Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"Think as I think,"

"Think as I think," said a man,
"Or you are abominably wicked;You are a toad."
And after I had thought of it, I said,
"I will, then, be a toad."
Stephen Crane

I was reminded of this poem reading Rev. Sinkford's statement on Immigration Reform. http://www.uua.org/president/060413_immigration.html Once again, we have the demonization of the other side: those who agree with him are "people of conscience", and are "called to acknowledge that racism has blinded most Americans." He likens it to slavery- in the same paragraph he mentions his ancestors being brought here in bondage, and says, ".America has, once again, created a permanent underclass."

I say that to people of conscience, this language is intolerable. He knows full well that the reason they “...are refused the dignity and civil protections that come with citizenship.” is that they here illegally; in the first paragraph, he acknowledges that it is illegal immigration that we are speaking of. He confirms that in the last paragraph when he sends his thoughts and prayers to the elected legislators who are struggling to revise immigration law. Call for the law to be changed, by all means- he might even find that “most Americans” want reforms made. But to call most Americans (oh, by the way, Rev Sinkford- Mexicans are also Americans; you should say U.S. Citizens) racists, oppressors, and liken them to slave traders is the kind of language that stops civil discussions from occurring- why would anyone listens to someone who sounds like he hates them?
I’d have hoped that if he were just boiling over with righteous anger, he might have reserved some for the Mexican government, might have called for them to end the corruption and oppression that has 46% of their own citizens saying they’d leave for the U.S. if they could. How about calling for some of the Mexican oil wealth to be spent on the Mexican people, rather than the ruling oligarchy? Oh, wait- that would mean being judgmental; I guess only a toad like myself would think of that.

4 comments:

Nando said...

Wow. Finally someone who gets it. I am someone with Mexican background, and I still have relatives in the old country. The corruption is everywhere. It is bad. The root of the problem is the Mexican Goverment. The police stops you everywhere for a bribe. I wish more people call on this.
And great call on Rev. Sinkford's statments.

Kritoke said...

The language being used in situtions like this alienates more than it unites people. I think the laws should be enacted to help facilitate easier immigration, but these folks are here illegally, so they should be treated as such. I would think the US could do more to force Mexico to enact reforms, but people do like to blame it all on institutionalize oppression. I think if we had less belief in this institutional oppression, the "oppressed" would have the confidence to lift themselves out of this "oppression." I once again commend you on the call on Rev. Sinkford's word usage.

Matthew (A Classical Liberal UU Struggling in a World of Liberal UUs)

Anonymous said...

(1) Yes, there is corruption in the Mexican government and severe poverty in the Mexican economy. Addressing these issues would reduce the pressure to immigrate to the US.

(2) However, the problem isn't just the economic conditions in Mexico. There's a great demand within our economy for cheap labor and the products of cheap labor. Eric Schlosser's book Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market talks about how our economy uses cheap labor using strawberry production as an example here. I think that Sinkford's letter was addressing that aspect of the problem.

(3) The current borders that exist were not created by God but rather result from 19th century manifest destiny. Folks from Mexico have always lived in what is now the Southwestern US. If they're crossing a border, remember it's a border that we created.

(4) Finally, saying that one is influenced by racism as a cultural or economic pressure isn't the same as saying that one is a "racist" in a personal sense. I think you're reading too much into Rev. Sinkford's letter.

Joel Monka said...

Steve, as you have responded both here and in CC’s blog, I shall do likewise.

Steve, you said “(2) However, the problem isn't just the economic conditions in Mexico. There's a great demand within our economy for cheap labor and the products of cheap labor. Eric Schlosser's book Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market talks about how our economy uses cheap labor using strawberry production as an example here. I think that Sinkford's letter was addressing that aspect of the problem.” What utter nonsense. Only in America can someone say something as obvious as “people want cheap products”, and therefore be a published author and quoted expert. Here’s some more startling news: everybody in every country in all of history since the invention of money wants cheaper products. There is very little public demand that we pay more for the things we buy. Never once in my life have I demanded to see the manager of my local store and said “I refuse to pay so little for this product- I demand that you charge more!” The fact that people don’t want to pay any more than they have to for their products is *NOT* an “aspect of the problem.”; it’s the perfectly natural response of a rational person. If Mexicans were offered cheaper products, they’d take them.

The problem *IS* the economic conditions in Mexico. Are you stating for the record that even if there were jobs in Mexico, 46% of it’s citizens would still rather come here?

“(3) The current borders that exist were not created by God but rather result from 19th century manifest destiny. Folks from Mexico have always lived in what is now the Southwestern US. If they're crossing a border, remember it's a border that we created.” More utter nonsense. Exactly *WHICH* “Folks from Mexico” are you referring to? The French? The Spanish? I suspect you mean “The Native Americans”- which still makes it utter nonsense. Exactly *WHICH* “Native Americans” are you referring to, white man? There were over five hundred different Indian nations, many of whom had empires and fought bitter border wars- and in the Southwest more than average! Native American nations did NOT wander as they listeth. Here in Indiana, for example, the Kickapoo were driven out by the Iroquois, (primarily the Seneca), although the Delaware received permission from the Miami(my folk) and Piankashaw about 1770 to occupy that part of Indiana between the Ohio and White Rivers, where at one period they had six villages... but they would have joined forces with the Chippewa, Erie, and Illinois to drive out the thousands of Mexicans currently flooding into the area. Were all those borders “created by God”?

P.S. You might want to try that line about the borders with the Mexican government- they defend their southern borders from still poorer illegal immigrants with helicopters and machine guns.

“(4) Finally, saying that one is influenced by racism as a cultural or economic pressure isn't the same as saying that one is a "racist" in a personal sense. I think you're reading too much into Rev. Sinkford's letter.” Tell me, how is it possible for me to be blinded by racism in any but a personal sense? When I am told that to be whole, I must acknowledge that my life of privilege is supported by people who suffer, just how am I supposed to take that? When he likens it to the days of slavery- even though the current “oppressed” fight to get here and stay here- how am I supposed to take it? Did he just mention slavery in passing just as a lark, and not intend to raise images of the auction block and the whip?