Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Response to "Anonymous." I'll try to be nice, but I'm not making any promises.

"As I stated before, I find the idea of a person being illegal for not being born on a particular plot of land to be anti-human. And laws such as this one invariably promote division amongst people and fail to resolve the real underlying issue." --CG, from change.org, regarding SB1070.

I decided to make this a full post instead of just a comment, because I get the feeling that this will be quite long. This is a response to "Anonymous," who left a comment on my Memorial Day post. I know that the people who actually read any of this know perfectly well who "Anonymous" is, as well as all that's been going on lately, so I'm not going to bother with details. Also, before I start, I want to point out that people are not illegal, actions are made illegal by the imposition of laws. Alright, so here we go:

(Sigh) Something tells me I messed up my Facebook settings again... So let's see if I can do this without being a total bitch... (I assure you, the more I edit this, the more I fail at not being mean... So I'll try to be mature about this.)

Aside from the fact that my comments about "illegal immigrants" was about the racist sport of hunting them down like animals when they had done nothing wrong except exist in a country where we pretend that they have less of a right to be here than anyone else, I never said anything about private property (as everyone has a right to protect their home) nor did I make this a personal issue or attack as you so did me, so your rude, judgmental attitude is most unwelcome here. However in the fairness of free speech, you may have your say, and I mine.

So you're going to make the argument that because you've had squatters in your backyard that I couldn't possibly know what I'm talking about or have an opinion? So you think that I've never interacted with illegal immigrants, talked to them, learned about them and why they're here, and because you have to get the cops to come chase a few lazy, drunk squatters off of your family's property you suddenly know all there is to know about illegal immigrants? Sorry, but I'm not buying it. Please stop with the rude emotional outbursts, as they're not really working in your favor. You've got a lot of people, including some conservative friends, shaking their heads, over this and over your previous healthcare comments as well. (I'm not even going to mention you contacting me when I thought I had made it clear that it's not ok. We're adults now, and although you've proven yourself to behave quite immaturely, I can try to be relatively civil.) However I do wonder why for someone so against "socialism," or whatever you believe socialism is, you don't seem to have a problem with using taxpayer funded police officers to protect your private property...?

Anyway, I understand that you're upset, and I know how this has affected you over the years, and believe me, I do (or did) care, but I honestly believe that you need to calm down, since your overly emotional attacks are unwarranted and I know you're better than that. And I don't think you understand me either (but I think we both already knew that a long time ago...). Open my eyes? I have. You haven't... And I only say that because in the time that I've known you, or known of you, you have always stayed focused on what is in front of you, from only your own very-emotional, egotistical point of view; and because of that, I can say for a fact that you have missed a lot of facts that were really obvious to the rest of us... This issue is so much bigger than your backyard or the Shoprite strip mall, so I'm sorry that you are unable to judge this situation from the bigger picture.

As for your comment - You are not the only one who has had to deal with situations like that, and you  are certainly NOT the only one with "illegal" immigrants on their front lawn  (aside from the people who used to help our lawn guy with our landscaping. They were wonderful...) as you seem to imply. I live next to a park, remember? I (stupidly) wander around by myself at night in foreign countries.  I spend far too much time in sketchy areas with drunken guys with weapons. I've never been mugged, but only because I was lucky enough to recognize the danger in the situation and get out just in time. I'm lucky enough to have not been shot for the same exact reason - I made it out and around the corner in time. Yes, as a matter of fact I have been scared by drunken men popping out of no where around my house or apartment or dorm rooms or even on campus, brandishing weapons or various body parts. A friend and I were pretty much sexually assaulted in Scotland outside of a pub. (And I was, around a quiet Philly club, where apparently guys think it's ok to do these things, even when you say no and push them away multiple times...) We're lucky a security guard decided to wander by, after another girl from our group disappeared that night. I've woken up to drunken homeless people wandering around in my back yard, peering through my windows. I've had my home and bedroom broken into, possibly while I was still inside according to the police. Ask me how I slept after that. I've had people seriously threaten to kill me in my sleep. Ask me how I slept after that. Have I had the Old Bridge cops running through my house and back yard every so often, searching for criminals and drunk people? Yes. Yes I have. But I'm also lucky to have lived next door to the local fire chief, before he died, and I'm lucky enough to have fencing and an alarm system and sword and even some gun skills.

There are a lot of reasons why people come here illegally, and I'd bet you all the money in my bank accounts that squatting on your property or in the woods isn't even in the top 1000. One of those reasons the fact that it costs too much and takes too long for some people. Not everyone has the luxury of time, or money, or safety. Not everyone can afford to have a comfortable home, warm food, and the safety of a loving family, especially in war-torn or gang-ridden areas.

As usual, your response is based on your own limited personal encounters with a small group of  "the same guys," which unfortunately is quite limited indeed. And as you probably would have guessed, I'm going to go back to psychology on this one. You cannot possibly base an entire opinion of an entire group on a small group of people with whom you've interacted or encountered. That type of generalization is exactly how stereotypes and racism, and really any type of -ism, begin and spread. Extending your hatred for the squatters behind your house to all Mexican immigrants is not only racist but sexist and narrow-minded. It's about the same as saying that because many terrorists are Muslims, that all Muslims are extremist terrorists and should be arrested and banned from the country. It's also about the same as saying that all drunken men are out to harass and/or rape whoever they can, and about as silly as that whole "take our country back" bullshit. So I encourage you to please look at this situation from a view outside of your backyard., and perhaps you will notice that not all Mexicans or immigrants are drunks and squatters who hang out in the woods waiting for some innocent woman to prey on. (I could go on about confirmation bias and outgroup homogeneity, but I have better thins to do with my time than drag this argument out longer than it needs to be. Which I guess I did anyway, instead of leaving it to "you're acting like an idiot" as one person suggested.) Yes, actually it IS that philosophical, if you take it out into the real world, outside of your yard. That whole "This land is your land, this land is my land" wasn't meant to be taken literally. You said- "Some have been caught before and they are in fact illegal immigrants from Mexico; it's not racist either." Ok, so you're saying that because those particular people were illegal immigrants from Mexico, legislation targeting immigrants "in general" but primarily affects Hispanic people regardless of actual citizenship status isn't racist? Or the fact that because these people were in fact illegal immigrants from Mexico, it's not racist to complain about all illegal immigrants from Mexico in general being drunken squatters out to harass and rape you? Sorry, but I really don't see where you were going with that. Yes, those particular people do not belong on your land, and you have every right to make them leave, but that's no reason to demonize an entire group over it. You said it yourself, it's the same guys every time. Clearly, there's a problem with those same guys, not illegal immigrants from Mexico in general.

