumed email contact this morning and she told me about your blog.

With love, Peter Terry

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