Category Archives: Race

Mass deportation is system rooted in racism


And until we grasp how fear of the Other has been used to stroke fear and resentment, it’s a tragedy we’re liable to reenact again and again.

Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Associate Professor of  History and African-American Studies at the University of California–Los Angeles, gives us a look at this less-than-grand-old propensity in this essay for The Conversation, an academic journal written for the rest of us:

A rowdy segment of the American electorate is hell-bent on banning a specific group of immigrants from entering the United States. Thousands upon thousands of other people – citizens and immigrants, alike – oppose them, choosing to go to court rather than fulfill the electorate’s narrow vision of what America should look like: white, middle-class and Christian.

Soon a series of U.S. Supreme Court rulings could grant unrestrained power to Congress and the president over immigration control. More than 50 million people could be deported. Countless others might be barred from entering. Most of them would be poor, nonwhite and non-Christian.

This may sound like wild speculation about what is to come in President Donald Trump’s America. It is not. It is the history of U.S. immigration control, which is the focus of my work in the books “Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol” and “City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles.”

Historically speaking, immigration control is one of the least constitutional and most racist realms of governance in U.S. law and life.

Made in the American West

The modern system of U.S. immigration control began in the 19th-century American West. Between the 1840s and 1880s, the United States government warred with indigenous peoples and Mexico to lay claim to the region. Droves of Anglo-American families soon followed, believing it was their Manifest Destiny to dominate land, law and life in the region.

But indigenous peoples never disappeared (see Standing Rock) and nonwhite migrants arrived (see the state of California). Chinese immigrants, in particular, arrived in large numbers during the 19th century. A travel writer who was popular at the time, Bayard Taylor, expressed the sentiment settlers felt toward Chinese immigrants in one of his books:

“The Chinese are, morally, the most debased people on the face of the earth… their touch is pollution… They should not be allowed to settle on our soil.”

When discriminatory laws and settler violence failed to expel them from the region, the settlers pounded Congress to develop a system of federal immigration control.

In response to their demands, Congress passed the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which prohibited Chinese laborers from entering the country for 10 years. The law focused on Chinese laborers, the single largest sector of the Chinese immigrant community. In 1884, Congress required all Chinese laborers admitted before the Exclusion Act was passed to secure a certificate of reentry if they wanted to leave and return. But, in 1888, Congress banned even those with certificates from reentering.

Illustration, ‘How John may dodge the exclusion act’ shows Uncle Sam’s boot kicking a Chinese immigrant off a dock. Library of Congress.

Illustration, ‘How John may dodge the exclusion act’ shows Uncle Sam’s boot kicking a Chinese immigrant off a dock. Library of Congress.

Then, when the Chinese Exclusion Act was set to expire in 1892, Congress passed the Geary Act, which again banned all Chinese laborers and required all Chinese immigrants to verify their lawful presence by registering with the federal government. The federal authorities were empowered by the law to find, imprison and deport all Chinese immigrants who failed to register by May 1893.

Together, these laws banned a nationally targeted population from entering the United States and invented the first system of mass deportation. Nothing quite like this had ever before been tried in the United States.

Chinese immigrants rebelled against the new laws. In 1888, a laborer named Chae Chan Ping was denied the right of return despite having a reentry certificate and was subsequently confined on a steamship. The Chinese immigrant community hired lawyers to fight his case. The lawyers argued the case up to the U.S. Supreme Court but lost when the court ruled that “the power of exclusion of foreigners [is an] incident of sovereignty belonging to the government of the United States” and “cannot be granted away or restrained on behalf of anyone.”

Simply put, Chae Chan Ping v. U.S. established that Congress and the president hold “absolute” and “unqualified” authority over immigrant entry and exclusion at U.S. borders.

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Quote of the day: Drawing lines in the sand


From Branko Marcetic of Jacobin, writing on the ouster of Milo Yiannopoulos from the speakers list of the American Conservative Union’s annual CPAC conference:

[T]things that will apparently get you disinvited from CPAC (after a number of years, anyway):

  • Appearing to defend pedophilia
  • Attacking other conservatives
  • Promoting a particularly conspiratorial form of Islamophobia

Things that won’t get you disinvited from CPAC:

  • Racism
  • Sexism
  • Islamophobia
  • Homophobia
  • Association with well-known racists and racist groups
  • Defending marital rape
  • Defending verbal abuse by a spouse
  • Advocating for war crimes
  • Calling for the murder of journalists

Intolerance II: A censored potent white racism talk


You would think the University wouldn’t censor a talk by Tim Wise, an outspoken, articulate, well-informed critique of white racism and its deep cultural and institutional roots in American culture.

