There is a hidden issue in the debate about illegal immigration. A lot of good people are either unaware of it or ignore, but it is real. There is a really thread of racism against Latinos/Mexicans/Hispanics when it comes up. As long as I can remember, I have been able to see it. I am a Hispanic who has lived in Texas my entire life, I have seen it in my family and been the target of it.
Now Drumpf is leading in polls and winning primaries based on his views about illegal immigrants and his vow to ban Muslims from entering this country. His wife was on CNN saying that people should come here the “right way” the same way she did. What she failed to mention was that not everyone is sleeping with a millionaire who will pay for them to come here the “right way” the way she did.
Most of the people who risk their lives coming here are not rich, they are poor. That is why they want to come here and why they risk everything to get here. It’s not because they somehow think that putting their lives in danger is fun.
What Drumpf has unleashed with his hate speech is the very thing that I’ve been told time and time again is just my own imagination. Yet, story after story is coming out of Drumpf inspired chants to Hispanics about building walls. That is where we are. I am not surprised; I think that we have been here for a very long time, even if it became a hidden issue that was no longer out in the open.
My family and I have lived in one of the safest suburbs in the country outside of Austin, Texas for 7 ½ years. What I love the most about Austin is the diversity and how everyone seems to get along for the most part. I can go to the hood to get a breakfast taco and see people from all walks of life in there doing the same.
Here in the burbs there have been some heated discussions between me and people at my parish on the issue of immigration. I go to a Parish with a large Hispanic population. Those heated discussions have happened online, in person and have left me feeling as if there is a high percentage of Catholics who are more Republican than Catholic, but overall, I didn’t feel any kind of flat out racism here. Ever. My kids have never been faced with racism. In fact, they were just all starting to think that racism was over and that any mention of it was some kind of cop out by people who just played the race card. I have been telling my kids about what I saw growing up so they could understand that racism is real. They all just laughed because the idea of racism was so far out of their worldview it seemed like one of those “long ago” things.
On Saturday my son came face to face with it. It’s one thing to read about these things online, it’s a whole other thing to have your child come home telling you he witnessed it himself.
My son Gabe works at a pizza place in town. He was having a normal day at work when a Hispanic customer got in front of a white customer to pick up his order that was ready. The white guy got upset that the Hispanic man cut in line and in the exchange of words said “That is why I am voting for Drumpf!”. Little did he know that the kid taking his order who has light brown hair and blue eyes is half Hispanic. Why is he going to vote for Drumpf? So people won’t cut in line at the pizza place anymore? Or to send all brown people back to where they came from? What about those of us who aren’t brown? Can we stay Mr. Drumpf Voter? This kind of flat out racism is unacceptable in America 2016. My children should never have to hear some idiot make a blanket statement about how “we” don’t belong here. My grandparents and mom dealt with that stuff, I have dealt with it. I moved my kids here so that they wouldn’t ever have to.
Drumpf may have tapped into anger and racism and made it acceptable again, but the fact is that it had to already be there to be tapped in the first place. Now that we see this can we all stop pretending that all the talk about illegals and how they are destroying our country is not rooted in racism? There are plenty of people from all kinds of places who are having issues immigrating here but there isn’t the same kind of hateful language used about them, unless they are Muslim which is also just as big of a problem. There aren’t talks of building a wall between us and Canada. I have met a lot of Canadians, they are some of the nicest people but so are Mexicans. I have been told that when talking about illegal immigration people aren’t just talking about Mexicans, well, then why do Hispanics get taunted with “build the wall”?
His speech on banning Muslims is also rooted in prejudice that isn’t acceptable. It isn’t new to America though. If we are historically honest we know that racism and prejudice has plagued this country from its beginning. We can pretend that isn’t the case or we can face it, face that that beast has been let out again and do our very best to change it.
While I do blame Drumpf for his part in it, I blame the GOP as a whole even more. For years they have spoken in racially divisive ways that has allowed for someone like Drumpf to come along and do just what he is doing. Good people are confused about why Drumpf is leading because they had no idea. Now you do. What are we going to do about it? We can start by not voting for the man tomorrow. Don’t want people to say that the Republican Party is a party of rich white racists? Then don’t vote for the rich white racist.