Wednesday, June 20, 2007

By request, a clarification...

A certain Anonymous wants to know why a bitch is not concerned about illegal immigration.

I’m glad you asked!

A bitch should clarify that I am concerned about workers being abused, their human rights being denied and greedy unethical corporations gorging themselves on profits as a result. But that concern is not limited to the topic of illegal immigration in the United States…is it?

I am not concerned about a threat to American jobs. Sorry, but that dawg don’t hunt. We need to address the wage issue for all Americans but that concern is not limited to the topic of illegal immigration in the United States...is it? And a bitch sure as shit isn’t concerned about any so-called threat to American culture. Fucking spare me that "I'm native born" with a my people came here less that 150 years ago immigrant pedigree bullshit.

My ass will confess to taking a certain pleasure in listening to border residents freaking out because of the “flood” of “illegals” across the border who are “about to drop a baby” and who will then “rake in the benefits” of citizenship all the while “destroying traditional American culture”.

Whew!

A huge part of me wishes that shit were true…because turn about is fair play and it’s not as if hordes of disease carrying explorers didn’t flood across existing borders back in the day…killing and destroying as they went…all the while “dropping babies” which they then used to justify a need to expand by the will of a selectively quoted God…only to resent the very people they took all that territory from…and sign and then not honor followed by sign and then not honor followed by sign and then not honor treaty after motherfucking treaty they had no fucking intention of ever honoring…only to finally settle comfortably in the land of plenty their illegal immigrant asses ceased back in the day and live in blissful disregard of the people their Manifest Destiny displaced and thus sentenced to a life of poverty and want.

Blink.

Not having an immigrant past...the African Diaspora not being immigrant narrative...and being a few generations removed from my Native American heritage, I see this shit from different angles.

Our nation was founded on the rather curious idea that a certain group’s needs trump the needs of others and the immigration debate is falling into that rancid vat of entitlement. That same idea justified initial conquest…continued conquest and all those treaties…the enslavement of human beings…the banking of profit and growth of industry on the backs of those slaves and later (gasp) immigrant workers…and the continued resentment of The Man towards anyone who dare covet the cake he now sees as his by divine right.

I am not threatened by a people wanting more…who will pay taxes when rich Americans do anything they can not to…who will pass a citizenship test most Americans can't…who will be bi-lingual when most Americans struggle with English…who will know the words to the National Anthem when fucking Senators and Congresspeople don’t…and who only spark fear because of where they come from, how they sound and what they look like.

We need to find a way to make this shit right and we sure as shit need to cease sounding like a nation of ethnocentric bigots and start sounding like a people who understand the history of this nation and the role of immigration in that history.

I don’t fear the illegal immigrant.

I fear The Man acting in fear of the illegal immigrant.

29 comments:

Leota2 said...

Goddess . . . . . .

InAtlanta said...

"border residents freaking out because of the “flood” of “illegals” across the border who are “about to drop a baby” and who will then “rake in the benefits” of citizenship all the while “destroying traditional American culture”."

HIL-AR-I-OUS!!!

Thanks for the reminder of this great country's history.

Anonymous said...

very well said, indeed!

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, a breathe of fresh air. Thank you. This is my first time on this site, but I already love it. Keep spitting that knowledge! You have a new reader.

Jim said...

Someone forgot to update the sign...

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Disgusted in St. Louis said...

I fear The Man acting in fear of the immigrant.

Yup, exactly!

NOTE: I removed the 'illegal' from your statement.

The never ending fear-mongering from the Radical Right purposely blurs the legal and illegal immigrants into just immigrant in their rants. David Neiwert at Orcinus has been writing some great stuff about this.

As a second generation US citizen descended from immigrants after WWI whose grandparents didn't speak English this shit depresses me to no end -- the shit being the racism exhibited by defenders of the White, Christian male power structure in their rants on immigration. (O'Reilly, Tancredo, Dobbs, etc.)

