Saturday, July 19, 2008

Associated Press Outs FAIR and Alipac as Racists?

I came across this article about the 2008 Olympics and the changing ethnicities of our USA Champions. Our country is evolving and the 2008 Team represents the evolving "Melting Pot" in our country.
This AP article included comments from several of the Olympic supporters who celebrate the evolving ethnicities.
They also interviewed Ira Mehlmann from F.A.I.R. and William Gheen from Alipac. Both of their comments seem somewhat radical and some may consider them racist. While Ira´s comments are milder, Gheen´s comment is a rather raunchy, racist joke. I am somewhat curious, wondering if Ira or William approved these quotes attributed to them. IF they did approve them, they certainly did not represent their organizations very well and they in fact, add fuel to the ADL reports of their racism.
Foreign-born athletes take Olympic stage for US By DAVID CRARY – 32 minutes agoNEW YORK (AP) — As the U.S. struggles with immigration policy, Americans will get a chance next month to see their melting-pot nation through the prism of foreign-born athletes competing in USA uniforms at the Beijing Olympics. There are at least 32 of them, compared to 27 at the 2004 Summer Games, according to the U.S. Olympic Committee, which didn't track the statistic before then. They include four Chinese-born table tennis players, a kayaker from Britain, Russian-born world champion gymnast Nastia Liukin and seven members of the track-and-field team. For those seeking symbolism, it's hard to top the men's 1,500-meter squad — Kenya native Bernard Lagat; Lopez Lomong, one of the "lost boys" of Sudan's civil war who spent a decade in a refugee camp; and Leo Manzano, a Mexican laborer's son who moved to the U.S. when he was 4 but didn't gain citizenship until 2004. "It's a magical time," said U.S. men's track coach, Bubba Thornton. "I'm glad that these young men found their way here. It may just remind us all of where we came from, and how hard the struggle may have been, and how big the dream was to be here." Within their sport, the three 1,500-meter runners have been warmly embraced, as have other immigrants among the 596 U.S. Olympic athletes. "I don't think of any of our foreign-born athletes as foreign," said Jill Geer, USA Track & Field's communications director. "In USATF, no one considers them anything but American, and I'm not saying that just because it's the right thing to say."Beyond the realm of sports, the rancorous national debate over immigration has focused on foreigners here illegally and whether they should be offered some sort of pathway to citizenship. Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which favors stricter immigration enforcement, said foreign-born Olympians merit public support — but should be viewed as exceptions in a system fraught with flaws and unfairness. "Not everybody coming into the U.S. is an Olympic athlete or a Nobel prize winner," Mehlman said. "Maybe this ought to be a wake-up call that we ought to design an immigration policy that seeks out exceptional people. Now, most of it is based on extended families. ... you don't have a policy designed to bring in people who fit the needs of this country."
William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration (Alipac), said the achievements of naturalized citizens like Lagat and Lomong should be celebrated, but not used as an argument for a more lenient immigration policy. Gheen passed along a joke circulating on the Internet that alludes to illegal Mexico-to-U.S. border-crossing — over fences, deserts and the Rio Grande. The gist of it: Mexico will do poorly in the Olympics "because all their best runners, jumpers and swimmers are in the United States." "The American public is starting to sour on all immigration in reaction to rampant illegal immigration," Gheen said. "The danger is if people say, 'Look at these immigrants who are in the Olympics — therefore you should provide a path to citizenship for all the illegal immigrants in the country.'"
Randy Capps, a demographer with the nonpartisan Urban Institute who studies immigrant families, sees the U.S. as keeping pace with global competition in its acceptance of foreign-born athletes. "Would you rather have them competing for someone else? Would you rather the U.S. be more competitive or less competitive?" he asked. "You wouldn't want an immigration policy that would exclude people who could potentially be the best at what they do." Many other countries welcome foreign-born athletes to their own teams. Canada, with a relatively open immigration policy, expects to have more than 50 on its team in Beijing.
Generally, foreign countries don't complain when their citizens relocate to compete for the U.S. However, some Kenyan officials were displeased when they learned that Lagat — who attended Washington State University but won two Olympic medals for Kenya — had quietly gained U.S. citizenship in 2004 prior to the Athens Games.Indeed, the U.S. has scored relatively few major triumphs internationally in distance running in recent years — fueling a perception that the U.S. lacks its own world-class talent and that foreign-born runners are the best hope for Olympic medals in distance events.Yet Jill Geer said native-born runners in the past two years have started to alter that outlook. The Olympic marathon trials were a particularly big confidence boost: in a field that included several African-born stars, all three qualifiers were American-born. In any case, she said, U.S. track officials were happy to welcome world-class athletes immigrating from abroad, but did not actively recruit them."Obviously you've had people fleeing difficult circumstances and/or political persecution," Geer said. "These aren't people trying to find an easy way into the Olympic Games. These are families seeking a better life for themselves."The family of Eritrean-born distance runner Meb Keflezighi is a prime example. While Meb — the son of a political refugee — won a silver medal for the United States at the 2004 Olympics, his 10 siblings have thus far amassed six undergraduate college degrees, an MBA, a medical degree and a law degree. Leo Manzano's story is similarly striking. His father, Jesus Manzano, slipped across the U.S. border from Mexico numerous times as a young man, seeking jobs to support his family. He was granted legal residency in the U.S. in 1987. The father initially scoffed at Leo's interest in running, but relented. The son won nine Texas state high school championships, earned a scholarship at the University of Texas, and has won five NCCA titles. "He represents everything that you're taught growing up in this great country," said Bubba Thornton, his coach at Texas and on the Olympic team. "You show up every day, you work hard, your treat people like you want to be treated and if you do all those things, good things can come to you."
Manzano himself says he's honored by his Olympic berth and eager to have a chance to show his gratitude to America. If there are fans out there who'd prefer to see a native-born American in his place, he hasn't noticed."I haven't felt any negative energy — it's all been very positive," he said. "In my home town, the people have been awesome. They've taken me to heart." He also embraces the message conveyed by having Lagat and Lomong as his teammates. "It shows how diverse our country is. It's a melting pot," Manzano said. "I'm really excited and I'm sure those guys want to give back as much I do."

