Wednesday, June 20, 2018

This is All Very Black and White

The artist and activist Bree Newsome wrote on Twitter today:
The issue of immigration in the United States is and always has been inherently racist. It’s an issue of a white colonialist state enacting policies designed to maintain a white majority that has only ever existed due to genocide and colonialism.
Every sovereign nation-state has borders, but the current immigration crisis isn’t about American sovereignty. It’s about racism. Full stop.

Every non-indigenous person in America was an immigrant here at some point, including, of course and very recently, Donald Trump’s family and his own third wife. But that doesn’t matter, because their skin is white.

Let it not be lost on us that the current family separation crisis impacts—nearly exclusively—brown families. If these were white families, we wouldn’t be having this conversation at all, because white babies would not be in internment in America, separated from their parents, with no guarantee of reunification.


And that is because America as a matter of policy and culture values white life over brown life. That is a fact. It’s not a secret and it’s not subject to debate. It’s true as a societal matter, it’s true on a microcosmic and macrocosmic scale. It doesn’t mean people with white skin don’t struggle or aren’t poor; it means that their skin color does not present an independent impediment to their lives or immediately devalue them in the eyes of society.

I’m acutely aware of my own “white-passing” privilege. I call myself white and I consider myself white, although many other white people don’t consider me to be white because I’m Jewish. But I have lived my entire life in America benefiting from white skin, and unlike other members of my family, was lucky enough not to be born in Eastern Europe in the 1930s.

Ask yourself this:

In an administration that employs open white nationalists, secured the white nationalist vote and earned the vocal support of the KKK, calls Nazis “very fine people,” and targets the “economic anxiety” of “working class whites” for its support and most insidious propaganda, do you really think the immigration debate is about anything more than racism toward poor brown people? The myths—the lies—that this population takes jobs, drains resources, or commits crimes at any greater rate than the native-born public is rooted in simple white supremacy.

This article in the FAILING NEW YORK TIMES gives a good breakdown of immigration myths and global realities. Here’s an interesting snippet from it:
A study based on surveys in the United States and a variety of European countries by the economists Alberto Alesina, Armando Miano and Stefanie Stantcheva found that people across the board vastly overstate their immigrant populations. The overestimates are largest among particular groups: the least educated, workers in low-skill occupations with lots of immigrants, and those on the political right. They overstate the share of immigrants who are Muslim and understate the share of Christians. They underestimate immigrants’ education and overestimate both their poverty rate and their dependence on welfare. Almost a quarter of French respondents, as well as nearly one in five Swedes and about one in seven Americans, think the average immigrant gets twice as much government aid as native residents do. In no country is this true.
But in all of these countries, it’s true that whiteness retains primacy and supremacy and is code for all that is good and right, while brown skin is meant to signal the opposite of these things. The world has limited resources and at least on a macro-global level, people with white skin have plundered way more than their share of those resources for centuries, at the expense of brown people’s lives and bodies, based on a sense of entitlement derived from their white skin.

It’s not at all surprising that they’re trying to retain the status quo.

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