Immigration Newsletter

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ruben Navarrette In Dallas watch your language - Press-Telegram

Ruben Navarrette: In Dallas watch your language-Press-Telegram


Today, at least 20 patrol officers of the Dallas Police Department - ranging from a rookie to a 13-year veteran - are in hot water after ticketing 38 motorists since 2007 for not speaking English. The problem - this isn't even a crime. Not in Dallas or anywhere else in the United States.

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I posted this not because of the DWM aspect and the racial bias that it presupposes - rather it was this passage that got my attention...

"During these turbulent times, you can tell by the way that people look at you," he said. "My wife has told me: `Have you noticed the difference in the way that they look at us these days?' And you have to admit there's something there that you just can't identify. Attitudes have definitely hardened because of the harsh debate over immigration and other things like that."


Yes, I think that is fair to say - attitudes have hardened.  Attitudes about immigration and alot of other things as well.  Sometimes it feels like this country is all about harsh attitudes on some issue or other and is about little else. 

I have worked in this field now for over a decade and I have noticed that if you want to treat people badly you have to objectify them, you have to name them so you don't have to think of them as actual human beings that you are being nasty to. So calling people "illegals" or "criminaliens" allows one to think it is OK to look down on them and consider them unworthy as people compared to we citizens.

Americans (possibly humans in general) seem to have a need to define themselves by figuring out who they don't like.  The man quoted above is a former Texas Police Officer not an illegal immigrant.  I hope that the people that are giving he and his wife the sideways glances might come to realize that all Latinos are not illegal immigrants.  Maybe someday those same people might come to the conclusion that people who immigrated here illegally are also people - not actual "aliens" to be feared and hated.

Even if people must return to their home countries - I think it would be better for everyone if America could do that without the becoming as mean, petty and racist about it as some government and media opinon leaders have proven to be recent years.