I’m still learning what all these terms and labels for ‘white supremacist,’ ‘white nationalist’ and the "Alt-right" mean. After some searching online, I found a podcast called In The Thick, where politics are talked about from a People of Color perspective. This is a big deal since mainstream media on television and the internet are all too often white washed perspectives that either glorify stories or condone actions that ought to be re-evaluated and criticized.
For me, it doesn’t help to read or watch from media outlets like these because I can’t grasp or keep up with what they are saying. I needed something that would break it down by asking in depth questions with explanations. What I learned is that all these terms and the groups have something in common – they are part of the “Racist Right,” as former FBI agent Mike German, from the episode of On the Thick puts it. They discriminate against other races and ethnicities, religions, genders, people with disabilities, and many other deemed “different.”
For the sake of this blog, I’m focusing on the racism towards races and ethnic groups. Now, I haven’t been told to go back to Mexico, but I have experiences with differential treatment that has happened to me and others I know. Towards my dad, because he couldn’t articulate himself in situations since he can’t speak English. For myself, when I am at work ringing up a customer and they ask me for a receipt, compared to the times when my white co-workers don’t get asked for one. When money I returned to a customer after counting it gets counted again right in front of me, or when I’m helping a customer and I get ignored so they can ask the same question to my white co-worker standing next to me. This, along with other treatment I’ve seen towards other people of color sucks. Racism sucks. Micro-aggressions suck. It’s horrible to have them ingrained into our society.
Listening to that episode with Mike German on In The Thick made me actually realize that like racism and discrimination, white supremacists have been around and never went away. So the "Alt-right" and white supremacist aren’t popping out of nowhere and overnight. I have no idea why it took that episode to barely wake me up to that because for racism to exist, there has to be a system that infuses it into society. Growing up, the KKK and white supremacists seemed like old stories in history books. These are people that have grown up into adults with racists and discriminatory philosophies that are ingrained into them. Trump’s version of America is facilitating the space to let these groups of people have a greater platform to speak their message. Their philosophies and messages of racism and hate are now normalized as acceptable when they are not.
Let’s remember the importance of Humanity in the immigration conversation. If the RAISE Act gets passed, it “favors” applicants that speak English and are financially stable so those immigrants can contribute to the US economy. That statement is laced with racism and privilege. Again, it is stripping people of their humanity and the chance of a better life like most immigrants are looking for. I know that was what my parents and their families were looking for when they came to the U.S. from Mexico. They left behind a home and culture they are familiar with, just for a chance to come to a country where they can earn more money and escape the poverty they faced in Mexico. My parents didn’t know English when coming to the U.S. My dad dropped out of high school when he arrived because of it and went to work in a factory until he retired. Yet, he and his siblings earned a chance to prosper, get their own houses, have healthcare and build a family of their own. They did it by working jobs that those of privilege wouldn’t give a second glance at while struggling and hustling to provide it all. Immigrants like my dad and his family contributed financially to this society and economy while also bringing a culture and stories of their homeland worth preserving.
To anyone reading this: help keep the humanity alive for those who are under attack and oppressed with this White House administration. Help preserve the culture, history and stories of the disenfranchised. In your own way, however that may look, help give a voice to the communities and groups of the oppressed. Fight for them and their rights. Fight for their humanity so we can be seen as people who should be given empathy instead of hate. One day we might actually be considered equal if enough people fight back together.