Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Yup, I'm a Racist

Every time I hear anti-immigrant comments and racism towards Latinos, I think about what my Irish ancestors went through when they immigrated to America and had to go through the exact same racism we see today. Shame on you, America.

This shirt was for sale in Lexington, Kentucky. While bigots like Rush Limbaugh continue to deny they are racist but then say things like
"[Obama] wouldn't have been voted president if he weren't black. Somebody asked me over the weekend why does somebody earn a lot of money have a lot of money, because she's black. It was Oprah. No, it can't be. Yes, it is. There's a lot of guilt out there, show we're not racists, we'll make this person wealthy and big and famous and so forth.... If Obama weren't black he'd be a tour guide in Honolulu or he'd be teaching Saul Alinsky constitutional law or lecturing on it in Chicago,"
at least whoever makes and buys this shirt admits it.

My Irish ancestors were O'Hagans, but when they came to America, they dropped the "O" like so many other Irish did to lessen the discrimination.

This pub in Chicago opened in 2000, far after the Irish assimilated, multiplied, and prospered. The Irish, despite the discrimination they faced, persevered and can now proudly display their "O" and celebrate their Irish heritage. Indeed, many non-Irish folks celebrate Paddy's Day.

The Irish can be proud of what they accomplished in America. Back in the day, these "Irish Need Not Apply" signs were common in storefront windows. Immigration laws were drafted to reduce the number of Irish who were coming to America to escape poverty and persecution by the British. Many of the same immigration laws are still in effect in America today.

The Irish were not the only ones to face discrimination. The Italians had it rough, too. Racist names like "guido" and "wop" were used towards Italians by Americans who were themselves descendants of immigrants but failed to see the hypocrisy in their anti-immigrant rhetoric. Everyone had it rough at one point or another - the Chinese were used as slave labor well after slavery was abolished and the civil war fought. The Japanese were rounded up in concentration camps in the US during World War II despite having birthed generations of full citizens.

It makes me sick to my stomach to hear anti-immigrant rhetoric being spouted off today by the same people who wave flags and sing "God Bless America" and hang posters of the Statue of Liberty, on whose base are inscribed the words "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." THE FREAKING STATUE OF LIBERTY IS INVITING IMMIGRANTS TO AMERICA AND PEOPLE WANT TO KEEP THEM OUT.

Oh, but people are so stupid. They use idiotic excuses like "they should follow the law" and "they're bring drugs into the country" and "they're sucking up all our tax dollars" to mask their racism. Here's a clue folks - those same immigration laws that were used to restrict the flow of Irish coming to America are in place now. They are outdated and unable to handle the flow of Latinos who are escaping the poverty and violence that plagues their countries. Much of Mexico is a lawless warzone fueled by America's drug obsession (yes, drug use is widespread, not just by "poor people" - LOTS in the suburbs.)

And that welfare garbage...Latinos are some of the hardest working people in the country. Are there some who exploit the system? Yes. But Latinos do all of the shit jobs that Americans refuse to do. Have you looked in the kitchen of your Applebees? Latinos are washing the dishes. Latinos are doing the landscaping and the construction and all of the hardwork jobs that pansy Americans won't do. Racists in America complain about Latinos and blacks being on welfare when the largest race of welfare recipients are white, and those who exploit the system the most are white. White trash. Lazy to the bone who would never do the jobs Latinos do.

Those were the jobs the Irish had. They worked hard with far fewer labor laws. They did dangerous work. They saved up. They prospered. And many of them today are the same ones supporting racist laws like the one in Arizona.

Yes, there is a problem with drug violence spilling into Arizona, but erecting Berlin Walls and making fascist laws is not going to solve the problem.

Yes, there are people exploiting the system. It will always be like that. Doesn't mean you should whine about welfare and ruin it for the majority of people who use it correctly.

Instead of exerting all of your energy hating people who are different than you, how about spending some time pushing for immigration reform and drug law reform. The easiest solution would be to legalize drugs and mess up the supply chain, but, you know, we can't do that because the Christian Crackheads won't allow it. We started the "War on Drugs," and it's spilled over our borders.

I watch the Latino life in amazement, because I feel like I am looking back in time. I understand more of where I come from when I watch them work hard, raise families, become more prosperous, and deal with the racism they face. They are not "they." They are "we." It's a shame that the "nation of immigrants" can be so hateful towards immigrants. You spit all over that flag you claim to love with every racist statement you utter.

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