Karmie B. said...

You are pure gold!
What you said is so true and so awesome.

proudprogressive said...

Tell it Shark-Fu, your clarity is a breath of fresh air ! As usual and it keeps me coming back. Hey hope those allergies subside soon. gah ! the misery they can induce. Hang in there gal and keep on speaking the truth. Many positive vibes being sent your way, my dear to you and yours.

a faithful reader,

P2

Ant Annie said...

Amen, Shark-Fu! Well said.

Your answer to "anonymous" -- who is too afraid to even make up an identity for themselves -- was perfect. Immigration will be this election's gay marriage. The GOP non-issue that they'll use to get out the vote will be 'fear the brown menace' as last election it was 'don't let the gays destroy marriage.' Funny, I always thought that divorce and infidelity were a threat to marriage, not two people in love. But I digress...

Personally I'm more concerned with bringing the troops home alive, doing a better job educating our kids, and getting better, more affordable health care for everyone.

Keep up the good work.

Ant Annie in Pittsburgh

Shark-fu said...

Oh my!

And thank you.

As for anonymouses, they too are welcome in the land of bitchitude...just not by name (wink).

Anonymous said...

girl, you need to run for office.
thank you. thank you. thank you.

Kamrin said...

My partner is English. Now a naturalized (ouch!) American citizen. When the brother tried to come over, we discovered just how hard it is to become legal here. He cam here legally, had job offers, an American blood relative, was trying to fill out all the paperwork, and was not trying to collect any government assisted services. These folks (anti-immigration) have made it so hard to be here legally that he finally gave up and went back home to England. Sigh. This ain't just affecting "them Mexicans." We are all gonna suffer if we loose out on the wonderful mix that makes the my world so darn fun!

brownfemi said...

excellent post bitch!!!

I just wanted to clarify tho to some of the folks in comments--it's not just the Radical Right that are scared of "the illegals"--the clintons have a long track record of harmful anti-immigrant legistlation and terry mcauliffe just had an interview on npr where he agreed with a republican caller who said the u.s. needs to shut down the borders--he even pulled the "they steal our jobs" line as well...and ed kennedy, supposedly the big pro-immigrant dude, didn't blink twice about 5,000$ fee immigrants would have to pay under his "amnesty" plan...so it's not just the right that's pulling this crap.

evilganome said...

As a first generation American I can only say, All Praise ABB! I got into a huge argument at work when someone in my office forwarded one of those bullshit emails extolling the dangers of immigrants coming here and ruining the country. The last time the Ganome checked, the only people ruining this country is that asshat in chief and his cronies and the lazy morons who can't get out from in front of the TV set and vote! Whew. I feel better now. Thanks, girl!

Laura in L.A. said...

It's me, the question-asking "Anonymous." (As a new blog reader, I never posted a comment before, and I don't have a Google account so I thought you had to pick "Anonymous." This time I'm trying "Other.") I liked your thoughtful reply; it gave me a lot to think about. I have sort of a follow-up question. I heard the activist Ted Hayes on the radio recently here in L.A., talking about (paraphrasing, here) how illegal immigration has lowered wages and pushed African Americans out of the building trades and service jobs that were their opportunities to achieve the American Dream. It has also severely strained healthcare and education systems, disproportionately affecting African Americans. Do you think his viewpoint has any validity at all?

I was tickled that you answered my first question. I'm not trying to stir things up, I just like to hear what smart and informed people have to say about things. Thanks.

Shark-fu said...

Welcome Laura in LA!

I have heard comments like those regarding the so-called negative impact immigration has on Black workers...but it stinks of divide and conquer to me.

All workers deserve a living wage. Acheive worker's rights and all of us will benefit.

The real issue is wages and legalizing immigrants would bring those brothers and sisters under the legal wage structure and thus end any supposed threat created by cheaper labor.

Ask yourself who fears that...who benefits from unethical cheap labor...who wants to keep a certain percent of the population undocumented and this unprotected.