On 25 January, the University of California–Santa Barbara Multicultural Center hosted An Evening with Tim Wise, A White Anti-racist Advocate.

It’s a powerfully informative talk, a rant [in the best sense of the term] revealing the Trump campaign’s skillful use of racism to mobilize his voters.

And in making his points, Wise employs the occasional shit, a fuck or two, and what we suspect is one instance of asshole.

The words are used in the best rhetorical tradition, as potent emphases.

But where the words were only a brief silence remains in the version posted online by University of California Television today [24 February].

How stupid.

But that hypocritically ironic flaw aside, do watch a very memorable talk.

From University of California Television:

An Evening with Tim Wise: A White Anti-Racist Advocate

Program notes:

Author and anti-racist activist Tim Wise speaks about the importance of being a white ally to communities of color, and how we can all work together to create a healthier community on campuses and in the world beyond. Wise spoke as part of UCSB’s Resilient Love in a Time of Hate series.

Spicer erupts in Holocaust Day TrumpUmbrage™


President Pussygrabber grabbed a lot of attention when he omitted any mention of Hitler’s genocide in his statement issued to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Now we’ve criticized Israel for using Hitler’s mass murder of Jews as a Get Out of Jail Free card whenever justly criticized for lang grabs and bloody “incursions” across borders.

We’ve also faulted media and pundits for ignoring the genocides of Roma and Sinti peoples, homosexuals, and others, and for failing to consider other genocides, including those of Native Americans and Armenians.

But no Holocaust Remembrance Day remarks should fail to mention that awful event that sparked the creation of the day.

Omission of the mention of Hitler’s genocide did draw praise from one quarter, earnng high marks from the Daily Stormer, the neo-Nazi webasite that now bills itself  “The World’s Most Goal-Oriented Republican Website.”

The paper’s name is the translation of Der Stürmer, the pornographic racist rag run by whip-toting bloodthirsty Hitler henchman Julius Streicher.

This is the first time in history the President of the United States has made no mention of Jews, anti-Semitism, or the science fiction Zionist folklore about ovens and gas chambers so prominent in (((Hollywood))) narratives.

[We’ll leave it to you to doing a search for the quote; we simply don’t feel like driving traffic their way.]

Otherwise,  Agent Orange has been buried in criticism and he doesn’t like it.

From the Independent:

The White House Press Secretary has attacked the Anne Frank Center for its negative statement about President Donald Trump’s disavowal of anti-Semitism.

Asked about the Center’s statement, Sean Spicer told reporters that the President “has been very forceful with the denunciation” of people who are racist or sexist.

“The President has made clear since the day he was elected and frankly through the campaign that he seeks to unite the country. He has brought a diverse range of people into this administration,” he said.

“It’s ironic that no matter how many times he talks about this, it’s never good enough.”

He added: “I wish that they [the Anne Frank Centre] had praised the President for his leadership in this area. And I think hopefully as time continues to go by, they will recognise his commitment to civil rights, to voting rights, to equality for all Americans.”

Trump a racist?

An anti-Semite?

A racist?

How ridiculous!

After all, he’s the guy who admits he “probably” said this:

“Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”

And sexist?

How can any man be sexist when he says things like this?

I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. . .Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

You go, Sean Spicer.

Please.

Just go.

And what did the Anne Frank Center have to say that got Spicer’s knickers so twisted?

From the statement released today by Steven Goldstein, Executive Director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect:

“The President’s sudden acknowledgement is a Band-Aid on the cancer of Antisemitism that has infected his own Administration. His statement today is a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting Antisemitism, yet day after day have refused to apologize and correct the record. Make no mistake: The Antisemitism coming out of this Administration is the worst we have ever seen from any Administration.”

Buoyed by Trump, Klan begins recruitment drive


Inspired by the rise of racist rhetoric sparked by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Kriminally Kraven Kowards think they’ve got the momentum to lasso a passel of sheety new recruits.

And the target is that critical electoral swing state, Ohio

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Amanda Lee says she is building an army and Ohio plays a key role in her plans.

 As the national imperial commander for the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Lee predicted last week that 2017 will bring a resurgence of her group’s activity — public rallies, widespread pamphlet distribution, greater recruitment efforts — and a push in several targeted states, including Ohio.

“We have people all over Ohio already. There is a large membership of Loyal White Knights there,” she said in a phone interview during a dinner break from her job in North Carolina. “When things start going wrong, it’s time for us to start retaliating. It’s time for us to get active.”