This isn't about taking sides. The whole in-group/out-group us vs. them mentality is rather childish and immature, IMO, especially regarding this situation. Your family immigrated here too, from Poland, didn't they? They, like many of the current immigrants, purchased land or a house and found work. You should know just as well as I do what it's like to be judged, stereotyped, and put down just because of your ethnicity or race. I know we've talked about that before. Your land is just that, the plot of land your family owns, not public land. Why should I care if they are on PUBLIC property?? Your land is not this entire country, which technically as a whole is considered public property. This "land" we call the United States is not the same type of ownership as your family's. A country is not the same as a house, or a backyard. We are a collective, made up of immigrants and native peoples, living on land stolen from natives and other groups, including the Mexicans. You have a right to keep people off of your family's land, but you have no right to tell people that they can't come into this country. Technically, none of us do. I do believe that we should have border security (hint hint.), simply because the times call for it and we should be able to live without fear, but that doesn't mean I can or should condone people complaining that everyone else in the world is dangerous and that the only way to protect themselves from the evil outsiders is to round them up and demonize them.

If you had read any further back, you would have known that I have been quite hesitant to call the actual Arizona bill racist, but said that it has implications for racial profiling and encouraging racist attitudes and actions, even with the revisions. (Not to mention that it's been done before, and it was considered horrifically racist back then, when racism was still allowed to be overt and and publicly institutionalized.) And you said it yourself- the majority of immigrants in that area are likely Mexican. The racism portion of this comes into play when the majority of people who are stopped and arrested due to this legislation are chosen because of how they look, because they're Hispanic, regardless of whether or not they are actually Mexican, or even whether or not they are citizens. Hispanic, American-born citizens have been harassed, arrested, and even deported already thanks to this law and previous legislature in Arizona, so it's impossible to say this won't affect legal citizens. Blond-haired blue eyed Swedes are not likely to be stopped. Canadians aren't going to be stopped. The undercurrent of social thought is that this bill will be primarily targeting Hispanics and Latinos, as they are considered to be the primary "threat."

It would seem that over the years it's like I've become your own personal therapist, so I apologize if it annoys you as much as it annoys me. But please, as someone who used to call herself your best friend, seriously... There are a lot of things you probably still haven't noticed about yourself, but you seriously have a lot of issues that you need to deal with, including getting out of your little "bubble of me." It's REALLY annoying and (as a good friend has also noticed) has completely exhausted my patience. I've put up with a lot from you over all of this time, and you've said a lot of really rude, racist, and hurtful things to my family and my friends, and I'm seriously done. Please, do us both a favor and just go. Whoops, I guess I slipped and said how I really feel.

It's times like this when I can truly appreciate the cultural and ethnic diversity of my home and family. Tonight, we're making homemade empanadas. Sometimes we make Chinese, sometimes Italian, sometimes my mother's childhood Indian and Guyanese favorites... And not only the food, but the meanings behind it, and embracing differences, are a part of who we are. We were taught to always appreciate and judge only by character and actions, not where someone comes from or how they or their family got here. Many of the "illegal immigrants" I've met and known are the (not some of, but THE) kindest and hardest working people I know, and are so much more than their legal status. And they deserved to be judged for who they are as human beings and not by the racist stereotypes and over-generalizations of the American right-wing... So what good am I doing? What I can. Reaching out. Speaking out. Informing, mobilizing, discussing, donating, writing, joining and sharing. Accepting, and loving, and learning. What are you doing, other than hating and tea parties? (Hmm, that seems just a bit redundant...) Live and let live. I won't bother you if you won't bother me.

P.S. - And I should care because...? I'm serious too. And it's not your land, it belongs to your grandmother and parents. But have fun with your dirt anyway. I'm not the one who needs to shut the fuck up here, as  I'm not the troll here. This is my blog and you don't have to read it if you don't want to. Whoops, slipped again.


D.A.K. said...

I don't care if you put your name on this, I just want you to leave me the fuck alone. And I haven't a clue where you got the idea that I find American flags offensive. But then again, what do you really know about me or how I think... It's not about hearing or not hearing what you have to say. I don't care what I have to say to get you to leave me alone. Just go.

D.A.K. said...

Ok, fine, I'll read what you said. Mexican is not a race (and my point was also apparently lost on you...), this is NOT about you not being able to keep a boyfriend or whatever you think it is, you clearly completely missed what I was talking about with the police, & yea, you really don't know me at all, and it's very apparent that you really haven't read or heard a word I've said since freshman year of high school... You are very much mistaken about what I believe. You can stop pretending you know anything about me, because clearly what you think you know is wrong... And you know what, maybe that's mutual. But again-- You can tell your family thank you for everything, and they are wonderful people, but I think it's time we finally go our separate ways.