Divide and conquer is a tactic of The Man we must resist.

Great question!

Antonio said...

Great essay. I especially love the "sign and then not honor" part. It's way too easy to forget the atrocities committed against American Indians.

Kelley said...

Absofabtastically brilliant!!! I have been arguing these same points with friends and family for years.

I'll be the Cherokee, the five nations of the Iroquois, the Sioux, the Cheyenne, the Apache, the Modoc, et al., are having a huge laugh about the current immigration debate.

Rileysdtr said...

"O-oh ya' can't scare me I'm stickin' to the Union..."

On a CD-buying kick, and picked up a retrospective of Woody Guthrie's work by a whole bunch of artists. Seems it's the same stink, different day. Brother Woody sang about illegal workers and the critical need to unionize, not to keep the illegal workers out but to ensure a living wage for everyone - black, white, brown, red, yellow, or my own personal pasty white.

As students of history, of course, we all remember the anti-immigration waves of the 1840s-1860s, when the Irish were spurned and rejected as the scum of the earth; and the Man agitated the black dockworkers of the South to rise up against the feckin' bums who were out to steal their jobs... some nice little riots, those were. Funny how the faces may change but the message remains.

Taking off my Paddy Cap for a moment and throwing on my Feather Boa, it is important to remember - Human Rights are for everyone. I am proud that Chicago Immigration Marches, at least, include a LGBT contingent who want immigration reform just as much as the immigrants... so folks, as y'all attend your Pride Marches, cheer loud for the immigrant queers, okay?

Finally, a minor corrective piece of math to a flaming e-mail making its way around peoples' in-boxes: "why should they get social security and stuff when they don't pay a dime into the system?" Uh, folks? Faking a social security card or using someone else's number means the worker is paying Medicare, Social Security, State, and whatever-the-heck-FICA-is-exactly taxes, WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO ACCESS THE BENEFITS OF THOSE TAXES. Mr. & Mrs. Illegal won't get Social Security no matter how many years of taxes they pour into the system.

As for anyone who whines about how illegals get welfare and free Medicaid health care whilst millions of working Americans yadda yadda, have y'all ever SEEN the Medicaid healthcare system? Sitting for hours in Cook County Hospital's Emergency Room with a screaming sick child (who's however not sick enough to move to the front of the line ahead of the gunshot wounds and car crash victims being brought in... it's called Triage, look it up... so you spend 17 hours there and lose your precious job as a hotel maid when you didn't show up to work) because that's your only option is not anyone's idea of gaming the system.

Okay - off with feather boa, step down from soap box, and dust myself off. Thanks, y'all.

InAtlanta said...

To Laura In LA:

Last I checked, a "service" job in 2007 USA is a first class ticket to the American Nightmare: not enough $$$ to support the consumer lifestyle so valued in this country. Or basics...like good childcare.

Also, African American access to the American Dream isn't restricted to the channels of the building trades and service jobs. Think about it.

It's Me... Maven said...

I've been finding the whole "immigrants stealing US jobs" issue to be analogous to the "gay marriage will undermine hetero marriage" argument.

1. Immigrants are taking jobs Americans don't want to do. Face it.

2. The biggest threat to marriage (hetero, homo, you name it) is adultery and divorce.

EOS.

The media harping on about these two topics is just a big bloated red herring for us to fixate upon, rather than actually engage in outrage over other more pressing issues.

It's Me... Maven said...

PS: I don't see how the whole immigrant discussion/debate is more of a threat to the US economy than NAFTA was in the 1990s, or outsourcing in the 2000s.

Disgusted in St. Louis said...

brownfemi,

In general, I would agree that it isn't just the Radical Right (just mostly).

That being said...cough..cough...Terry McAuliffe (puh-lease!!) Aside from being the Clinton's bag man he stands pretty much with the Radical Right corporate interests especially against something personally important to me -- net neutrality. It's hard to separate the corporatists (Clintons/McAuliffe) from the anti-immigrantion crowd, especially when many of them former enjoy the exploitation of low wage employees with no regress.

