Friday, May 20, 2005

We need a 1928 intervention

Vicente Fox is under fire for a statement he made that Mexican immigrants take jobs "that not even blacks want to do." My friend Matt, has a thoughtful write-up on his blog here. I had a little different take on the Fox's statement. I thought it was more of a shot at U.S. racism than anything and a hypocritical attempt to glorify working-class Mexicans even while he sells them up the river to the U.S.

Fox is an asshole. An A-S-S-H-O-L-E. He is so much of an asshole, that if I could think of a way to type it more emphatically, I sure would.

But I don't really like that particular condemnation of his statement because it sounds like the arguments of "blacks aren't oppressed in the country--look at Clarence Thomas! When you point to the suffering of 'blacks' you are grouping all blacks together."

Neither Fox nor I are the ones grouping African Americans together. That is already done by every single institution of this great nation. We need to point this out more, not less.

What Fox said is a true, sobering assessment of the racial hierarchy in the U.S. No matter what statistical framework you look at, those of African descent in the country ARE second-class citizens to whites. He made no value judgment on this fact. He never said anything like, "Blacks, who are biologically inferior to whites, won't even take those jobs." From the sound-bite I have heard, it sounded to me like he was observing a reality, not making a judgment.

What is scarier about his statement is that it reflects his satisfaction that he has continued to make conditions worse for working class Mexicans and is very pleased with their exploitation at the hands of rich American companies. Fox and Bush have worked hard to reinforce hateful policies that have thousands dying along the border, many times more with their human rights abused in undocumented workplaces, legal workers wages cut and their employers laughing all the way to the bank.


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