Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Unwelcoming Society

The Unwelcoming Society

by C. A. Matthews

When my mother first got off the ship in the United States of America, I wonder… Did she feel welcomed?

It was right before the start of the second World War. Mom had lived in Brazil all of her young life. Now, her parents thrust her into a strange, new world full of different people, weather, flora and fauna. Being scolded by her mother to “speak only English,” she soon lost the ability to converse in Portuguese, remembering only snatches of songs and nursery rhymes in later years. Mom learned that she had to speak English only because now she was American, for better or worse.

Nowadays, it almost always seems to be “for the worse” whenever an immigrant attempts to enter the US. They may be desperate to escape persecution and violence in their home country, but once they arrive in the US or at its border, their fears not only aren’t relieved—they’re often magnified.

I wrote about the end of the infamous Title 42 program and the new Biden Asylum-Transit ban a couple of months ago in The New Title 42. The mainstream media’s continual emphasis on the urban myth of the US southern border becoming inundated with immigrant hordes after the pandemic ban was lifted has not happened. However, the re-traumatization of asylum-seekers seeking safety has just begun.

How welcoming is that?

From the terrorists masquerading as Customs Border Patrol agents at our borders, to the outright Jim Crow decrees from our state legislatures, it can’t get much more unwelcoming in the United States of America in the year 2023 CE. If you think I’m kidding, get a load of this:

A group of Chinese citizens who live, work, study, and raise families in Florida, as well as a real estate brokerage firm in Florida that primarily serves clients of Chinese descent, are filing a lawsuit to combat Florida’s discriminatory property law, SB 264. Signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the legislation unfairly restricts most Chinese citizens — and most citizens of Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, Russia, and North Korea — from purchasing homes in the state. Unless the courts act, the law will take effect on July 1, 2023…

Today’s lawsuit argues that SB 264 will codify and expand housing discrimination against people of Asian descent in violation of the Constitution and the Fair Housing Act. It will also cast an undue burden of suspicion on anyone seeking to buy property whose name sounds remotely Asian, Russian, Iranian, Cuban, Venezuelan, or Syrian. 

Gov. DeSantis has argued that this law is necessary to protect Florida from the Chinese Communist Party and its activities. But this misguided rationale unfairly equates Chinese people with the actions of their government, and there is no evidence of national security harm resulting from real estate ownership by Chinese people in Florida. From Chinese Immigrants Sue Florida Over Unconstitutional, Discriminatory Law

This horrible law brings to mind the first immigration law passed in the United States, The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882:

From 1882 until 1943, most Chinese immigrants were barred from entering the United States. The Chinese Exclusion Act was the nation's first law to ban immigration by race or nationality. All Chinese people--except travelers, merchants, teachers, students, and those born in the United States--were barred from entering the country. Federal law prohibited Chinese residents, no matter how long they had legally worked in the United States, from becoming naturalized citizens… The Geary Act, passed in 1892, required Chinese aliens to carry a residence certificate with them at all times upon penalty of deportation. Immigration officials and police officers conducted spot checks in canneries, mines, and lodging houses and demanded that every Chinese person show these residence certificates. --From Digital History

We’re really come a long, long way in the good ol’ US of A, haven’t we?

Working in immigration advocacy, I am always shocked at how woefully ignorant most Americans are of how poorly we treat and have treated immigrants. Consider this sobering fact: It wasn’t until the middle of America’s involvement in World War II (1943) that Chinese-American persons—people of Chinese ancestry, born and raised in families that had lived for several generations in the US—were allowed to become naturalized citizens.

Just because your last name was Li or Chin, and it wasn’t Smith or Schmidt, you couldn’t vote even though you were born in the US, went to school all your life in the US, and raised your own family in the US. You and your children weren’t entitled to any benefits of citizenship simply because your ancestors were born far, far away, across a big, wide ocean. Funny how those “Smiths” and “Schmidts” whose ancestors also came across an ocean were able to claim US citizenship and vote without any problems, though.

Wonder what the big difference is between these two groups, persons of European ancestry and those of Asian ancestry? Hmm... Do you think it has anything to do with their skin color perhaps?

And you think the Chinese had (and still have) it bad? When did American Indians become US citizens? Their ancestors have dwelt on the North American continent for tens of thousands of years, but most who live within the boundaries of the USA were not able to call themselves American citizens until… No, not 1776 or 1865, but 1924. It actually took until the second decade of the twentieth century for Native Americans to be considered “American.” 

Now, convince me just how “welcoming” American society is if it can't even acknowledge the original inhabitants of this continent or keep any of the treaties it made with their leaders. I'll wait.

The US is so welcoming that we don't even believe that having enough food to eat is a human right. Imagine that! We voted against that proposal in the United Nations, of all places. That attitude certainly goes a long way in explaining our homeless and hunger problems, doesn't it? It's not that Americans can't feed and house our own people, it's that we don't want to.

