Friday, March 20, 2009

Living through the Civil Rights Movement. Is there HOPE for the Future?

I grew up during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. My Dad, Mom and siblings suffered from the racism of that era. My Dad was a migrant worker/field supervisor. His peers were white. However, he was not allowed to eat at the same lunch counter, drink from the same fountain nor use the same bathroom as his peers, even though he worked side by side with them in the fields.

In the late sixties, the Civil Rights Act was passed and the law said we were all equal. The Jim Crow laws were cast aside. They were against the law. In reality, they continued on for many years. In the late sixties, riots occurred as minorities spoke out against the continuing abuses. (We are reliving these same times today!)

I didn't understand racism. As a child, I too was a migrant worker. In first grade, in Catholic school, I didn't understand the reason the other children laughed at me when I stuttered in shyness. They thought I stumbled over my words because I was a stupid mexican. They whispered to themselves I was a dumb mexican. When the nun explained to them that I was just as intelligent as they were, most were skeptical. However, my advocate, our teacher, the nun, helped me and all other students understand that I was their equal and I was just as intelligent as they were. Like them, I could be anything I wanted to be.

Through the sixties, most teachers explained to all their students, we were ALL equal. There was discrimination and injustice in the past, but that time was over. Not all teachers said this. I remember a few predicted I was going to get pregnant and I should take typing/vocational courses because I was never going to college and college prep courses wouldn't help me. It is a good thing I didn't listen to them.
In the late sixties, the riots occurred. I marched alongside other equal rights believers of all colors. We thought we could change the world. We thought all of us were equal. Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, we were free at last.

After I finished my education, I started working for a large corporation and gradually progressed upwardly as a manager, continuing my education. I was going to be "That Girl!" I was going to have a career, a family, and be as equal as every other American in this glorious United States of America.
It is unbelievable to think so much change has occurred within one lifetime, my lifetime.
In the 70's, I met my husband, a big, handsome, strapping, lumberjack of an Irish American guy. We fell in love. In 1978 we married. In 1979 we had our first son. In 1985, we had our second son. Now, we have two young grandsons.

I thought we overcame the racism of the past. Little did I know that after 9/11, the racist groups who felt such a loss after the Civil Rights movement, who were still hanging on to their racist beliefs, would come back to haunt us. I didn't realize they were creeping back up on us until the May 2006 Immigration marches. Then they started planting their seeds of hate again. Their movement grew.

I heard all of their rhetoric on various cable news networks featuring Buchanan, Dobbs, Beck and others. I decided to learn more. I joined various websites and started my own blog in 2007.
It seems as if we reverted back in time to a certain degree. On a daily basis, I read about the Hate Crimes, Racial Profiling, the ICE Raids and the heinous Detention Centers. I read about the 287(g) local Sheriff assaults on workers. I see the persecution, incarceration, the humiliation, the inequality, the abuse.
Most Americans are like me. We are living in the new millenium. We understand we are a nation of Immigrants. We understand we are ALL equal. We understand we are a thriving, multi-cultural society. I look into the big beautiful eyes, eyes just like my Dad's, of my multi cultural, multi racial, multi ethnic grandchildren and I know our equality is the truth.

Some groups like the KKK, White Supremists, the NSMs and others are attempting to brainwash our children and others that are weak minded. They are attempting to convince them "illeeeegals" are the enemy. They are attempting to convince them to racial profile, assault, arrest and abuse these workers. No one knows what an "illeeeeegal" looks like, so these groups convince their members to attack and abuse ALL Latinos or anyone speaking Spanish. That is why we have seen crimes like the Caucasian Crew murdering Marcelo Lucero, the football jocks murder Luis Ramirez, or Dannie Baker murder innocent Chilean students.
The hate groups have convinced some local Sheriff departments (as in Northern Florida) to continue the worker ICE raids even though Janet Napolitano put a STOP to these practices. These sheriff departments could care less about the employers. They are not arresting them. They could care less about the Drug Cartels. They could care less about the felonious criminals. Instead they arrest and incarcerate the workers at the worksites, even though all they are doing is working.

I participate in various comment sections of the local news sites reporting these occurrences. It is alarming to see the degree of hate, anger and violence in some commenter responses. What is also interesting to note is ALL, without an exception, ALL of these commenters that spew so much HATE against latino workers (and they are ALL Latino workers), also hate our President, Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic party. They also hate Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry and the entire Democratic Party. They do not chastise employers hiring those they term illeeeegal and they do not seem all that angry about Bernie Madoff or other big business billion dollar thieves. The majority also do not approve of Gays, the right to Choose, Gun Control, Health Care or Global Warming. Most are Limbaugh, Beck and Dobbs viewers and approvers. These are the same extreme right wingers who say they will hold on to their beliefs and their guns with their last breaths. I am sure their ancestors were primarily slave owners and chastised Kennedy/Johnson through the Civil Rights Movement. They are advocating White supremacy and Mass Deporation of the 12M here. They also say they will never change their minds.

