Austin (highverbalfan) wrote,
Austin
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Feliz Navidad!

In this episode of "Austin fights with morons on the internet because he has nothing better to do," we've got a woman who's shocked—shocked!—to find out that disliking Mexicans might be construed as a wee bit racist.  She "opposes Mexican immigration," y'see, but in a totally rational and not bigoted way!  Or something like that.  

Also, I'd never met here before; she's a random friend of John G's. I'd like to offer this as an example of how *not* to introduce yourself.

***


Charles Austin: The DREAM Act is killed, but DADT is repealed. Congrats, Senate, on being only 50% bastardly today.
Brooke W: Yeah, I'm confused because I thought that gays were the new Mexicans, but it turns out Mexicans are the new Mexicans. Except in New Mexico.

CA:
Mexicans are the new gays. I can't wait until prominent conservatives start being outed as closet Latinos.

Dara G:
Mexicans wish they even registered on bigot radars.

John G:
We need to have free immigration if we want to be a free country. It is just as destructive to lock people out as it is to lock them in...

Vera N:
We were in Mexico a couple of weeks ago- looks like a fiesta at Woolworths when it doesn't look like Gunfight at O.K. Corral. If we want the USA to look like Mexico, then by all means we ought to have open borders. It's not like there's a lot of incipient Nobel Prize winners picking peaches in California waiting patiently to share Cervantes with us.
 
DG: Wow.

Cassie F:
I am really, really, REALLY hoping you are just a sarcastic friend of Austin's, Vera.

Paul R:
 Vera, here is your opportunity: http://www.ufw.org/toj_play/TOJNEW_12_JAL.html [links to a site which lets people fight illegal immigration personally, by volunteering to replace an immigrant worker in the crop fields]

JG:
Vera, similar stuff was and is said about many other immigrant groups that ended up and continue to make up our population. I know you enough to respect your ideas...sometimes your opinions are another matter. Which makes it so much fun to talk :-)


VN:
A big problem with Mexican immigration is there's no ocean separating them from "home". They are not forced to consider the U.S. as their home as were other immigrant groups who couldn't afford to travel back to the old country and had to adjust here.

Many of them also feel that some of the southwest--Texas, California, etc. which was lost to them during Polk's Mexican American War really belongs to them. They disagree with the peace policies their government forged but since complaining about this in Mexico was dangerous and next to useless, they waited till they got here where it's somewhat safer to agitate and demand "their land" be restored to them retroactively.

Many of the immigrants who came here during the great waves of immigration had woes that went way beyond mere starvation, death, and disease. With the usual variations, they experienced hostility toward them in terms of religion and political orientation. Although some were unschooled and unskilled, many were talented, well-read, and ready to make a contribution when they got off the boat. A family member generally had to sign that he/she would be responsible financially if the newcomers needed that kind of support. The government did not give them a lot of handouts and although they suffered, they didn't ask for anything except to be allowed in. 

This is clearly not the case with Mexican immigration to the U.S. Many are poor and hardworking, but most have minimal skills and very little more than a third grade education. Many are here only to support their families who remain at home in Mexico. They feel no particular affinity for this country.

At home, in Mexico, they have little political power and are easy targets for the upper class which brutalizes them. But, they are not good at being self-governing and have failed in their own country even when they had relative political security in which to make decent laws. In Mexico, their country is overrun with thugs and self-enriching political strongmen. This is the kind of governance they are used to and this is what they impose on others when they get a bit of power over others of their class who cluster together here. They have no lofty dreams of political freedom nor the foggiest idea of what it means to be a citizen of any country--including their own.

I am generally pro immigration. The people who have come here recently from India, Pakistan, Eritria, Ethiopia, Malaysia, etc. represent the best and the bravest of their countryman. They are, with rare exceptions, good citizens and adjust their ways to fit in with their new country. I dislike Mexican immigration for all the reasons I mentioned, and because we simply can't afford to give away anymore handouts and we don't certainly don't need anymore people here who bear us ill will.
 
