I am white, my parents are Republican, and I reside in a small village in the middle of cornfield, USA. By all rights, I should totally be for border patrol, like the rest of the people around me. But I’m not. I’m completely out of my comfort zone here. When it comes to immigrants, I have a humanitarian’s heart. And when it comes to racism and practices of exclusivity against any color of any person, I have a mother bear’s anger and wrath.
My kids look like immigrants.
My kids are mixed-race, so people are barking up the wrong tree when they start in on that whole “let’s trash talk the non-whites!” I always think it’s kind of funny and sad when a white person makes a racial slur or says something derogatory about another color, assuming that as a white woman, I obviously agree. HA-HA-HA. Guess what, white man? You done just made an erroneous assumption.
Immigrants are NOT the problem.
It’s all the stupid white people.
True Story #1: In which there are no immigrants,
but in which white trash makes an appearance.
I had to visit a school in the evening to ensure the parents at an un-school-related activity stayed out of the classrooms, and I had to keep them from starting fights with each other. Yeah, it was THAT kind of city… I’m looking at you, Hamilton.
At one point in the evening, I was taking a break outside, sitting next to the janitor, and she asked why I had to come every week to keep things under control. I explained I served in a security capacity and mostly my mere presence was enough of a reminder from the main office that this was a children’s activity and that shenanigans wouldn’t be tolerated.
She responded something along the lines of “keeping the Blacks and Mexicans from messing everything up, that they were really bringing down the area…” and I just started laughing. I didn’t have job security in mind when I stood up and responded,
“You dumb bitch, first of all, the fighting is between the cheer moms — all of whom are white! — who each think their daughters are Olympic-quality gymnasts instead of the once-a-week exhibitionist snots that they really are.
“Second of all, my kids are both part-Hispanic, so I’m gonna stop and let you chew on that while you replay the dumb shit-meal that just fell out of your mouth.
“Third of all, I’m going to NOT report your racist ass because I know you probably depend on your job for your livelihood and I’m not a vindictive asshole. You be sure and have a nice evening, though, and I’ll see you next week.”
Several weeks later I made a similar assumption, the opposite direction, but sharing the story with wife of one of the coaches. She said that while she’s sure my son is nice enough, she would NEVER allow her daughter to even kiss, much less marry, someone who “ain’t white”. Color me shocked! But that’s okay, because I hear their fabulous kiddo dropped out of college and is still living at home. Poor Chelsea, doomed to follow in her mother’s footsteps, trapped in a part of the country which locals to Dayton refer to as “Hamil-tucky”. (Note: Hamilton is kind of an out-crop of Cincinnati, which is just north of Kentucky. This joke makes much better sense when you understand local geography.)
Anyway, with assholes like THAT, the blacks and Mexicans don’t have to do a fucking thing to bring anyone down; it’s already been “brought” and folks of color didn’t have to do a darn thing to help make it happen. Immigrants don’t stand a chance here.
their unhappiness with immigrants
and let my son know where he stands among whites.
When we first moved to this quaint, sweet village, it was to start a new life in the safe, small town in which my hubz had grown up. He is like me, an elephant among sheep, not fitting in, although he has me beat because at least he tried — dude was a Boy Scout until high school! So cute. Except for their anti-gay stance, with which he strenuously disagrees, in case there was any question. I’ll not be married to a homophobe, thank you very much!
My son was about to begin his 9th grade year, and hadn’t yet gained the confidence he now exudes as a young adult embarking on his first year of college. He was timid, unsure of himself, and a bit shy. Plus? Half-Hispanic. Being white, and not yet quite as angry as I’ve come to be known in the past several years, it didn’t even occur to me to be worried. After all, I’ve never been a racial minority, so why would it strike me that my son was on his way to cultural hazing?
Yep, that’s what happened. He tried out for football, and the mega-white movement of football-loving males let him know under no uncertain terms where he fits in. Letters to the local news outlets were ignored, but the school board was eager to make amends. Five years later, however, while my son has proven himself an excellent athlete by qualifying to compete on the state level in wrestling — yeah, he’s THAT fucking good, thank you very much — I still have few local confidants, and his friends still lovingly tease him about his rambunctious mother.
Here’s my issue. Once the immediate shock wore off, I realized that the young boys weren’t really to blame — I mean yes, but not OVERLY so — because obviously they’d learned that attitude from their parents. And it struck me like a blow to the gut that the parents were the people of this town.
My husband had a difficult time with it in particular. He’d grown up being a misfit in terms of religion and politics, but that’s stuff you can keep to yourself. Now, here was racism being flaunted before his very eyes by the same grown-ups he’d known since childhood. How does one reconcile that? His brother found it even more difficult to find sympathy with our plight — “These are generally good people,” he said to me on more than one occasion. “You can’t hold it against them,” he insisted.
But yes. Yes, I can. And yes, I do. They are adults and they are not only behaving badly, they are teaching their children to do so as well, and the end result is that people are being mistreated, or at the least, being excluded. That’s a problem. And you know how I feel about problems? I feel feel that we need to throw them all on the table and view them in the light of day. Nothing’s going to get solved by excusing behavior as a mild personality flaw.
You know, with neighbors like that, it’s obvious I’ll never have any local friends. I find I’m more sad for them in their ignorance than for myself in my lonely entrapment.
Please move to Farmersville so I can have some local friends.
The worst, though, came from my ex’s mother. She not only defended the the nasty behavior toward her grandson, she told him he ought to just get used to it. She told him she calls her husband a “spic” all the time, and that it wasn’t a big deal. She further called me out for raising this topic to a public level by throwing one of my “renowned tantrums”, accusing me of betraying my son’s trust and turning this into a social cause while ignoring his actual needs.
