I’m late to the topic of immigrant rights and a bitch is trying to catch up. Oh, I’ve written about immigration reform and the misuse of immigration as a wedge issue in American politics, but a bitch is still studying this shit.
What I do know is that the debate around immigration has been and continues to be bigoted as hell.
It has, y’all. The tone offends me and I don't even claim an immigrant history.
I attended the Immigration in the U.S.: The Women's Rights Crisis Feminists Aren't Talking About panel at WAM! and was inspired to write a piece for RH Reality Check that went up today. Missouri is on the brink of passing legislation that claims to address illegal immigration, but it is drenched in anti-immigrant bullshit that has no place in the discussion.
Ruben Navarrette Jr. has a Commentary up at CNN.com on this topic. Oh, and read the comments...some of them are beyond ig'nant.
I live in St. Louis city and one of the things I love about my home is how culturally diverse it is. Community and culture existed before the French planted a flag along the Mississippi and the River City has since become home to Italian, Irish, German, Bosnia, Chinese, Caribbean and immigrants from African countries and the Middle East. When I walk down South Grand, I see and hear diversity and it feels good.
But America has long struggled and failed to address immigration with decency and respect. Just as communities and groups defended and supported Irish Need Not Apply signs, we now have people playing their Bigot Card on the topic of immigration.
It is easy to point out how the nastiness of the anti-immigrant immigration debate hurts immigrant communities and immigrants.
But the cold hard reality is that it hurts all of us as it reveals the ugly face of bigotry beneath the mask of tolerance this nation slaps on before greeting the world.
Anyhoo, this reminds me of a conversation I had with a Navajo woman while visiting New Mexico and drooling over handmade jewelry. She told me that while she was visiting Utah someone yelled out of their car for her to go back where she came from. She laughed and said if people went back to where their people came from, Navajo visiting Utah would have one of the quickest moves.