Dear Tea Partiers and your supporters,
With the signing of Arizona’s SB1070, this is your chance to prove that you are not racists.
Signs declaring that you are not racist doesn’t cut it. Putting your friends or family members of color up for show only make you 21st Century caricatures of yourselves (It is as laughable as a white man proving he is not racist by showing off his Jackson 5 music collection while supporting racial segregation in the South during the 1960s). Neither does showcasing your spokespersons of color. For Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, we had S.I. Hayakawa in the 1960s who trumpeted that World War II Internment was a good thing for Japanese Americans (Sorry, I forgot one of your own stars Michelle Malkin also supports this view).
You have clearly stated your active opposition to Hitler-like and totalitarian regimes. The image of a uniformed officer saying, “show me your papers!” definitely has that oppressive stamp. A law that allows police the authority to demand papers from someone if they look like an “illegal immigrant” and criminalizes, fines, and possibly imprisons legal noncitizen residents if they don’t carry their documents on them has definite Gestapo overtures (Please, don’t bring up drivers licenses. Currently, police cannot pull you over if they think you don’t have one so it does not apply). This definitely smacks of “big government,” which you abhor. Do you really believe that an officer should be allowed to have this power even if they don’t use it? Would it be ok if there was a gun control law that enabled an officer without court order to search your house if you look like you may be a gun carrier?
Lets be frank with ourselves, no one white will be suspect. This issue has been clearly racialized. The front page of the Boston Herald on April 27, 2010, in the aftermath of SB1070, declared “Mass. Cracks down on Illegals” and showed a picture of three people of color with the following words stamped on their foreheads: a Latino with “No Tuition,” an Asian man with “No Medicaid” and a black woman with “No Welfare". The largest undocumented immigration population in the Northeast is Irish. If you are truly anti-racist, you cannot tell me that it is okay for an officer to demand papers from me because I may look “illegal”—code: “not white.” Unless the “birther” folks among your ranks have gained ascendance and now want to throw me and others with Obama and ask for all our birth certificates (For your information, I was born in the US and my tagalog is horrible and I still have people asking me when I immigrated here).
In the 1800s, an anti-racist opportunity presented itself for people of Irish descent in the US. In 1841, African American abolitionist Charles Lenox Remond returned from Ireland to the US with a letter written by Dublin abolitionists James Haughton and R.D. Webb and signed by over 60,000 Irish citizens that called upon the Irish in the US to support the abolition of slavery. “Treat the colored people as your equals, as brethren. By all your memories of Ireland, continue to love liberty—hate slavery—CLING BY THE ABOLITIONISTS- and in America, you will do honor to the name of Ireland!,” an excerpt of the letter reads. Unfortunately, in 1863, workers of Irish descent did not heed the call and rioted in New York and blamed and beat up the “rich” and African slaves for their conditions.
Or do you really support “big government” when it affects the “other?”
If you will not heed the 21st Century version of the Irish abolitionist clarion call, then lets be honest about the true contours of your vision for this country. Patrick Buchanan, who I assume you herald since he wrote the speeches of your icon Ronald Reagan and espouses similar messages to your own, wrote a New York Times bestseller entitled, The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization. He warns that the decline of white births and increased migration of Asian, Latin American, and African people into the US will lead to the twilight of the West. Socialism in Europe and feminism in the US has discentivized white families from having more children and immigrants come in to make up for this loss of labor. Pat writes, “…no nation in history has gone through a demographic change of this magnitude in so short a time, and remained the same nation…Well, those students are going to find out, for they will spend their golden years in a Third World America.” He further cautions, “Not since the Black Death carried off a third of Europe in the fourteenth century has there been a graver threat to the survival of Western civilization.”
Arizona governor Jan Brewer cited crime and the protection of her people in Arizona as the main reason to sign SB1070. In the 1990s, the proponents of anti-immigrant measure Proposition 187 in California relayed the same argument when the mother of deceased Steve Woods declared that her son would be alive today if it wasn’t for “illegal immigrants.” They used his image in a number of their literature (They conveniently left out that her son and his friends attempted to run over a few Latino youth with a car and he died when one Latino youth threw an object in self-defense at the speeding impending vehicle). Regardless of your personal view of immigration, your lack of public rebuke of SB1070 reinforces the narrative weaved by Pat, Jan, and the leading proponents of proposition 187 in the 1990s—“non-white immigrants have come to threaten the security and sanctity of our civilization.”
Lets be honest about your vision of society and admit that you are more comfortable with a white nation so that we can have a real discussion. Just keep in mind these US Census Bureau projections: In 20 years, we will witness the last largest population of white people to retire in the nation and white deaths will outpace white births. In one generation, the nation will be majority people of color. In other words, it will be largely communities of color who will make decisions about your retirement security.
After anti-immigrant proposition 187 passed in California in the 1990s, Latinos later emerged as a huge voting force and wiped out from office those who supported this initiative.
Tea Partiers, the anti-racist choice is before you.
In Unity (if you want it),
US-born citizen who is still trying to find his birth certificate