Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ya Basta!

I found this commentary by Miami Herald Journalist Andres Oppenheimer to be not only illustrative, but also a bit worrisome. Why? Because Andres Oppenheimer is not usually a "fight-back" kind of guy when it comes to ethnicity-based social movement. The fact that he feels alienated to such a degree really drives the point home that the damage done by the recent immigration legislation debate and the animosities towards Latinos that it has unleashed are very real and very problematic for our civil society. Here's how he concludes his piece:

My opinion: The National Council of La Raza and its sister institutions are doing the right thing with their "Ya es hora!" citizenship drive. But they should also launch a nationwide "Ya basta!" campaign to identify, name and shame those who systematically bash Hispanics.

If anti-Hispanic sentiment is allowed to keep growing, we will soon have an underclass of 12 million immigrants that will feel not only frustrated by not having a legal path to citizenship but increasingly insulted by the mainstream media.

And social exclusion mixed with frustration can be a dangerous cocktail, as we've seen in the violent 2005 riots by Muslim youths in the suburbs of Paris.

The time for Hispanics to say "Ya basta!" is now, before it's too late.
Now there are some who would take issue with Oppenheimer and say the real motivation behind opposition to the immigration legislation debate is about illegality and not about ethnicity. But it's hard to swallow this when you have anti-comprehensive immigration reform folks who let their shields down and describe any vote for such reforms as a vote for "Mexico" as opposed to a vote for comprehensive immigration reform. Such descriptions belie the fact that what motivates the anti crowd is not only an anti-illegal immigrant position, but an anti-illegal Mexican (or Latino) immigrant position. If the point were really and truly border security and control from ALL illegal migrants, why single out Mexico in such a way?

Personally, I think Oppenheimer's reaction gets more at the underlying anti-Latino sentiment behind the entire anti-illegal immigration movement. And, from what I've been able to observe, I think he's probably right.

1 comment:

Schroeder said...

Ya der hey you best be watchin' out fer dem Canuks comin' 'cross da border from da nort.

Naw, just kiddin' -- they don't wanna come here. If we aren't a little more wise about the future, those Canuks will be passing immigration reform to keep out their neighbors immediately to the south.