Immigration: Icky Thump

The White StripesIcky Thump:

White Americans, what?
Nothing better to do?
Why don’t you kick yourself out?
You’re an immigrant too.

Immigration Reform in this country is a mess.  But there is a world of difference between civilized discourse and paranoid nativist ranting:

What, in turn, raises questions of racism is how readily the discussion turns to how Latinos are polluting or diluting white culture, how they’re bringing crime and disease, turning America into “a third world cesspool,” how they’re “invading” the country. In other words, it isn’t talking about immigration that makes people hear racism; it’s talking racist shit that does.

The frame shifts from the legal status, safety, and human rights to one of fear mongering and naked appeals to racist nationalistic pride.  It becomes mainstream to adopt ever more hateful positions in regards to the immigrants, and the anxiety level is cranked way the hell up.  Suddenly an immigration problem becomes an invasion.

This makes life difficult for legal immigrants who look like the illegal immigrants who are scapegoated by the media (Laura Fern via Nezua):

Will my husband, who speaks English with an obvious accent, be frowned upon for the rest of his life? Will people always wonder about him, about us?

The reality of immigration is markedly beyond the simple “they steal our jobs and dilute our [white] culture”:

In reality, immigration exerts many positive and important impacts on a country’s economic, cultural and social structure. It will be hard to find any country in the world where immigrants never contribute to the development of a country. However, here in the Good Ole U.S. of A, immigration is being called into question by immigration critics who are compiled to exaggerate how the large influx in immigration has contributed to the increase in unemployment and other serious social problems. Some critics even go so far to argue that this country is losing it’s cultural heritage.

It is sober commentary like this we need more of, and it is social critique like that offered up by the White Stripes we benefit greatly from.  Our cultural heritage is alive and well, and it can be seen most clearly in the pro-immigrant rallies and in the voices of reason and dissent that strive to protect the rights of all.

That is the frame to discuss immigration reform in.  The reasoned discourse of law and human rights.


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