Thursday, January 18, 2007


This whole debate on immigration is driving me nuts. Xenophobia running rampant, in the guise of "protect our jobs" or "protect our children" or "protect our streets". And these racists are actually being taken seriously. We worry so much about offending African-Americans or homosexuals, and we treat anyone that speaks Spanish as a first language (or looks like they might speak Spanish) like dirt.
Let's face it. Mexico and the rest of Latin America aren't exactly first world. People there have trouble finding decent jobs (like janitor, gardener, construction worker, fast food grunt) that they come here to do those same jobs so that they can feed their families. They're not exactly taking the best jobs when they come here. They find themselves in a foreign environment, where most people don't speak their language. They can't communicate with the clerks at the grocery stores or with their children's teachers. They work hard and make very little money. They do the jobs most others in America refuse to do. They don't take American's jobs. At least not the jobs that any American with half a brain and any kind of work ethic has.
I lived in Europe and saw how racist they were. I thought America was better than that. Now I'm beginning to think we're worse. For some reason, immigration brings out the worst in otherwise decent people.
All of our ancestors were at one point immigrants, many of them illegal. My great-grandfather was German during both the World Wars, and had to deal with racism as he strove to raise a family in the U.S. Many of my ancestors settled in Utah, at that time a part of Mexico, without permission from the country of Mexico. They, like Latinos today, had good reason for their move. Let's not persecute them for doing what our ancestors did.
We need these people. We need them cleaning our streets and hospitals (like a friend of mine in Europe--he'd been an engineer in Russia before he came to Germany for a better life). My neighbors pack their families into tiny one and two-bed apartments so they can live a better life. They're good neighbors. Friendly. Hard-working. Mexican. Let's stop the racism, and help our neighbors become Americans.

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