Sunday, November 7, 2010
Immigration......"They are taking over!!" Really people?!
On yesterday, I decided to take myself out to some of the Smithsonians to get lost in the art and history held within the walls of these museums. It had been quite a while since I’d spent the day in solitude absorbing the historical and informative energy from these artistic works, so quite naturally, I was very excited! My first stop was to a new exhibit, The Kinsey Collection at the American History Museum, which is comprised of diverse artifacts, like paintings, slave diaries, and insurance claims on slaves from last 400 years. As I entered the exhibit, I was thrilled to be a part of this dichotomous space, where the past and present intersect. Just beginning my personal tour with an intense gaze and study of the pieces, I was approached by an older African-American female security guard who was giving me some information about the Kinsey Collection and upcoming exhibits. We chatted for a bit [I always end up talking to someone anywhere I go] about the importance of the collection and educating the community on our extensive history. All of a sudden, the conversation took a very uncomfortable, but unfortunately familiar turn; the guard talked about how we (meaning African-Americans) need to have our history in museums, but “the Mexicans and Latinos, they are the ones taking over.” “I’m glad that we (meaning the United States) are closing the boarders, ‘cause they are taking all of the jobs!” All I could think was “OH LORD, HERE WE GO!!!” Being who I am, I simply COULD NOT let this truly teachable moment slip away without me correcting her. I immediately said to her, “Now hold on! Let’s just be real, the ORIGINAL people of this land [meaning those that were here LONG BEFORE Columbus and the other forced European expatriates containing criminals, prostitutes, and terrorists landed on present-day America] are those of direct Native American ancestry and African roots…[I’ll come back to this point later as I’m sure many readers are quite ready to refute this statement!] are the present-day Mexicans and other groups of Latino descent.” I continued to tell her that THESE groups are the true natives and rulers of this land and that our corrupt and racist government needs to acknowledge that and turn this land over to its original owners. Of course she looked at me like I was insane, but she also has this smile on her face and look in her eye like “could that be true?” and “I’ve never heard THAT before!”At that moment, I knew deep down inside that I could not escape the emotions that became stirred-up in me and that this would be my next blog topic!
Immigration, like many other topics, such as Pro-Choice/Pro-Life, has always been one of great controversy. Since the massive voluntary influx of people from various European countries to the US during the early 1900s, in addition to the forced uprooting of Africans from their land and displacement of indigenous Americans centuries before, there was [and still is] this constant desire to document where people derive from. Some people may ask the question “Why?” to the above statement and the answer is this: the goal is to ultimately categorize or group people to consequently develop socio-economic policies, [whether official or merely strongly suggested] to either uplift or subjugate the respective groups. Presently, immigration in the United States is one of the hot topics of the day, invading spaces at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as in more private or personal spaces, given my conversation on yesterday! (SMH) Let’s take the case in Arizona regarding “illegal immigration”: in April of this year, virtually every news-based medium publicized the highly racist and might I add blatantly ignorant comments from Brian Bilbray, GOP Rep. on the issue. He believes that the way to quell the excessive numbers of “illegal immigrants” in this country is through their “trained professionals” who “can spot illegal immigrants by the way they dress, from their shoes, attire, but mostly behavior.” When hearing these words uttered and actually realizing that this kind of person is in a position of political power and influence, it’s like being transported back to Germany circa 1933! Additionally, Arizona’s governor, Jan Brewer, an obvious proponent of the stringent law, brought this xenophobic bill to life with the stroke of her pen; she did, however, find it in herself to make a verbal addendum stating that “she would work to ensure that police have proper training to carry out the law and that racial profiling would not tolerated”; “We have to trust our law enforcement.” Well now I just feel SOOOOO much more at ease with her assurance about this issue because we ALL know that it’s a completely foreign concept for law enforcement to racially profile people….right?!
The thing that really gets me……..I mean REALLY makes me enraged about the entire issue of immigration is that the people in positions of power [albeit completely undeserved] that develop and enforce these neo-Nazi and racial extermination policies ARE NOT THE ORIGINAL INHABITANTS OF THIS LAND and yet somehow are permitted to generate restrictions and regulations on citizenship and ration off pieces of land as though it were bread! Only in this racist, capitalist, and Eurocentric society could flagrant offenses such as this persist!
Taking you back now to the beginning of this entry, I stated that the diverse indigenous groups of the Americas and the Africans were the natives of this land. While many people acknowledge that Native Americans were indigenous to these lands, even though we somehow continue to have Columbus day, our society NEVER recognizes the presence of Africans in ancient/Pre-Columbian America. Great and distinguished scholars, such as Ivan Van Sertima in They Came Before Columbus and Lerone Bennett in Before the Mayflower, have thoroughly explored the historical footprints of Africans from the empires of Mali, Egypt, and Nubia throughout all of the ancient Americas; while there are endless documents and other historical references supporting this fact, this data is consistently excluded from the halls of academia, schools, and museums. Why is it that our global society can, for the most part, acknowledge that Africa is the birthplace of all civilizations, but then in the same breath deny the African presence in ancient America? The answer to this question dear reader is also the answer to why there still remains this ideological Nazism regarding immigration, specifically related to those of Native American ancestry. Therefore, it is no shock that the two native groups of this land are also the most oppressed in every area of life. [Please believe that this is not the result of happenstance, but by design.]
Additionally, what saddens me probably the most is when my own people and others from historically subjugated groups utter racially venomous phrases like those expressed from the security guard at the Smithsonian, highlighting the mental enslavement that plagues those that have been the recipients of hegemony. The great theorist and educator Paulo Friere addresses this very issue of how the oppressed, once "emancipated", become the oppressor of other subjugated groups due to the internalization of malevolent ideologies. We MUST WAKE UP AND FREE OUR MINDS FROM THIS MENTAL IMPRISONMENT AND WESTERN NATIONALISM!!!!!!!!
I challenge our legislative systems, schools, churches, sources of media, inidividual families and political governing bodies to look deep inside and ask yourselves if the decisions that have been and are currently being created and enforced are morally sound and all-encompassing of the philosophies that this nation loves to pride itself on; this cultural rape and genocide of human beings is an absolute abomination and an abberant shift from the true concept of humanity! PLEASE WAKE UP!