My goal in writing my blog is to help all Americans, and especially Americans of Latino descent understand we MUST remember the past. We must remember how recently the Civil Rights movement occurred. We MUST remember how recent the actions of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta occurred. The Civil Rights abuses happened in my lifetime. They were worse in my father's lifetime. We have to remember how fragile our history is and how many accomplishments our parents sacrificed to get us to this point. We have to remember we are a Land of Immigrants and WE are ALL Equal. We should do everything in our power to stand up for the newer Immigrants and to achieve Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We must also encourage all of our children to continue their education and never indulge in drugs.

God Bless America!
God Bless Our President Barack Obama!

15 comments:

Patricio Pilsen said...

We will never be a color blind society, nor should we be naive enough to expect such a society. I have no problem in being recognized as the large, dark Brown man with the pony tail. I am all those things.Just do not attach negative stereotypes to my physical attributes.

It is impossible not to notice color. It is impossible not to notice gender. I think that people who say that they do not see color are living in some fantasy land. There is nothing wrong in seeing reality. We have different shades of skin. It is okay.

This nation has been deeply embedded in racism. It does not disappear by the mere passage of a Civil Rights Act. Laws open doors and opportunities and thus "things" have become better for people of color. Racism has never gone away. For some it has been diminished to a dimmer hue. It has been shifted to more subtle tones. It has taken clever disguises.

But racism is still here.

It is here in the form of Black students facing expulsion and suspension in every state but Idaho, at a greater rate than would be expected from their proportion of the student population. This includes middle class neighborhoods. Poverty is not a factor for the over discipline of Blacks in our public schools.

Why are so many being disciplined? Is fear of the young Black man a vestige of our collective racists attitudes?

Why are so many Black men in prison? Why are so many on Death Row?

The racist will easily dismiss the disparities as Blacks being more inclined to commit crime.

Certainly people need to become responsible for their actions. That goes without saying. Eventually, the reasons why someone is kept down can no longer remain as individual excuses. But what can we do to eliminate the many valid reasons why there are these disparities in school discipline, imprisonment, death row, arrests, indictments,health outcomes, life expectancy, and access to health care.

Every generation sees improvement. I remember going to the school with an older Mexican man when I was about 16. The merchant gave the older man the incorrect change. The older man did not say a word. When we were outside the store the older man turned to me and said that the merchant gave him the wrong change. He knew it was the wrong change and he was not fooled. Yet, he said nothing.

I lost respect for that man. It was not until years later when I realized why what had happened.

This older man lived during a time when Mexicans would face prejudice and injustice but could not say anything about it without endangering their well being. Just the fact that the old man could acknowledge to me that he was wronged and realized it was enough of a victory for him. Justice was not an expected outcome for his generation.

I have experienced racism that most of the next generation has not known. I know 30 year-olds who have never gone through the things that people my age have endured.

I remember riding a Greyhound bus from Chicago to Kansas City as a 15 year-old. While I was waiting in St. Louis for the KC bus an elderly man walked towards me and started a conversation,. He told me that Mexicans made good cooks and that I should learn to cook because that is all we are good for. He meant it in a good way. I did not take it in a good way but I had enough sense to ignore him.

On the final leg to KC I was stuck in the back seat with a drunken White man. He kept cussing at me. he kept calling me a Fucking Mexican. Then he would show his range of intelligence and call me a fucking wetback. No one on the bus came to my defense. A Black woman in her 30's was a few seats in front of us. She was with a young child. She would turn around, wearing a pained expression on her face, but she remained quiet. She most likely was afraid to get involved. Missouri in 1972 was still a backwards place when it came to race.

I became tired of the verbal assaults and I stood up and challenged the drunk to a fight. The bus driver immediately stopped the bus. He walked to the back of the bus and yelled at me to shut up or he would leave me on the highway. When I explained that the drunk was cussing at me the driver repeated his threat to me. Then he turned to the drunk and told him to shut him also.

But it was me who was threatened with expulsion from the bus.

I would hope such an event would never happen today to a youth traveling alone.

Every generation gets better. I have that hope. I too have off-spring of multiple ethnicities. My two oldest boys have a mother who is Irish-English-German. her ancestors named Kaylor came here in the 1780's from Ireland. My 5 year-old has a mother who is Czech-American. Her Svoboda ancestors came to Iowa in the 1880's.

There is only one race and that is the human race.

But embracing that philosophy will not get Rush, Dobbs, or Beck any ratings-not when they depend on the dying breed of racists as their main source of viewers.

Anonymous said...

