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An Open Letter From A Black Partisan on Immigration

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Dear Future Angry White Men of America:

I would just like to document the fact that this time you can’t blame Black folks. This time, it’s your own leaders.

JIM LEHRER: Do you read the split in the party the same way?

DAVID BROOKS: Not quite. I mean, there is a split. And there’s a split between the business side and the law-and-order side. But there’s also social conservatives, like Sam Brownback, who are on the McCain-Kennedy side, because they believe in being good Samaritans, and for other reasons.

And I’m not sure how serious a blow it would be if they passed something like McCain-Kennedy. I think it’s no accident that every major national Republican over the past 20 years has basically been where Bush is now — Reagan, Bush, McCain, who’s got national ambitions, the big state governors, the senators who have to run in the states.

If you look at the hard-core anti-immigrant House members, they come from districts where the Republicans win 80, 90 percent, all-white districts, safe districts. So they aren’t — I don’t trust that they’re good judges of the party, or of where the country is, or even where the party is. [P6: emphasis added]

Actually, it’s always been your leaders…ours just talk and screen folks for entry into their respective political parties.

Mr. Brooks isn’t a leader, of course…he is, however, a spokesman or vehicle those leaders use to get their viewpoint out there, trouble the waters, stuff like that. In the same roundtable, Mr. Lehrer says (in reference to possible personnel changes at the White House)

JIM LEHRER: You have tremendous sources within this White House, David. Anybody else going to go?

…so this isn’t just an opinion.

No one forced Mr. Brooks to say that. In fact, the version he gave on Face the Nation was more polished, making no mention of the whiteness of those Republicans’ districts. But I don’t think he thought you were listening. And you weren’t…were you?

Now to tell the truth, I think the “throw the immigrants out” contingent are…okay, “wrong” isn’t the word I want, because you do get to make the nation you want…you just have to live with the repercussions. And I don’t think most in that contingent have thought through the repercussions of what they are asking for (though there is no real answer to comments on the absurdity of implementing a guest worker monitoring bureaucracy when no one seems to know how to make the current system support much lesser demands). And I’m not really trying to make y’all crazy.

I’m anticipating y’all going crazy though…you don’t take being ignored lightly, and roughly half the potential angry white men in American are going to come out of this feeling pretty ignored. In the NY Times you’ve got Mr Brooks saying:

Almost half of second-generation Latinos ages 25 to 44 have attended college, and those who graduate earn more on average than non-Hispanic white workers.

And Linda Chavez saying:

Mexican-born men, for example, are more likely to be in the labor force than any other racial or ethnic group, according to the Census Bureau. Nearly half of Latino immigrants own their own homes. While most immigrants from Latin America, especially Mexico and Central America, lag in educational attainment, their children are far more likely to stay in school: according to research by the Pew Hispanic Center, 80 percent of second-generation Latinos graduate from high school. Almost half of second-generation Latinos ages 25 to 44 have attended college, and those who graduate earn more
on average than non-Hispanic white workers.

I ask you…does lauding their competitive abilities really make you feel better about the immigrants? How can anyone expect a bunch of folks whose real income has stagnated or receded to take that announcement as a Good Thing?

I sense your cynicism. “This Black partisan,” you say to yourself, “is trying to foment internecine strife in the White Race.” Nope. As I said, this is me anticipating your anger and making clear Black people are not the legitimate

target of your anger. You see, just like you are getting set up, so are Black folks…but I don’t like the contours of the plan so far. Now that your income and employment levels approach the level you associate with Black folks, others are already lobbying on your behalf.

But the chief “equity” issue at their college is the shortage of men, who make up barely a fifth of the student body. What happened to the boys who didn’t make it?

Boys are, on average, as smart as girls, but they are much less fond of school. They consistently receive lower grades, have more discipline problems and are more likely to be held back for a year or placed in special education classes. The Harvard economist Brian Jacob attributes these problems to boys’ lack of “noncognitive skills,” like their difficulties with paying attention in class, their disorganization and their reluctance to seek help from others.