CA ‎@Vera: First of all, are you talking about legal or illegal immigration from Mexico? You never bother to make that rather crucial distinction. Your arguments are the same as those parroted by anyone ranting against illegal immigrants, but you address your assorted condemnations and slurs against Mexicans as a whole. Do you really see no difference between those who are here legally and illegally? If you do see the difference, then you need to be much clearer in your arguments. If not, then your irrationality and bigotry are such that any further discussion would be pointless.

Actually, you need to be clearer in your arguments either way. It's hard to find an actual line of reasoning in what you write, since most of it is either irrelevant, ill-defined, or self-contradictory. Yes, immigrants to America have always endured some manner of hostility or persecution—so what? That's completely irrelevant (you're also making the philosophical error of making an ought from an is). You note that Mexican immigrants are hard-working, but you then imply that they don't contribute to our society. How vague does your notion of 'contribution' have to be if you're going to overlook the fact that the US agricultural system would practically collapse without immigrant labor? And if the poor and uneducated Mexicans who come to the US haven't "the foggiest idea of what it means to be a citizen of any country," then why would they feel a sense of national injustice over a war that Mexico lost 160 years ago? Seems like a bit of a contradiction there.

You criticize Mexican immigrants for not being able to govern themselves "even when they had relative political security," while IN THE SAME PARAGRAPH you explain how little political security they have (due to corrupt politicians, thugs, an abusive upper class, etc.) So when were these halcyon days in which Mexico's underclass was given the opportunity to govern itself without interference? Hell, when has ANY poor, disenfranchised group EVER been given the opportunity to freely govern themselves? (And that's not even getting into America's extensive role in keeping all of Latin America underdeveloped for the last two hundred years.)

This is racism at its most bald-faced: ascribing inferiority to a group based on manipulated and/or impossible standards. "Black people are clearly inferior, look at Africa," etc. Your so-called argument is no different, and just as baseless and offensive.

Now, I'll absolutely agree that illigal immigration is a big problem, for both citizens and immigrants alike. There are a lot of complexities and underlying causes that need to be dealth with, from the bureaucratic mess to the issue of assimilation to the economic incentives at the heart of it. It's a complicated problem that will require mature discussion and careful solutions. The simplistic isolationism that you seem to advocate is neither mature nor rational, and neither is the casual bigotry you've displayed thus far.

And Cervantes was Spanish, not Mexican.

DG:
Charles, let's not give America all the credit, the people of central America have been royally fucked (quite literally) since the 15th century.


VN:
Yikes, Charles! What does my position on immigration have to do with racism? And, how do you define racism? Could I not be a racist and still think Mexican immigration is not a good idea? Could I be a racist and think Mexican immigration is a great idea?

How about this scenario: I am one of those agriculturalists you speak of who depend on Mexicans to provide me with cheap labor. I want them to come across the border so I can utilize their labor. If they start demanding a living wage instead of the slave wages they have accepted in the past, I merely threaten to hire people who are even more desperate than they are. Does this demonstrate that I am or I am not a racist? No. What it demonstrates is that I am willing for "the other" work for me if it makes good economic sense for me.

Mexicans who have gone to the not inconsiderable trouble of getting here legally and becoming citizens have publicly declared themselves loyal and connected to the U.S.A. Their affiliation is not at issue. Their right to be here is not an issue. They do not have to work for slave wages and live together twenty to a room. They are not willing to subject themselves to the indignities their illegal cohorts will put up with.

Of course my arguments against immigration are going to be the same as those put forward by others who see more Mexican immigration as a problem. I outlined the specifics of my reasoning on this and you are free to counter those arguments with your own. However, calling me a racist and a bigot are not good arguments in favor of open borders.

People who move to a country but refuse to assimilate by adopting the customs, laws, and mores of the host country cause a problem anywhere they become a significant minority. Look at W. Germany for example: those Turkish guest workers who retained their loyalty to Turkey and utilized their status as guest workers only for the paycheck have created, in Germany, the same problem that Mexican "guest workers" create here.