Your best blog of all time. I enjoy it when writers bring themselves into the story and relate personal experiences in telling their story and making their point. It was moving. It was interesting. It was thought provoking.

Anonymous said...

You have already told your personal history over and over in here. How many times do you have to repeat it? Who the hell cares anyway? You are so goddamned in love with yourself that all you want is attention and to play the victim eternally.

Illegal immigration of today has nothing to do with the Civil Rights Era and that has been pointed out to you over and over also.

The Civil Rights Era was about minority citizens (mostly Blacks). It had nothing to do with illegal immigration.

It sickens me the way you try to connect the two. They are two totally unrelated issues. Hispanics nor Black citizens of today are discriminated against like they were back then. We have Affirmative Action in place now and it is illegal to discriminate against CITIZENS of any color. Knock of your constant BS of repeating the same old lies over and over! You know it is BS and that is why you won't allow any anti's to post in here to expose your lies. You never change and you are an ethnocentric traitor to this country.

Dee said...

Patricio,
Thank you for sharing your story. You remind me of my brother. He was very adventurous, intelligent and strong. He was also a very good writer, like you.

Dee said...

Good Anon,
Thank you for your compliments. I try to write from my heart for my readers because I care so much about this issue.

Dee said...

evil Anon,
You always prove my point for me.

Anonymous said...

to the evil anon,

If the author is in love with herself, that is one person more than anyone you have had the capacity to love. You lack the ability to even love yourself. Life must be beyond gloomy when all you can do is anonymously attack others on the internet.

Vicente Duque said...

Dear Dee :

You gave us a beautiful piece of your heart. I also love the literature and narration. You have some poetic quality.

I agree with 99.99% of what you publish and I also dislike Imbecility TV and the fools that follow that garbage and believe in it.

That is why I posted half your story in RACIALITY.COM - click here please to see the reference to your page :


The Tender Side of racism - My friend Dee from Texas tells her beautiful story and how she fights racism - Her Life Story

Thanks again for your wonderful presence and friendship.

Vicente Duque

Analisa said...

Beautifully written and very moving, Dee. I think you said it best:

"My goal in writing my blog is to help all Americans, and especially Americans of Latino descent understand we MUST remember the past. We must remember how recently the Civil Rights movement occurred. We MUST remember how recent the actions of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta occurred. The Civil Rights abuses happened in my lifetime. They were worse in my father's lifetime. We have to remember how fragile our history is and how many accomplishments our parents sacrificed to get us to this point. We have to remember we are a Land of Immigrants and WE are ALL Equal."

Yes, we must remember.

Vicente Duque said...

Dear Dee :

Racist and Hate TV is portraying the Latinos as criminals, or lazy bums that live on Welfare.

But I found this guy Jorge Muñoz that is a "CNN Hero" and portrayed by The New York Times as "The Angel of Queens" because with his little salary of a bus driver he feeds hundreds of people, usually Latinos but also people of many nationalities and races.

He has a Small truck to deliver free meals to many people every night.

There is a beautiful video of this guy feeding the laborers and receiving economic help from a TV Network.

I have all the information here :

Raciality.com

Vicente Duque

ultima said...

CNN -- Sweden Rocked by Radical Muslims.

A few years ago, the left-wing London Guardian newspaper called Sweden the most successful society the world has ever known. But Sweden todayis being rocked by a large influx of Muslim immigrants and the growth of radical Islam. Malmo is Sweden 's 3rd largest city and a major epicenter of the Islamization of Europe. Wide-open immigration policies have changed Sweden and have made Malmo, which is now one-quarter Muslim, one of the most racially divided cities in Europe. Most Muslim immigrants are concentrated in one district, where the male unemployment rate is 82 percent. Crime affects one of three families in the city and rape has tripled in 20 years, according to the Christian Broadcasting Network. In one housing project in the district, fire and emergency workers will no longer enter without police protection. Malmo has been so accommodating toward immigrant Muslims that a localMuslim politician and imam has even declared, "The best Islamic state is Sweden !" But Malmo's Jews won’t give the city the same glowing assessment. Jewswho dare to walk the streets wearing yarmulkes on their heads risk being beaten up. When Israel recently played Sweden in a Davis Cup tennis match in Malmo,protesters demonstrated against the Israeli presence in the city, and hundreds attacked police. Journalist Lars Hedegaard, who is based across a bridge-tunnel from Malmo in Copenhagen, Denmark , told CBN News that pro-Israelidemonstrators in Malmo were met with rocks, bottles and pipe bombs from Palestinians and other Arabs. Right-wing Swedish Democrats, who support limits on immigration, have been stigmatized by the left-wing Swedish media as fascist and bigoted. But there is a growing acceptance that "the Swedish model" - generous welfare benefits combined with liberal immigration policies — is nowunsustainable, according to CBN News. Hedegaard said: “I think the best prediction is that Sweden will have a Muslim majority by 2049, so we know where that country’s going.”

