Monday, January 22, 2018

Build The Wall, Round'Em ALL Up, Send'Em ALL Back - Pronto!!!

DenverPost |  In October 2005, one month after Katrina ripped through New Orleans, a plainly agitated New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin told a town hall audience, “I can plainly see in your eyes that you want to know, ‘How do I take advantage of this incredible opportunity?’ How do I make sure New Orleans is not overrun with Mexicans?” He referred to the fear of many blacks that contractors, with the federal government’s connivance, would skirt labor laws, snub needy black workers and recruit thousands of unskilled, Mexican workers to do the clean up and reconstruction work in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

The remark was insensitive and insulting. And within days an enraged United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce denounced Nagin, “The Chamber will not allow inappropriate and offensive comments made by Mayor Nagin to deter the hardworking spirit of our community.”

The Chamber’s denunciation was more than a mere slap at him. It conjured up the positive image of Latinos as productive, taxpaying, law abiding and above all else, hard working. For years, the Chamber and nearly every major Latino business, political, educational, and civil rights group had lobbied hard to sell that image to millions of doubting and skeptical American born whites and blacks. And now with one mindless crack, Nagin had tarred that image. But observers at the town hall meeting also noted that the mostly black audience applauded his remarks. Their applause, Nagin’s quip, and the Chamber’s swift outrage, told much about the fear, hostility, misconceptions, and ambivalence that haunts black and Latino relations in America.

The rising tension that underlay the Chamber’s protest of Nagin was probably inevitable after the Census Bureau in 2002 publicly trumpeted that Latinos were now the top minority in the U.S. The news hit black America like a thunderbolt.

Sensing that the Census announcement and the press’s seemingly too eager rush to play the news up could ruffle racial feathers, and could be exploited by some to intensify racial friction and the ill-feelings of blacks toward Latinos, dozens of Latino academics, writers, and activists signed an “Open to Letter African-Americans from Latinos.” They passionately assured blacks that they would “combat the competitiveness” and “opportunism” of many that would seek to pit Latinos against blacks while minimizing the historic suffering of blacks and displacing them from the front running spot they still occupied in the struggle for justice and equality for justice. Writer Richard Rodriguez went even further and blasted federal demographers for malice and stupidity for blaring out that Latinos were now the number one minority. He saw this as a virtual conspiracy by the feds to further “trivialize” blacks and equally bad, to marginalize Latinos as a permanent minority.

The criticism from Rodriguez and assurances from the Latino letter signers was a welcomed effort. But it went largely unreported and unnoticed by blacks. Many blacks still complained that they would be shoved even further to the economic and political margin among minorities in the country. The Census report also showed that Latinos were widening their population growth gap on blacks. That gap will grow even wider in the coming years due to the higher birth rate of Latinos and the continued flood of new immigrants, both legal and illegal, from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Columbia and other Latin American countries.

The reality that blacks will lose even more ground in the numbers comparison to Latinos as fresh waves of immigrants come to America will likely stir more complaints from many blacks. Those complaints rose to a high pitch during the immigration debate in Congress and the mass immigrant rights marches in the streets in March 2006. Though polls showed that blacks were generally more favorable toward illegal immigrants than whites, the polls seemed wildly at odds with the sentiments that many blacks privately expressed on immigration. At the peak of the immigration debate, legions of blacks flooded black talk radio stations and posted angry notes on Internet sites bashing illegal immigrants. The attacks were often little more than a thinly disguised attack on Latinos.