Not so for the Turks who have become citizens of Germany. Even though many of them have not given up their love for their home country--they have opened Turkish restaurants, still celebrate their holidays, and observe their folkloric traditions in the same way the Irish in the states celebrate their heritage by celebrating St. Patrick's day, and maintaining their cultural ties with the auld sod by means of dance, music, etc. . These are Germans, albeit new Germans, of Turkish descent.

Contrast this with the large populations in France, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, Gr. Britain, and more who refuse to assimilate and make demands on their host countries to accommodate to them. They are a problem and the problem has grown to the degree that those governments, like France, who prided themselves on their post WW2 liberalism are now re-thinking what they have a right to expect from their "guests". By the way, I do know Cervantes was a Spanish, but I couldn't think of a great Mexican familiar enough to English speakers who could serve as an example of a cultural icon.
DG: Vera, referring to another person's country/culture as a "fiesta at Woolworth's" doesn't exactly support your cause that you aren't a bigot.

PR:
Cesar Chavez was nominated 3 times for the Nobel Peace Prize. [Fuckin' ZING]

CA:
‎@Vera: Your points, in reverse order.

Paragraph 8: Paul already rebutted this one rather succinctly. I'd just add that no one ever won a Nobel Prize for sharing the ideas of someone else, so your original statement doesn't make sense anyway, regardless of which cultural icon you name. It was nothing but a petty and mean-spirited jab at uneducated farm workers, with the clear implication that they don't provide a benefit society. Of course, if international prizes or historical significance is your standard for citizenship, then you'd be deported right along with the peach picker.

Paragraphs 5-7: Since I already stated that assimilation is an issue that needs to be addressed, this whole section is superfluous. I never disputed any of this; but while it's all true, it's also completely unrelated to my criticism of your earlier statements.

Paragraph 4: You outlined the specifics of your reasoning, yes… And I then pointed out that those "specifics" were mostly irrelevant, ill-defined, or self-contradictory. Your latest response is much of the same. Nowhere in this thread (or anywhere else) have I suggested opening our borders to all comers, so again, you're arguing against a position that isn't relevant. All I've supported here is the DREAM Act, which you haven't bothered to discuss. And since I wasn't arguing for open borders at all, your claim that I called you a racist as a way to defend open borders is a blatant lie. And what I actually said was that some of your *arguments* were racist (or they're identical to ones used by other racists) and that your statements conveyed bigoted attitudes toward Mexicans; I never called *you* a bigot or a racist. It may be a subtle difference, but it's an important one. I don't know you, so I have no idea if you're a racist or not; all I have to go on is what you write—and what you've written so far shows a casual scorn for Mexicans as a whole. Disdainfully citing sweeping and baseless generalizations about an ethnic group as self-evident fact—as you have with Mexicans, with statements about their inability to govern themselves, their lack of interest in freedom or citizenship, their attitude of entitlement towards the southwestern US, their lack of contribution to American society, etc.—is the hallmark of bigotry. *You* may not be bigoted, but what you've written is; if that's not the attitude you want to convey, you need to be far more thoughtful in your writing. Which leads nicely to...

Paragraph 3: I'm glad to know that you don't see legal immigration as a problem, but you should probably stop writing "I dislike Mexican immigration" if what you actually mean is "I dislike illegal immigrants from Mexico who freeload on public services and refuse to assimilate." It would be like thinking that black men who deal drugs and kill people should be put in jail, but telling groups of strangers "I think black men should be jailed"—and then reacting with surprise and outrage when people think you're racist. If you dislike *illegal* immigrants, don't say that you dislike *immigrants.* Write what you mean, and don't leave out significant details. If you don't want people to think you're racist, then don't write racist shit. It's that simple.

Paragraph 2: Your hypothetical scenario doesn't actually support anything you've said so far, so I'm not sure why you included it. But yes, as to your example, there are plenty of non-racist reasons to dislike people or treat them badly. Obviously. If the agriculturalist is exploiting his immigrant workers for purely economic reasons, then he's being a good businessman. If he's doing it because the thinks that Mexicans don't deserve a decent wage, then he's a racist. Racism is less about actions than it is the attitudes behind those actions.