Lee said she couldn’t provide membership numbers despite the fact that members of her branch of the KKK pay monthly dues — $10 a person or $15 a couple — and that it calls itself the largest KKK faction in the United States. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit organization that tracks what it calls hate and extremist groups and combats discrimination through education and litigation, has acknowledged the Loyal White Knights has a significant Ohio presence.

The Alabama-based law center said in its most-recent report that 34 such hate groups operate in Ohio, dividing them into categories, including KKK, black separatist, white nationalist, racist/skinhead, neo-Nazi and anti-LGBT. The center maps where the groups are based, including Ohio organizations such as the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement in Cleveland, the Nation of Islam in Columbus and the Supreme White Alliance in Cincinnati.

Racism was structured into the U.S. system


In his remarkable 29 March 1964 speech in New York City’s Washington Heights, the late Malcolm X, one of the most eloquent advocates of the cause of African Americans ever to grace this nation, made a profoundly accurate declaration:

Our forefathers weren’t the Pilgrims. We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock; the rock was landed on us. We were brought here against our will; we were not brought here to be made citizens. We were not brought here to enjoy the constitutional gifts that they speak so beautifully about today. Because we weren’t brought here to be made citizens–today, now that we’ve become awakened to some degree, and we begin to ask for those things which they say are supposedly for all Americans, they look upon us with a hostility and unfriendliness.

During the American Revolution, African and Native American slaves had a clear choice: escape and join the British and be guaranteed immediate emancipation and full civil rights or align with the rebel colonists and face a future of continued slavery.

And whem the war was over, slaves remaining in the new land were excluded from the rights granted  the the new white citizens, and figured in the founding documents only as property>

And that heritage remains very much a part of the system created by those “Founding Fathers,” many of them slaveholders themselves.

University of Florida historian Ibram X. Kendri considers this toxic legacy in Uncovering the roots of racist ideas in America, an essay for The Conversation, an open source academic journal:

Donald Trump proclaimed during his inaugural address, “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”

Opening our hearts to patriotism will not solve the problem of racist ideas. Some of the nation’s proudest patriots have also been the nation’s most virulent racists. The organizing principle of the Ku Klux Klan has always been allegiance to the red, white and blue flag.

Lacking patriotism is not the root of racist ideas. But neither is ignorance and hate, as Americans are taught so often during Black History Month.

Contrary to popular conceptions, ignorant and hateful people have not been behind the production and reproduction of racist ideas in America. Instead, racist ideas have usually been produced by some of the most brilliant and cunning minds of each era. And these women and men generally did not produce these ideas because they hated black people.

In my new book, “Stamped from the Beginning,” I chronicle the entire history of racist ideas, from their origins in 15th-century Europe, through colonial times when early British settlers carried racist ideas to America, all the way to their emergence in the United States and persistence into 21st century. I distinguish between the influential producers of racist ideas, and the consumers of them. And I study the motives – and historical circumstances – behind the production of racist ideas. My persisting research question was not merely what racist ideas influential Americans produced, but why they produced those racist ideas at a particular time and how those ideas impacted America.

What caused Thomas Jefferson to decry “Amalgamation with the other color” in 1814 after he had fathered several biracial children with Sally Hemings?

What caused U.S. Sen. John C. Calhoun of South Carolina in 1837 to produce the racist idea of slavery as a “positive good” when he knew slavery’s torturous horrors?

What caused President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 to affirm that “the greatest existing cause of lynching is the perpetration … of the hideous crime of rape” when he probably saw the data that showed that rape was not the greatest existing cause?

What caused think tankers and journalists after the presidential election of Barack Obama in 2008 to produce the racist idea of a post-racial society during all that post-election violence against black bodies?

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U.K. Parliament nixes an address by Trump


When heads of major allied powers travel to each others’ lands, the visit is often accompanied the opportunity to address the national legislature,

But confronted by the possible of a racist rant from Presidente Naranjo. the parliament in London took preemptive action and voted a hearty thumbs down.

And they did it for the right reasons.

From the Independent:

Donald Trump will not be welcome to address Parliament on his state visit to the UK because of its opposition to racism and to sexism, the Speaker of the House of Commons has said in a major snub to the American President.

In a dramatic intervention, John Bercow, the Speaker, said he was “strongly opposed” to Mr Trump speaking in the Commons as he stressed that being invited to address Parliament was “not an automatic right” but “an earned honour”.

“Before the imposition of the migrant ban I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall,” Mr Bercow told MPs.

“After the imposition of the migrant ban by President Trump I am even more strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall.”

Parts of the Commons erupted into rare spontaneous applause in support of Mr Bercow’s statement.