Maya's Granny said...

Shark-fu, you always tell it like it is and I always know I can come to you for a taste of the truth.

Frankly, as the descendant of people who came over and enslaved others to do the work and broke treaties to get the land, I'm impressed by people who come wanting to work and willing to pay for whatever they receive.

Anonymous said...

I love you!!

Anonymous said...

Hey ABB! Okay- really, I just creamed my pants reading this post! I love it and can't wait for your BOOK to come out..."Angryblackbitch's political road map to equality !" hahaha...okay, maybe not THAT title.

What's funny is that the immigration sub-issue is an issue for the world. I've been talking to a lot of people here about this and it seems that the Polish and Turks are the Mexicans of Europe. Turks and Polish people come to Holland to find jobs, they work cleaning jobs, etc. for no pay and with no SoFi number...cheap labor.

And as for Americans losing jobs- yes it's true- unemployment is a bitch- I mean, I was downsized before I came to Amsterdam and I'm a HARD worker- but these issues are everywhere as well...I met a group of Sweeds bitching that their jobs were moved to China recently...and apparently this isn't uncommon (truth be told, the first world is making sure that the 3rd world is nothing but factories- pretty gross!!)

Since day 1 of this current immigration debate, I've been saying that you can't support economic globalization without supporting social/cultural globalization...Though we would like to separate them, it's unethical to do so. If you want cheap walmart clothes via globalization, etc. you have to accept the social immplications of opening your world!

And maven's point is accurate...NAFTA, CAFTA, BahFTA, FTAA, WTO, IMF, etc. etc....are more worry some for the US than illegal immigration- in fact- it is BECAUSE of NAFTA, CAFTA, AFTA, BahFTA, WTO, IMF, FTAA that we have an influx of immigrants...

Look at Ciudad Juarez...touted to be a "city of the future" when Mexico was signing onto NAFTA. Unfortunately, when Monsanto flooded the Mexican market with rock-bottom-priced GM corn and drove the Mexican farmers off their land they were forced to go to ciudad juarez. Unfortunately, when they got there all they found were MANQUILADORAS. Now, >2million mexicans live/work in ciudad juarez for NO pay and have nothing to aspire to. So, they come to America- legally or illegally.

Tell me that's not a big platter of bullshit!?!?!?!

So, yes ABB you're right, immigration is a subissue...in fact it's more a 'sequelae' of a bigger systemic disease resulting in the bloating of corporate profits...

In solidarity,

HammerChe

It's Me... Maven said...

I highly recommend anyone who considers themselves well read on world matters, as well as considers themselves a "foodie," to go out and get either the paper book or the book on CD of "The Omnivore's Dilemna." This will open one's eyes regarding the evils of CORN and how it's bankrupting not just the American diet and its effect on the economy (e.g. the trickle down of farm subsidies and how it's effecting the agricultural industry in our hemisphere). Does anyone ever think about the how or the why associated with eating asparagus or tomatoes out of season?

And while thinking of glutting third world nations with factories, I wonder how much longer consumers will continue to shop at places such as Walmart and Home Dept (to name a few), who are these huge emporiums, profiting upon and exploit the sweat of our third world brothers and sisters.

b. medusa said...

what a breath of fresh air this post & comments are after reading some of the comments on the FN blog about immigration. it's depressing as hell to hear black folx spouting jim crow nonsense (& refusing to see their white supremacist complicity when its pointed out to them). i love this blog!

Homer said...

I hear all of the Republicans scream and cry about illegals, and I can't figure out why they don't say what they really mean- "Mexicans." They are scared shitless that America will become a bilingual, darker-skinned country. I hope it does. If I was living in rural Mexico, where the economy has been ruined by NAFTA, I'd be heading north too.