The recent media fuss about Barack Obama wearing an African outfit
during a 2006 trip to Kenya misses the whole point. The Clinton camp is
race baiting. After all, had Obama traveled to the British Isles and
put on a kilt while he was there, would there be any uneasiness? It’s
unlikely, even though there are terrorist groups like the Irish
Republican Army there.
To me, and to a number of African Americans with whom I’ve spoken, it is patronizing to suggest that there is something wrong with an African American recognizing his or her ancestry, particularly when the suggestion is made in light of a recent — and justifiable — comment by Michelle Obama about her newly found “pride” in a country that enslaved our ancestors and where many citizens still commit racial abuses towards African Americans. The suggestion that it’s wrong for Barack Obama to recognize his ancestry in dress is tantamount to saying that he was behaving inappropriately, like a bad little Negro. From that, some might also conclude, “He’s not ‘one of us.’”
G. Djata Bumpus
March 6 marked one year since the heinous raids in New Bedford resulted
in the deportation and detention of 361 people. About half of the
people originally detained have been deported and separated from their
families. Some are still fighting their cases in the courts. The lack
of action by our state’s government to respond and remedy the harm
perpetrated on these victims of human rights violations is indicative
of a much greater problem: racism.
The anti-immigrant sentiment running rampant among many in this country, including some in government, is rooted in racism. There are no real economic reasons to deport working immigrants. Economists would overwhelmingly agree that immigrants are essential to our economy, and the notion that “illegals are taking jobs from citizens” is simply bogus. What is more appalling than finding 361 “illegals” working at one company is to learn that companies in Massachusetts and other states are exploiting human beings in sweatshop-like conditions. I do not believe that any human being should be subject to those conditions, regardless of their citizenship status.
I would like to advocate for the state of Massachusetts to lead the way in taking action to show that it is unacceptable for working people to have their lives turned upside down for arbitrary political reasons. I think the lack of immediate action to help the individuals and families victimized by the New Bedford raids reflects poorly on Massachusetts. As a citizen of this state, I am embarrassed.
I propose that instead of criminalizing individuals who committed no crime but were born on the “wrong side” of a border, we open our minds and our hearts to all human beings and offer these hardworking members of society documentation to continue living the lives they have built here, with their families, in the United States of America, the land of the free.