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Tuesday, April 27, 2010
THEN THEY CAME FOR ME......
I was made aware of an email this morning that really hurt my heart. It hurt because it showed the level of education that our Black community still needs when it comes to matters of Black & Brown people.
Here's the email:
Hi Every One.
listen up I think it would be very unwise for the black community to get involve
in the illegal immigrant confusion. I feel that is a Spanish problem. I sympathize
with Spanish concerns, but I don't think the Black community has the resources
to sub stain us in a battle such as that, after all we are law biding people and we
believe in Justice for all. let the spanish citizens handle that problem.
I left the name unexposed.
There's so much wrong with this email that it's hard to know where to start. But, here we go.
The Black community MUST get involved in the issues of the Latino community. Why? It's actually very simple.
Recently, Arizona passed an awful law that makes it legal to stop people based on the fact that they "look illegal". Why does that matter to Black people? Have you ever been to Miami? Florida is chock full of Haitians who are in the country without papers. Now, imagine if the law spreads to Florida. The police will then be allowed to stop anyone they suspect of being "illegal".
Guess what color Haitians are?
I am sure that many of you are aware of the fact that a whole lot of us Black folk (myself included) look more Latin than we do Black. There's quite a few of us mixed with Native American who could easily pass as Latino. Now, imagine a light skinned ("High Yella") person takes a day trip to see the Dam in Boulder City and crosses the border into Arizona only to be stopped because they "look illegal". How exactly does a light skinned Black person prove they are a citizen? A Nevada Drivers License is not proof of US citizenship. How many of you carry your "papers" with you? How many Black folk have a passport? How many Americans actually carry their birth certificate with them?
I don't and I look hella Latino.
I was especially concerned with the section of the letter that refers to "us" as "law abiding citizens". Uh, ask the people who came up with this law what they think of Black people and if they feel that Black folk are "law abiding". I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of people who support this law don't think much of us either. Btw, I'm Black as is my little brother and he's in jail for the rest of his non law abiding life. Generalities are never pretty.
I learned from a local leader that all problems faced by minorities are all minorities problems. Why? Because what could happen to someone else could happen to you. How dare we Blacks dismiss another group after all we went through to get equal rights. I myself being Gay have less rights than the vast majority of people who will read this including "illegals". Do I say "screw you until I get mine"? No. I say, "how can we work together and build trust and foster communication so that I know your struggle and you know mine and together we can prevail?"
When did we forget that the Jews and other non Black groups marched with us into Selma and to Washington? How have we forgotten that a Gay Black man, Bayard Rustin planned the actions that led up to the most important event in Black Civil Rights history, The March on Washington? How on Earth can Black people turn their back on any group that needs our help?
If we turn our backs on the Latino community now in their time of need, how can we expect them to be there for us later?
And if there is any doubt that we will need them later, look around you. We live in a City, County, State and Country that is rapidly browning. Latinos will soon be the majority. They will sit on the school boards, in City Hall and in all of the highest offices of the land. In fact, after Barack, there will probably be a Latino President. Why should they help us if we turned our backs on them?
I'll close with a very famous poem that perfectly describes why we must become more involved in our Brown Brothers & Sisters lives.
This was written by Pastor Martin Niemoller:
In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
Please, read and learn from this and try to curb your own inner racism and prejudices.
We as Black people are better than that.