America never was the harmonious melting pot we like to imagine. Newcomers have always struggled to find their place in our society. More often than not, they did it by overwhelming those who came before with the same racism and violence shown to them.
Native Americans, Africans, Italians, Jews, Irish, Asians, and many others took their time in the barrel being denigrated and discriminated against. Some, like Native Americans, didn’t survive the onslaught. Others, like the Irish, and Germans moved from being the evil race du jour to members of the middle and ruling classes.
Purging the ‘Blights’
Reigning immigrants tried to purge these perceived “blights’ on their society in many ways.
Liberia was a failed experiment to, “send ‘em back to where they came from” in which African-Americans went back to the motherland by the boatload. Of course, not many – including the blacks themselves – understood the difference between a central African native and a northern African native – especially when the “native” had been North American for decades. “If it walks like Africa and talks like Africa I don’t give a shit because they ain’t here” was the philosophy.
Today the place is much the same as it was when America sent back the reverse immigrants. It is desperately poor and backward. It is violent and corrupt in spectacular ways.
Liberia is a country set up to fail. It bears little resemblance to their American “home” except a toy Star and Stripes flag and faux merchant marine designed to register half the rust-buckets in the world to allow shipping magnates avoid prudent maritime regulation.
This time Mexicans, Arabs, Chinese, and blacks threaten to flood America, a mythical place where everyone is white, Christian, English-speaking, moderately wealthy, and quickly becoming uneducated, science-fearing, sexually suppressed, heavily armed xenophobes. A country so bent on ejecting those who are different (though at a certain level they are the same) we can no longer rule ourselves.
The sad part is that middle America has little to fear. Most live in states where minorities are rare, sparing them the direct elbow rubbing they find so intensely uncomfortable. Most of the rest live in those square western states where people of all colors are rare. It gives them a feeling of superiority to preach they are only expressing innocent opinions when comparing modern blacks to slaves. They can say they aren’t racists in self-congratulating, preening proof they are superior to the John Bulls and police dogs of Selma.
“Blacks are poor because they’re all lazy as the dickens. But I don’t know any and I don’t have nothing against ‘em. Just my innocent, unbiased opinion mind you.”
Not ‘It’s a Small World’
I am in a fairly unique position for a white American so I can offer my misguided fellow citizens a glimpse of what they feel is the future of “their” rather than “our” country. In California, whites are the minority. Although we still hold a significant economic advantage, daily life in CA is much like life in Omaha. I still speak English wherever I go. When I encounter the rare language difficulty, I work it out with a little Spanglish or Tagalog and no more trouble than a northerner tussling with a southern twang.
People still go to church as much as everyone else, except it’s more common for everyone to go to the same church, sing the same hymns, and eat the same Eucharist. Other than people of different color sharing the same building, it isn’t much different from the Methodist church across the street from the AME church in Baton Rouge.
And all those drug-ridden “wetbacks” the rest of the country so wants to wall out? Well, it turns out they are friendly, decent people doing the same things as people in Peoria except they do it for substantially less than minimum wage and work harder than any 10 construction workers in Houston. If they’re illegal, they forego what most Americans consider the just desserts of being a citizen because Mom was lucky enough to birth you in Boston. The rest of the country believes all of them get a free ride because they are brown.
And, deportation isn’t nonexistent. It’s very common. They also don’t have anchor babies merely to sneak their way into the country any more than most women use abortion as a handy form of birth control. And even in the ways they are different, they are important.
Our Chinatowns, the ones tourists from Duluth visit, aren’t big versions of Disney’s It’s a Small World ride. Chinese live in them. There are roast ducks in the windows and baskets of live fish for dinner. There are Chinese New Year celebrations – Gung Hay Fat Choy – with fireworks and people gifting each other with crisp new dollar bills from the local Bank of China branch.
Whites learn snippets of different languages, meet good people who can help us understand the joys and tribulations of their homelands. We work side by side, ride the same buses, and shop in the same Walmarts. Being white or Hispanic, Asian, black, Filipino, or Tongan isn’t so much about color as it is about being a person who works, plays, socializes, and does a thousand day-to-day things that billions of people do every day.
Though there is plenty of road to travel, our culture of the future isn’t much different from your culture of the past. That isn’t a threat to whites unless you are daft. It is a plus that makes us all stronger races, but also stronger humans.
Leave the 18th century and join us. It really isn’t so bad.
- White American racism against Natives: 1600s (abagond.wordpress.com)