A Letter to Tea Partiers and Your Anti-Racist Moment

boston herald mass. cracks down on illegalsDear 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.

john-delloro.gifAfter 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),

John Delloro

US-born citizen who is still trying to find his birth certificate


  1. harry says

    Let me see, you raised a lot of issues, some of which are true and some are not. Being a racist is doing something due to a skin color. I can not remember doing something because of a skin color. When I went to the beach with blacks, I did it because they were friends and we all got sun burnt together. When I gave a black a ride from Maryland to Texas, I did not do it because he was black, but because he was a friend. As that happened in 1960, I had some trouble because he was black. I pulled up beside a texas state police car to ask directions and had a little trouble staying out of jail when they found out I had transported a black across state lines. Have you ever been arrested for such a thing? Have you ever been to the beach with a multi-race group? I feel your perceptions are being driven by ideas instead of facts. This tends to prevent clear vision as to what is really going on in the world. You perceive people to be racist when they are not. In fact, you need the tea party folks to be racist in order for your perceptions to work. There is a slight chance that it is you who is a racist, you do not like the tea people positions on things so you call them a racist. I haved in many places in Asia and Europe and they treat all races as people, you should try it. It is sad that you have not yet lived a full life and I hope things work out for the best in coming years.

    • John Delloro says

      harry, it is possible for someone to not have prejudice and commit a racist act. racism is about maintaining an institutionalized racial hierarchy. if someone supports racial profiling, that is maintaining racism.

      fact: SB1070 allows police authorities to pull over someone for “looking illegal”

      fact: SB1070 criminalizes a non-citizen permanent resident if he or she does not carry proper documents

      fact: SB1070 allows any citizen to sue police authorities if they think the officer is not enforcing sb1070

      fact: the question remains: what does an “illegal” look like? what does an immigrant look like? what does a citizen look like?

      fact: people do think “latino” if they hear “illegal alien.” this doesn’t automatically make the person bad. it is simple psychology 101 that our brains process with a thin slices of information and utilize schemas to make quick judgements.

      fact: the boston herald front page is only one example of this schema in play when someone says “illegal.” irish are the largest undocumented immigrant population in Northeast but one of the major dailies does not show a single white face (only faces of color–thus reinforcing the schema)

      fact: one of the main principles of Tea Party folks is opposition to “big government”

      fact: if they support SB1070, they are going against this principle since SB1070 gives more power to government.

      assumption based on precedent: very rarely someone will suspect someone white as undocumented in Arizona

      personal observation: your comments seem to be driven by ideas instead of facts because i listed these same facts in my essay as my foundation.

      I have been a union organizer for over 12 years and have organized people of all races, including some whites who were racist, in various parts of this nation (don’t let my youthful appearance fool you). if you have been to all those places in Asia and Europe, as I have as well, you do know that they all have race issues as well. I have been to a beach with multi-racial friends and I have not been arrested for driving someone black but I have been questioned about my immigration status and had white neighbors call the police on me. I have had the klan sans hood show up at my door when I did some organizing in the South.
      harry, i hate to tell you but racism still exists. i’m glad that you have not had to experience recently. unfortunately, not all of us are as lucky as you

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