Monday, December 22, 2008
Unhuman for '09
While I've been on a tear about gay marriage, I've failed to keep it real on immigration, an issue that matters a lot to me. In the last few weeks there has been a wave of attacks on Latino immigrants in working class enclaves in the New York - is this an unfortunate turn of events or the harbinger of things to come as the economy continues to knee Americans where it hurts?
With all our vulnerabilities exposed in one of the shakiest times in the American experience - whether you're a Palm Beach doyenne or a Bushwick maintenance worker - one would be stupid to think that civility will reign supreme in the New Year. That's why I worry about how the dire predictions for our economy will impact those with the least recourse for defense in the U.S. Soon it will come to pass that college-educated aspiring professionals will compete with undocumented workers for all sorts of menial work that many of us didn't even know existed - just wait for the shoot outs at the bread lines.
Racial tension is an unfortunate part of America's history, and it's not going away because our new President is Black. And I don't think the attacks on these Latino immigrants are just a sad coincidence either. In fact, they're just the beginning of what I always knew would be the outcome of the thinly veiled xenophobia of the "immigration debate" led by the conservative right - an unprecedented economic slowdown being the spark that sets this problem ablaze.
Along with our plummeting dollar comes the threat of us losing our humanity in times of crisis. These "isolated" incidents speak to that and I fear more of these in the months ahead.