What the Hell is wrong with us?
A day doesn’t go by without someone, somewhere, making the national news with a racist act aimed at someone not Caucasian, and therefore, not “a real American.” Makes no difference what ethnic group you’re talking about.
Our own president, with more attention paid to his foul mutterings because of the office he temporarily holds, is the worst. Repeatedly calling immigrants - legal or otherwise - “animals” is his latest dip into the racist cesspool.
The other day, a guy in a New York restaurant told some Spanish-speaking customers to “speak English or get out” and threatened to call ICE if they didn’t. A woman in Ohio called the cops because a Black Realtor was prowling around a vacant house he wanted to buy and rehab. In Utah, a guy got out his rifle and stood on his front porch as a Black couple was shown a house for sale next door.
And on and on and on. Repeated public displays of outright racism. Kids of non-white families harassed and beaten on playgrounds because of their ethnicities. People in public, speaking languages other than English, being told to either “talk American” or leave with accompanying threats to call some arresting agency.
We’re destroying the old “melting pot” metaphor. And we’re doing it in the name of being “American” without regard and respect for the differences that have made us a better nation.
In many ways, the old “melting pot” claim has never seemed entirely correct to describe a nation as varied in different races and cultures as we’ve become. The fact is, from early settlers to now, people of like nationalities and cultures have pretty much kept to their own. We have Black communities, Scandinavian communities, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, etc.. Nothing wrong with that, for most purposes.
But, we’ve further divided ourselves adding exclusively Black or Hispanic or other cultures radio, TV, newspapers and other means of racial and/or ethnic communication. In some ways, we’ve created dual societies for different races and backgrounds while allowing cultural separateness. We may “melt” in the workplace - most of the time - but we’ve also encouraged divisions in the rest of our lives.
We live in an area with a very large Hispanic population. While there’s been a lot of assimilating, they still live on the fringes for the most part. But, the fact is, if they suddenly left, this area would be the poorer for it and the local economies would suffer greatly.
I get angry when I hear someone say immigrants are taking our jobs. I can tell you from personal experience that’s a lie. The value of the work most immigrants do is vastly underrated.
It’s ironic to hear loud demands for continued, unfettered immigration coming from farmers/ranchers everywhere these days. Crops are dying in the fields. Fruit is rotting on trees and vines. Work - necessary work - is not getting done. Seems American workers - “real American” workers - aren’t stepping forward to shoulder that work. The “job stealing” claim has always been a lie.
The largest current societal race issue we face is not coming from the immigrant population. It’s coming from us. It’s coming from seemingly otherwise good people being swept up in this phony “ship-‘em-back-where-they-came-from” B.S. being acted out across our nation. And much of that is being led and urged on by our racist president and those around him.
What’s being tested here is not whether can we accept and assimilate more from other nations. The test is of our national will to welcome and encourage those who've come to participate in a country they still see as a worthy example of freedom and opportunity. And, in some cases, at proven personal risk to their lives getting here.
The test is for those of us who see value in national diversity and acceptance to silence the bigotry and outrageous abuse that seems to have become commonplace.
Silence it - clear up to the White House.