14 comments:

patriot said...

We can read between the lines, dee. You are trying to blur the lines between legal and illegal again. The fact that there are foreign born naturalized legal citizens competing in the Olympics is not justification for allowing illegal aliens to stay in this country and least of all gaining citizenship in our country.

Liquidmicro said...

Mehlman is for CIR which brings in the brightest and most talented. You are for family reunification, which is what we have now and why the system is the way it is.

Gheen is arguing the same as Mehlman, just worded differently. His 'joke' has been posted for ages. It's as old as the Bracero program.

We know you don't like either of them based on the belief of a competitive global economy with the brightest only allowed into the USA.

You are one of the few arguing for family based re-unification with your fingers crossed that somewhere in there there might be a bright one which achieves like Manzano.

Truthfully, I don't care for the Olympics. There's to much emphasis placed on certain countries having to win big vs the athletes being rewarded for their performance.

Dee said...

Liquid,
Some Joke.
While Racist jokes have been told for centuries, they continue to be in very, very poor taste and they are what they are, racist!

Dee said...

Actually Liquid, I liked the last quote in the article:
"It shows how diverse our country is. It's a melting pot," Manzano said. "I'm really excited and I'm sure those guys want to give back as much I do."

Dee said...

Regarding Family Reunification, I have not shared my views on this. What I have said is we need to clean up the backlog and broken processes so people can come in legally.

patriot said...

I don't consider that joke a racist one. It just cuts to the truth of the matter. People offended by the truth usually have an agenda they are protecting.

Dee said...

Pat, Pat, Pat,
First, the comment is NOT the TRUTH!!

Second, try saying your comment to: Blondes, Polish people or Blacks.

Wrong is wrong and racist jokes should NOT be told, particularly if you are representing your political view in a newspaper! If you do, expect people to believe you are Racist!

Pats Comment about Racist Joke:
People offended by the truth usually have an agenda they are protecting.

patriot said...

My wife is from Polish ancestry and she tells Polish jokes all the time and laughs when someone else tells them. She is also Blonde and tells Blonde jokes.

It IS funny that many of the jumpers and swimmers from Latino countries are already here illegally. Lighten up, will you? It has nothing to do with a racist view per se. The word racism and racist is so overused that it makes one numb anymore.

The Arizonian said...

http://www.rsf.org/IMG/gif/250-250-gb-4.gif

That sums it up for me.........

Dee said...

Arizonian,
You do make a point, but which one?
1. Why should we participate in the Olympics in Beijing? The government there is oppressive and by participating we are condoning what they do. I can agree with this. (see article below)
2. I guess you may also be saying why do we allow immigrants to represent the US in the olympics? When they aren´t really us. If this is what you are saying, then no. I disagree. We are a land of Immigrants, the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.

Arizonian reference article:
Repression continues in China, one month before Olympic Games.
When the International Olympic Committee assigned the 2008 summer Olympic Games to Beijing on 13 July 2001, the Chinese police were intensifying a crackdown on subversive elements, including Internet users and journalists. Seven years later, nothing has changed. But despite the absence of any significant progress in free speech and human rights in China, the IOC’s members continue to turn a deaf ear to repeated appeals from international organisations that condemn the scale of the repression.
From the outset, Reporters Without Borders has been opposed to holding the Olympic Games to Beijing. Now, one month before the opening ceremony, it is clear the Chinese government still sees the media and Internet as strategic sectors that cannot be left to the “hostile forces” denounced by President Hu Jintao. The departments of propaganda and public security and the cyber-police, all conservative bastions, implement censorship with scrupulous care.
Around 30 journalists and 50 Internet users are currently detained in China. Some of them since the 1980s. The government blocks access to thousands for news websites. It jams the Chinese, Tibetan and Uyghur-language programmes of 10 international radio stations. After focusing on websites and chat forums, the authorities are now concentrating on blogs and video-sharing sites. China’s blog services incorporate all the filters that block keywords considered “subversive” by the censors. The law severely punishes “divulging state secrets,” “subversion” and “defamation” - charges that are regularly used to silence the most outspoken critics. Although the rules for foreign journalists have been relaxed, it is still impossible for the international media to employ Chinese journalists or to move about freely in Tibet and Xinjiang.

patriot said...

No, we aren't a "land of the immigrants" anymore. We are a nation of American citizens now by several generations.

The Arizonian said...

My statement has to do with the previous. I'm personally boycotting the Olympic games based on the fact I don't like China or their policies. I've made it a point not to buy Coke products, ect.

To have "immigrants" competing under the US banner I believe shows the core value (at least at one time) of the US. We are a diverse nation,and our Olympic hopefuls are a representation of this.

The only time I would disagree with this is if we imported these athletes specifically for the Olympic games. If we start treating the US Olympic team as though it was a pro-football or basketball team, bringing athletes in from other countries simply to win medals, then I have issues with it.

I equate the Beijing games with the Berlin games of 1936. There will be alot of propaganda, filtering of the events, and a general "see how good we are" display going on. We have already seen indications of this. But, when the games start, everyone will forget the deeds of the Chinese government and we will enter that patriotic fervor, forgetting all else.

But will China follow suite with the 36' games?

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

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