Paragraph 1: I suppose it's *possible* to oppose the immigration of one specific ethnic group on rational, non-racial basis. And that's obviously what you think you're doing, but—just as obviously to everyone else—that's not what you're actually *saying.* I still don't know whether your statements up to this point have misrepresented your actual attitudes, or whether they've revealed more about your attitudes than you realize. But what I DO know is that if you choose to introduce yourself to strangers with an inflammatory comment—especially one riddled with irrelevancies, inconsistencies, and ignorant nonsense—then you shouldn't be surprised to receive a vitriolic rebuttal.

Nice to meet you, btw.
Colin G: My favorite part is where Vera identifies the "good" ethnic groups that she likes in contradistinction to, um, Mexicans.

Ju H:
My favorite part is where Vera explains how the challenges of immigration and assimilation are really just limited to Mexicans.

How dare those capitalistic Mexicans come here for the sole purpose of earning money to support their families, as Vera claims? This is an outrage. I get up and go to work for love of my country. Earning a living has got NOTHING to do with it. If illegal immigrants want to pick our oranges and mop our floors, they better damn well be ready to do it because they love America and not because they'd like to work for money to feed and clothe their offspring.
 
VN: Dear Charles,

Actually, when I wrote my first comment, it was in reply to John Grover. My second comment, also to John, was to amplify why I disagree with the free immigration John says he wants. I replied to you only because you specifically wrote to tell me that you think I am a racist and a bigot.

In my first comment to you, I tried to explain yet again why I am against the idea of free immigration and open borders. I didn't discuss the dream act with you although I see that you did initiate this conversation by expressing your disappointing that the Dream Act did not pass and rejoicing that DADT did pass.

In spite of the fact that I told you I am generally pro immigration and mentioned some of the population and ethnic groups from various continents whose immigration to the U.S.A. I think of as largely successful, you continue to claim that I am a racist and bigot based on your notion that I introduced myself to strangers with inflammatory remarks. When you called the senate only "half bastardly" I didn't think of that as inflammatory but merely as comical shorthand for how you regard the senate.

I also made it clear that I disapprove of so-called "guest workers" status because I see it as causing large problems not just here but just about everywhere this is/has been allowed. I spelled this out because it is analogous to what I see happening here with Mexican immigration.

Name calling and finger waggling on your part does nothing to improve your critique of me--it merely appeals to you and those who know you because it gives you virtue on the cheap. It isn't my job to prove to you that I am not a racist or a bigot. This could be an interesting conversation. Wouldn't you rather argue about what, if any, rights, citizens of a country have, when it comes to choosing their immigration policies?

CG: Your comment to John was deliberately inflammatory. We can call that buying interest on the cheap. You've made your bed and now find you don't much care for the sheets.
 
VN: How on earth would you know if my comments were deliberately inflammatory? They might have inflamed you, but that doesn't mean I set out to inflame John who is a good friend of mine. How you might react was not a consideration for me. Although I am always interested in hearing an opinion, including those I am at odds with, if it is intellectually well argued, I am not looking to understand your feelings.
 
CA: ‎@Vera:

If you were addressing John, you should have identified him by name. He was not the originator of this thread, and there had been a number of comments before his; without naming him personally, you provided no indication of what person or topic you were addressing, thereby applying your statements to the general group and topic. You hadn't messaged John personally; you were making open statements on someone else's facebook page, so expecting it to be understood that you two were having a personal exchange is asinine. This is internet protocol at its most basic.

If you were arguing against free immigration, you probably should have mentioned it; it's been a week now, and this is the first time you used the phrase. You've mentioned "open borders," but that's not necessarily the same thing as free immigration. If you were choosing to equate them, you needed to make that clear: defining your terms before making your argument is a pretty basic principle of debate. Furthermore, your claim that your second comment was a critique of free immigration is demonstrably false: your comment repeatedly attacks "Mexican immigration" and Mexicans as a whole, but never once mentions free immigration OR open borders. "I dislike Mexican immigration for all the reasons I mentioned"—which is what you wrote—is completely different than "I oppose free immigration." Trying to retroactively paint this comment as a critique of free immigration is disingenuous.