Those are serious handicaps, but they could be mitigated if schools became more boy-friendly.

And their suggestions look remarkably like those Black folks have said were
needed for decades.

We are losing young boys to a sense of failure that comes from schooling poorly adapted to their needs. We are losing adolescent males to the depression that comes from feeling neither needed nor respected. We are losing young men to life tracks that include neither college nor any other energetic endeavor.

According to the Boys Project, white males take collective damage simply from the transfer of attention from them to girls for a decade or two.

A large, sullen, poorly educated group of men will not keep the nation vital in the twenty-first century. The nation needs the energy, initiative, and ambition of its young men as well as its young women.

Sorry for the extensive quotes, but the point is these judgements are being pass by folks who are looking out for mainstream Americans. They are not my opinions and I quote to make that clear.

One would think the realization that schooling that disregards the students’ background and nature damages children, would take the air out of the recent press about how “something very different happening with young black men.” Boys had always gotten better education opportunities than girls just as white kids have always had better educational opportunities than Black kids…and white males begin showing the same troublesome signs that are too frequently attributed to Black peoples nature (or, if you prefer the current code word, our culture) when that excess attention is directed more equitably. And the explanation for those troublesome signs is the same for white men and Black men. This actually pleases me…same input and same output is strong evidence the same kind of machine is doing the processing.

I see you good folks as being on the same path as Black folk; we’re just further along that path “for various historic reasons.” As Massimo Calabresi points out in Time Magazine, in your case, it seems that corporate Persons are playing the role of the mainstream:

With all the money it throws around on Congress, Big Business tends to get its own way in Washington. But for three surprising months this winter, on an issue near and dear to its heart, corporate America seemed to be getting the cold shoulder on Capitol Hill. It started last December when House Judiciary Committee chairman James Sensenbrenner, without informing the business lobby in Washington, whipped through a draconian immigration bill
that targeted the so-called “jobs magnet” — agribusiness, service sector, construction and other industries that eagerly, and often illegally, employ cheap, undocumented immigrant labor to cut costs. The law would have stripped business of much of its semi-skilled laborers by forcing undocumented workers to leave the country, would have jacked up fines on employers for
hiring illegals and would have required businesses to check the identities of prospective hires with the Department of Homeland Security.

But Monday night, Reiff and other business lobbyists broke into applause and embraced each other in the Dirksen office building as the Senate Judiciary committee voted 12-6 to send a bill sponsored by chairman Arlen Specter to the floor that swings the momentum back to their side. In a sharp rebuke to Senate majority leader Bill Frist, who had said he would introduce his own,
tough counterpart to the House bill, Specter, three other Republicans and all the committee’s Democrats united to force a pro-business, pro-immigrant bill through. Said a smiling Reiff minutes after the vote: “Specter takes a more expansive view of these issues than Sensenbrenner.”

My opinion, as a Black partisan, is that an unholy mess is a real possibility. So I feel it prudent to keep the cause and effect of things clear. We would all be more effective in addressing it if we all select our targets correctly.

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About Prometheus 6

  • Joey

    Why would I blame black americans? I only blame a corrupt legal system in Mexico, and an ineffcient legal system in the United States. One accepts corruption and graft as the way visa’s are handed out. The other refuses or is incapible of carrying out the law that has been legislated.

    New law (The Patriot Act) voted on and passed in the house and senate, assures the tax paying American Citizen of the right to protection from threats associated with the new normalcy. Should we expect less? Are we bickering over legality or illegality? Are illegal aliens really breaking the law or are they victims of circumstance? Should we insist, as the law cites, that aliens within our borders be documented through a process? If aliens refuse documentation; why? When I travel to foreign countries, I’m always documented. It’s a matter of course. It’s how business is conducted, it ensures accountability, it’s a system that has been in place worldwide for 200 or so years (maybe). But it is an established practice. Why is it disestablished here? Logistics? Broken infrastructure and process? I’m sorry P6, I don’t follow your reasoning, as it lacks clarity of purpose.

  • P6

    I’m not talking about immigrants or immigration law.

  • Joey

    Oh Really?