As we celebrate another Fourth of July, this picture of American intolerance clashes sharply with tidy schoolbook images of the great melting pot. Why has the land of “all men are created equal” forged countless ghettoes and intricate networks of social exclusion? Why the signs reading “No Irish Need Apply”? And why has each new generation of immigrants had to face down a rich glossary of now unmentionable epithets? Disdain for what is foreign is, sad to say, as American as apple pie, slavery and lynching.It's always interesting to read the introspection that goes on by the dominant side of society. You can almost hear the light bulb illuminate.
The irony is that in order to get them to move on any type of justice, the idea has to appear to come from within them. Sure, hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their supporters/families can march in the streets asking for humane treatment, but until the power-brokers have some type of 'Come to Jeebus' moment or feel the pinch in their stock portfolio, nothing but the broken status quo is offered to the victims of this never-ending cycle of racism and xenophobia.
There is very little listening by politicians on what it means to be on the receiving end of policies that make attaining, let alone keeping, a legal immigration status harder than George Bush's thick skull.
It's refreshing to see the historical narrative coming out of the Gray Lady's pages today, but until that realization strikes like lightning at the rotunda of the Capitol, the suffering of today's latest wave of unwanted Others will continue. It's the American™ Way.