(In fact, since the final paragraph of that comment shows your support for immigration of *other* ethnicities, reading your comment as a rebuttal to the idea of free immigration as a whole makes it look even worse. Then your argument becomes "I'm against free immigration because of Mexicans"—which is the very definition of a race-based argument.)

(Semi-related: you DO realize that approving of Indians and Pakistanis doesn't excuse your dislike of Mexicans, right? You seem to be saying that liking *some* non-white ethnicities makes you non-racist. It's not clear if that's what you mean, which is why I haven't addressed it, but that does seem to be what you're implying.)

As I noted in my last response (which you seem to have either mis-read or ignored), I've never called you a racist nor a bigot. I only pointed out that you were using arguments that—in addition to being illogical, irrelevant, and self-contradictory—also happened to seem racist and bigoted. The only thing I've attacked is your arguments...and their bigoted nature is only *one* of their numerous flaws.

You have yet to defend any of these flaws. You haven't reconciled your claim that Mexicans feel injustice over losing the Mexican-American War with your contradictory claim that Mexicans feel no sense of nationalism. You haven't explained why you don't see providing a major labor pool for the service and agricultural industries as a societal contribution. You haven't provided any evidence to back up your ridiculous claim that Mexicans are incapable of self-governance. You continue to make no distinction in your writing between legal and illegal immigrants, saying that you dislike and oppose "Mexican immigration." You criticize immigrants for coming here to support their families back in Mexico, implying (incorrectly) that it's historically unusual, or that supporting a family is somehow dishonorable. You claim that Mexicans have no dreams of political freedom and that they bear us ill will, but provide nothing to back up these disdainful and alarmist claims. Like John, and Paul, and Dara, and I have all pointed out, these arguments are poor ones, easily rebutted, with no logical merit and with racist overtones. There *are* rational reasons to oppose an open-border policy, but you have yet to make any.

Instead, all you've done is complain that I continue to call you a racist (which never happened: my exact words were "This is racism at its most bald-faced: ascribing inferiority to a group based on manipulated and/or impossible standards" after I'd clearly shown how you were using such standards) and call you a bigot (which also never happened: my exact words referred to "the casual bigotry you've displayed thus far" after you'd made a number of derogatory and baseless claims about Mexicans). Where have I engaged in name-calling or finger-waggling? At no point have I engaged in ad hominem attacks towards you; the persecution you seem to feel has no basis in reality. And implying that I've criticized your shoddy arguments merely to make myself (and those who know me, apparently?) look more virtuous is a petty and baseless accusation—especially coming from someone who goes out of her way to "Like" her own comment—and serves only to underscore the increasingly obvious fact that you don't have any real arguments to back up your opinions.

Considering your high-minded claim that you care more about "intellectually well-argued" opinions than personal feelings, it's disappointing (and frustrating) that you feel so offended and personally attacked that you're unable address the substance of my criticisms. I'd love to have an interesting, fact-based conversation about the difficulties and complications of crafting an effective immigration policy, but that's not going to be possible while you continue to cling to your unfounded feelings of persecution.

Feliz Navidad.

CA: ‎@Vera

Oh, and I'll agree that there can be a distinction between "inflammatory" and "deliberately inflammatory." But since you refuse to recognize the distinction between free immigration and open borders, or the distinction between illegal immigrants from Mexico and Mexican immigration as a whole, or the distinction between attacking your arguments and attacking your person, it seems a bit odd for you to suddenly start parsing language so carefully. Furthermore, defending your claim that Mexico "looks like a fiesta at Woolworths when it doesn't look like Gunfight at O.K. Corral" as a cooly rational argument—not intended to be inflammatory—is more than a little ridiculous.

CG: ‎@Vera- As it turns out, my assumption of your intent is a measure of generosity. For if if your statement was *unintentionally* inflammatory, you are beyond help.

Your distinction between argument and feeling is self-serving at best. I don't care that you don't care about my feelings. What an artless dodge. The reason this thread has gone on so long is that lots of people found your statement somewhere between stupid and indefensible. It certainly isn't just me. 


***


In other news, it's 4 am and I have twelve hours of driving to do. This was clearly a productive use of time.
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