My own mom was appalled at the social issue. We disagree on an awful lot, but ill treatment of my son specifically, and racism in general, is something that binds our ties. Sometimes, though, my mom is doofy. During a family get-together I revealed that my son was pretty unhappy with how he had been treated, that he was currently in a funk, feeling down. Bad choice. My mom likes to “fix” things.
In an attempt to make him KNOW without a doubt how VERY “okay” she is with his skin color, my mom shouted across the dinner table, “Hey — I won’t call you ‘wetback’ if you don’t call me ‘whitey’!” His expression remained blank, while mine appeared incredulous. I mean, I didn’t even know “whitey” was really a “thing”, and I still haven’t heard anyone else use this term even several years after that incident. Which I know is completely beside the point. But still. “Whitey”? Really?
“Mom,” I said gently, “I don’t think that pointing out his difference in a ‘let’s pretend offensive slurs aren’t offensive’, mock-humorous manner is really going to make him feel better. Besides which, you were never at risk of being called ‘whitey’, while you’ve pointed out only one of several names he’s had to endure and will likely endure throughout his lifetime.”
You know, with family like that, it’s no wonder my son doesn’t really visit any of his grandparents very often. Immigrants are the least of our problems if we can’t even get our family members on board with acceptance.
Immigrants are just people who moved further from home than you did.
Which, if you still live in the same place you were born,
makes them less of a pussy than you are, in my book.
I’ve lived outside the continental US. Born in Germany, raised in Italy, and a citizen of several American states over the course of my lifetime, this makes for a lot of interesting sex. My vagina is the god damn U.N. of mixed-race relationships. I don’t give a shit what you look like. Turns out, stupidity comes in every shade, and is directly proportional to your education level and the size of your heart.
And by education, of course, I don’t mean how far you got in school. I know plenty of college graduates who are complete and utter failures when it comes to knowing right from wrong, or human decency from outright evil, or generosity of spirit from personal greed.
Okay, but I’m supposed to be talking about Immigrants, and all I’ve done thus far is discuss my personal issues with racism. But look. The two topics aren’t unrelated. Actually, it’s ALL interrelated. We can’t talk about embracing new people into this country if we aren’t even willing to embrace the people already here. And that’s the real problem, at its heart.
You aren’t really worried about my son, or people who look like him, stealing your job. It’s very likely that my son or people who look like him can’t get your job, anyway. Think about it. If your job is “all that”, someone who just crossed the border wouldn’t fucking qualify for it anyway. And if your job ISN’T “all that”, then what the fuck do you care who takes it? If you lose your dumb flipping-burger job, it won’t be due to an immigrant taking it off your hands. It’ll be due the fact that you slept in one too many times, or because you were rude to people, or because you were just generally a douche of some nature. TRUST. I’m a real bitch, and I’m here to tell you that it isn’t easy to get fired. You almost have to TRY.
And if you’re worried about your tax dollars being spent on their health care, you should consider two things:
(1) You’re an asshole because REALLY? You are worried about somebody with a broken arm or chicken pox or a stab wound taking money out of your pocket? Let’s put this in clear, personal terms — what you’re saying is that if someone standing in front of you got hit by a bus, you’d be more worried about who’s paying for the person’s medical costs than about saving a life. That says a lot about you, not any of it good, if that’s true. If this doesn’t describe you, AWESOME, but if the shoe fits… I hope you fucking choke on it, because that’s just mean.
(2) Your tax dollars are already being spent on their health care. Every time a person in physical duress hits the E.R., the hospital is required to save the patient’s life. Because, you know, THAT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO AND LETTING PEOPLE DIE IS ASSHOLE-ISH. How about let’s greet people with open arms and worry about the administrative bits as they arise. How about let’s stop acting like we aren’t all immigrants ourselves. Because you know, in case you forgot somewhere along the way, we’re pretty much all from those other continents NOT connected to the USA. Except for that handful that about got wiped out. But I’m not allowed to discuss the Native Americans in this piece because that would be another five pages.
Are you worried about immigrants taking the last of our limited resources? Guess what? Pier One will always be selling a vase to go with your stupid fancy-pants violin. You know — the violin that plays a tune of pity to go with all your whining. You aren’t really worried about resources. If you were, you would be a lot more active on the recycling front, and you wouldn’t rely so heavily on boxed dinners. I know there are individuals out there going organic — whole groups of them — and I commend you small few for being financially savvy enough to afford a better diet. But the truth is, boxed dinners and all that shizzle are mass produced and will never run out. There’s no way an influx of immigrants could empty our shelves of 99-cent TV-dinners. Don’t be silly.
Seriously, I don’t even know your reasons for saying, “No, you immigrants. GTFO!” I can’t fathom good enough reasons, or maybe I’m just not open to hearing them because all I can imagine is the look on a child’s face when he’s told, “You can stay, but your daddy has to leave because he doesn’t belong here.”
Watch the movie A Better Life and tell me that the ending was right in any way whatsoever.
It’s easy to talk about entire groups of people. It’s more difficult to break it down to one individual; one single person; one kid. Do the hard work. Put a face to the crowd your trying to push out. Walk up to an immigrant today and say, straight to his or her face,“I don’t want you here because…” Then lean down further and explain it in smaller words to their child. I dare you. If you can do this, you’re the one who ought to be shipped out.
AtoZ August 2012 — A Month of Controversy
Throughout the money of August 2012, my dear friend Aaron @dadblunders and I are doing a dry run of the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. This past April was my first official participation in such activity, and I had no idea what I was doing. No theme, no forethought, purely spur-of-the-moment. This time around, I have a plan. Join the fun!
For this event, I am engaging in a month of controversy. Consider yourself forewarned.