Does anyone see any parallels between this situation and our own? This is where liberal immigration policies will lead.

Dee said...

No. While I appreciate all new immigrants, including the Muslim population, in migrating into America, Muslims are NOT Latinos so it is useless to drive any comparisons.
Unfortunately, after 9/11, Muslims have been the extreme right wingers' easiest target just because the 9/11 terrorists were Muslim. Consequently, the extreme right wing link Latinos to Muslims and by their very WEIRD logic, link in Latinos, probably based on the fact they are the same skin color. THIS IS WRONG WRONG WRONG!

Anonymous said...

ultima is god clapped from heaven:

"Malmo is Sweden 's 3rd largest city and a major epicenter of the Islamization of Europe... one of the most racially divided cities in Europe...unemployment rate is 82 percent. Crime affects one of three families in the city and rape has tripled in 20 years,"

Sounds like a socio-economic phenomenon to me. Insert any group here and the results would be the same.

The heavens continued to roar.

" ...according to the Christian Broadcasting Network."

Yep. Expect non-bias news about Muslims from a Christian Broadcasting Network.

"Malmo has been so accommodating toward immigrant Muslims..."

Accommodating? Sounds like what the Alipac-men and The Fair Squares say about the undocumented. Hmm...

"But Malmo's Jews won’t give the city the same glowing assessment. Jewswho dare to walk the streets wearing yarmulkes on their heads risk being beaten up."

Hatred is wrong. People seem to have trouble accepting those who are different. Just look at the hatred that the nativists have for the immigrants.

Prediction:

God will say something about "how there is a difference between immigrants and illegal aliens."


“I think the best prediction is that Sweden will have a Muslim majority by 2049, so we know where that country’s going.”

The new boogeyman for the nativists-The Muslims.

"Does anyone see any parallels between this situation and our own? This is where liberal immigration policies will lead."

I see a parallel. I see the parallel of hate where people of color are dehumanized by some of European stock who have yet to accept that people of color are humans also.

I am sure that God believes that he has some clever comebacks.

The Arizonian said...

Dee said:
"Some groups like the KKK, White Supremists, the NSMs and others are attempting to brainwash our children and others that are weak minded."

I would also include: Religion, PAC's, political parties, colleges, public schools, after school programs, youth organizations, family, friends, etc.

ultima said...

"Right-wing Swedish Democrats, who support limits on immigration, have been stigmatized by the left-wing Swedish media as fascist and bigoted. But there is a growing acceptance that "the Swedish model" - generous welfare benefits combined with liberal immigration policies — is nowunsustainable, according to CBN News. Hedegaard said: “I think the best prediction is that Sweden will have a Muslim majority by 2049, so we know where that country’s going.”

Okay, I thought the parallels were obvious but everyone seems to have gone in the wrong direction on this.

Parallel #1: Those who support limits on immigration are stigmatized as racist or bigotted.

Parallel #2: Generous welfare benefits (DREAM, Aid to Dependent Children, Food Stamps, Medicaid financed delivery of babies of illegal aliens, etc.) combined with liberal immigration policies — is now unsustainable

Parallel #3: The U.S will have a 135 million Hispanics by 2050, so we know where our country’s going, the way of Latin America.

Note that none of these are racist arguments but I am sure someone will find a way to spin them in this direction, a la parallel #1.

One can argue that the burden placed on taxpayers by the citizen children of illegals is entirely legal. True enough but the point is that burden would not exist except for the illegal presence of the parents. This is a rule of law argument regarding illegal entry and border violations, regardless of race, color or creed. It is an argument related to the burden on taxpayers not a racist arguments.

The only question regarding parallel #3 is whether this will be good thing for our country given the propensity of immigrants and illegals to replicate the very conditions they fled their homelands to escape. It may be a cultural thing but it is not a racial thing. Just as christian Sweden will become what its burgeoning radical Muslim population will require from Sharia law to a hatred for the West, so the growth of the Hispanic
population will cause the U.S to become Mexico Norte as control shifts to Hispanics in government and industry. Now they may surprise us all but we have little to go on except the cultures and mores of countries of origin. Again I speak of the Hispanics in a sort of generic way as representative of the new wave of immigrants and births. The Japanese are touted as the brightest people in the world, even brighter than the Jews but the growth in the Asian population is mostly from other Asian countries not Japan. Who knows what that outcome will be? Is it racist to suggest this replication of culture and all the baggage it brings with it in terms of a history of poverty, joblessness, crime, misery, and overpopulation in their countries of origin? What are the appropriate predictors for the future of our country if not those?

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