Juvenile red tailed hawk with clean and pristine feathers

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

States of Stupidity, United

I get a lot of stupid e-mails. Just like most people, I guess... Lately the racial and mysoginist tenor of many of these e-mails has gotten much uglier. N*gger monkey president, Hillary is a c*nt, speak English only in this country, etc., etc. Obama is a closet Muslim who has secret plans to obliterate good christian America.

I received an email last week that proposed that only native born citizens be allowed to buy land by the beach. Uh, sorry Governor Schwarznegger (Austria), sorry John McCain (Virgin Islands). I have thought a bit about this recent spate of cybergarbage and offer a couple observations. The hatred is not so much a race based phenomenon but a class based phenomenon. The white people on the lower economic rungs are scared of losing their place on the economic pyramid and rather than focus on the apex, they once again choose to separate themselves from the rung immediately beneath them. Of course, the lucky guys perched on the top need a cheap labor source to do their bidding and work their mega farms. So it is a delicate balance for the politicians.

My sister did her masters thesis on black versus latino race issues at the end of the 1960's. This black/latin schism could have grave effects on the next election if McCain can successfully connect with the hispanic electorate.

Of course the native xenophobia of many conservatives could trump any such wooing. The "English only" movement is the kind of thing that makes me embarrassed to be an American citizen. It is a popular topic on the rabid am radio talk shows that monopolize the bandwidth. I grew up in border cities and am proud of my ability to speak spanish, however inartfully. Hispanic culture has never been a threat to me. My grandfather spoke eight languages well, my father at least three. Travel to Holland or Belgium or practically anywhere in Europe or China and you will find people speaking each other's languages flawlessly. Why do we perceive it as a problem? Our xenophobia has a particular red white and blue flavor that I find very depressing. I hope that we can remember that we are a melting pot and rise above our race and class differences. We are in this thing together. There are a lot of african americans and hispanic american soldiers that are dying for you right now in the middle east.

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