Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Immigrants cause crime?

Blame Lou Dobbs. Or nativism. Or Dan Stein and his inexplicably mainstreamed hate-policy group, FAIR. Or the 24/7 news culture that somehow leaves us less informed and more afraid than ever before.

But these reports - shooting up everywhere, throwing impossible-to-verify data on the ground in retaliation against migrants - defy any and all logic whatsoever. Not just logic, but experience, and research to boot. I won't spend all day trying to gut the lying numbers, since they do not add up to reality and any quick research will point out that Dobbs and his racist friends* can't admit - they're lying racists who use irrational fear to bring people on the fence to their side. Well, some people on some fences...

It says something fundamentally ugly, however, about American tribal culture that we can so easily believe such unfounded, irrational and perverted lies about our fellow humans simply because THEY (immigrants) are not US (Real Americans).

This is my observation living amongst many cultures: It's not the migrant populations who tend towards violence.** Rather, it's those populations who have tried and failed to assimilate to American cultural norms - those who have looked deep into the heart of domestic imperialism - those who have seen the hard work, toil, sweat, and dropped blood of their parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins go for naught, but in fact repaid in viciousness, exploitation, burned crosses and ambush parties. These - the second and third and further generational Americans - are those who tend to resort to violence. They've learned from the United States what it means to be ugly.

And sometimes, sadly, they give in to the hopelessness.

Rather than hurting our migrant neighbors by repeating, reposting, accepting, or - often worse - ignoring those who tend to link violent crime with immigrants, we need to offer them and their children a path to hope.***

After all, isn't that what being an American is supposed to be all about?

*To counter the charges of xenophobia, Dobbs' supporters point to the fact that he has a Latina wife. But then I could make an illustration about the different meanings of "love" using goats, but I think I'd rather not...

**Actually, undocumented immigrants tend to become the victims of these crimes rather than perpetrators because their victimizers know that they are in constant fear of deportation and that the police often have their hands tied by laws that, in effect, do not favor much of their population.

In fact, we should also offer the Dobbses hope too, for as long as they continue to buy into the vicious lies, they continue to not only imprison the new Americans and darker-skinned people, but also themselves. One of us be chained, mofos, we ALL be chained.

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