Tuesday, April 17, 2007

demonizing the racial "other"

This is an older post from another blog I am too busy to upkeep. I decided to cross-post it here, because I find it especially relevant in light of Bush's latest pet peave, his "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" platform, which, by the way, I spent an hour researching today, unable to find the detailed text of the bill. Government should be transparent. I always get angry when the public is excluded from the governmental process. Politicians are supposed to represent us and seek input from us, not withold information from us. Uggh!

I thought the post below is also relevant in light of the media's racialization of the Virginia Tech tragedy, which, I have the feeling will unfortunately play beautifully into the hands of the Bush cronies, who will use it to further stir up anti-immigrant sentiments, hoping to push through the above-mentioned and very problematic bill.

The reason I call the Immigration Reform bill problematic is because, as Angry Asian Man reveals, the "immigration reform draft (leaked to the public) could be as devastating as the Chinese Exclusion Act..." Various groups are are "calling the document's principles 'inhumane' and 'un-American' because it calls taking away the right of legal immigrants to sponsor their relatives to join them and breaking up families as a result."

See what I'm talking about? The text of the bill the groups are criticizing was leaked, not made accessible to "we, the people." So, the only part of the bill that I have learned about was the one dealing with legal immigrant sponsorship of relatives. What else is there in the bill, I would like to know!

First, let me explain how the post below relates to the topic of immigration reform and the Virginia Tech shooting. As more and more Americans feel the heat of the rising prices of oil, the plunging value of the dollar, decrease in living wage work opportunities, massive lay-offs, etc., the trend of scapegoating groups perceived as alien has increased. Additionally, since 9/11, policies have been put into place that have significantly curtailed the constitutional rights of the people in this country. Much has been written about many of these laws, passed by capitalizing on the public's (& politicians') irrational fears of immigrants and groups perceived by "mainstream" America as a racial "other." (For example, you can read Naomi Wolf's piece Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps). Thus Juan Santos's reference to fascism.

As you read, I recommend you add Asian to the quoted writer's references to the historically persecuted groups of color.

Now the post by Juan Santos, an LA-based writer and editor, about the need for white people to wake up to fight the fascist regime spreading in this country. Here is an excerpt:

Real oppression – and just as importantly the consciousness of one’s own oppression in the US - has next to nothing to do with the white left. . .

. . . Where are the no-fly-racially-profiled white “terrorists”? Where are white people required to prove their citizenship to rent an apartment? Where do whites come under instant suspicion for deportation? How many European whites are subject to the conditions in Guantanamo? How many have been tortured? How many whites have been stripped of the writ of habeas corpus, held without charges, without access to a lawyer? How many whites are among the native Indians, Blacks and Chicanos in the US, who together comprise the single group most targeted for incarceration in the world?

Obviously, there are none.

That’s why there is no mass movement against fascism in the US.

Because fascism targets the Other, and everyone damn well knows it.

. . . Even if it’s never spoken aloud, everyone knows in their bones that white people are exempt, that white people as a group are not the target of overt violent oppression in the US, and that they never have been and never will be. Guaranteed.

That guarantee is their blue pill, what makes them sleep.

The only people who’ve stood up en masse against the recent rapid escalation toward fascism in the US have been Brown people. Migrants and Chican@s stood up in our millions against the fascistic Sensenbrenner bill, a race law which would have rendered every migrant a felon, and every Chican@ a suspect in a felony. The Sensenbrenner bill would have made the barrio every bit as much a zone of official terror as the ghetto – even more so.

We were all that stood between the status quo and outright universalized fascism in the US.

But almost nothing and no one stood between colonized peoples of color and fascism in the US.

Black, Red and Brown have lived under virtual fascism - mass terror, police occupation and mass incarceration - for a generation now, since the War on Drugs and mass incarceration took the place of segregation and Jim Crow laws.

But it wasn’t the white US-er who was targeted, just like it wasn’t the German, but the Gypsy, Slav and Jew.

. . . Why, then should we be surprised at white silence today?

. . . White people could still wake up; they could still learn to resist the fascism that their culture has programmed them to accept.

But it will take a new understanding; they will have to start seeing themselves as a group like any other, not as a “white nation,” and not as “individuals,” and they will need to begin to understand and to break with the Inquisitorial fear of being different that permeates their culture to its very core. They will have to learn to see their culture’s depth of suspicion, its rigid obedience to the “rules” of the white middle class game, and to experience first hand the depth of violence it reserves for those who betray it.

They will have to stand strong against it, understanding that their own culture and its agents are their mortal enemy.

Most of all they will have to learn that their apparent “privilege” makes them no different at all: that in the long run they are not exempt or superior.

1 comment:

Third Mom said...

Precisely. The backlash has already begun, and without a doubt, Asians are now on that list.

Glad I found your blog, which I will link immediately.