But it isn’t always about race and ethnicity in the US when it comes to being unwelcoming. Senator Rick Scott (another Floridian) this past week has decided that those who are professed “socialists” aren’t welcome in his state. This announcement has really put a crimp in my vacation plans. I wanted to go south and visit my aunt, uncle and cousins in Florida, along with my sister and brother-in-law who recently retired there. Senator Scott says he doesn’t want any of my no-good socialist money in his state. It’s not good enough for the likes of Florida, like Chinese people’s money isn't, or Cubans’, or Venezuelans’, Syrians’, Iranians’, Russians’, and North Koreans’ money.

If you are trans or non-binary, you’re not wanted in the Sunshine State, either. It’s almost as if your gender identification is seen as a contagious disease. Give Florida its due—they’re racist, fascistic, and terrified of people who don’t meet their expectations of what a boy or a girl is supposed to be like. You could call it “Equal Opportunity Bigotry.”

I know it’s not only the state of Florida that has passed these prejudiced decrees recently, but it is the perfect example of evil in action. Florida is full of hateful opportunists who are riding a wave of terror of “otherness” and hoping to make a profit while doing so. Look at what color Florida is on this map and what it stands for:

It's nothing to be proud of, in my opinion. I wouldn't be planning a vacation to Disney World or Universal Studios, in other words, unless you're a raving homophobic/transphobic, anti-Asian, anti-socialist. Then, by all means, go right ahead! (Just don't bother to return home. We can isolate all you bigots in Florida with a simple border wall at the top of the peninsula. We don't want your kind of immigrant in our states.)

A year ago, it was all “Hate the Russians! Love Zelensky! Who needs to spend billions on universal health care when America can spend it on the military-industrial complex and make our Congress members with insider stock trading deals richer!” And soon it will be, “Stop eating Chinese food and hate the Chinese! We’re at war with China over… over...”  

Gee, I forget! Why is the US mad at China? Is it because the have decent reserves of lithium? Silicon chip manufacturing? Or because they’ve been trying to bring about a diplomatic end to the conflict in Ukraine, saving lives and ending the madness in the process?  

It doesn’t take much to start a hate campaign against another country or ethnic or racial or political or gender group in the US. I sure wish our so-called “leaders” could do something to stop all this hate-mongering and sit down like rational adults and work out their differences with others in the best interest of every living thing on the planet before a nuclear war breaks out. (And no, corporations aren’t people, so they don’t count as “living things.”)

You could say that I’m just more than a little tired of the United States leading the way in all this worldwide nastiness; aren’t you?

The initials “US” are very appropriate. The initials US can also stand for the Unwelcoming Society.” It's what we've becomeor perhaps we've always been this way? It's time we stopped and took steps to reverse this horrid trend, don't you think?


Related Articles and Articles of Interest

Digital History: The Chinese Exclusion Act https://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=2&psid=3291

Chinese Immigrants Sue Florida Over Unconstitutional, Discriminatory Law https://popularresistance.org/chinese-immigrants-sue-florida-over-unconstitutional-and-discriminatory-law/

ICE, Homeland Security Accused Of Targeting Outspoken Migrant Worker For Deportation https://scheerpost.com/2023/05/27/ice-homeland-security-accused-of-targeting-outspoken-migrant-worker-for-deportation/

Afghan families traverse most of Latin America to seek asylum at the US border https://theworld.org/stories/2023-05-17/afghan-families-traverse-most-latin-america-seek-asylum-us-border

Why are these Afghan refugees still stuck in limbo? https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2023/05/24/two-years-after-us-withdrawal-afghan-refugees-still-stuck-in-limbo/ 

Dozens of GoFundMe Users Seek Funds to Flee States Passing Transphobic Laws  https://scheerpost.com/2023/05/31/dozens-of-gofundme-users-seek-funds-to-flee-states-passing-transphobic-laws/

Target Accused of “Selling Out the LGBTQ+ Community to Extremists”  https://scheerpost.com/2023/05/27/target-accused-of-selling-out-the-lgbtq-community-to-extremists-after-pulling-pride-merchandise/

Many transgender health bills came from a handful of far-right interest groups https://apnews.com/article/transgender-health-model-legislation-5cc4a7cb4ab69150f670d06fd0f361ab

About Quislings

East Palestine, 100 Days Later

US Troops To Train Peruvian Armed Forces, Proves US Behind Coup  https://popularresistance.org/us-troops-to-train-peruvian-armed-forces-proves-us-behind-coup/

$1.1 Trillion Was Spent On Militarism And War Last Year

Media's Complete U-Turn After Russia Wins Bakhmut

Fossil Fuel Companies Owe $5.4 Trillion In Reparations, Study Says

10 Years After Snowden: Some Things Are Better, Some We’re Still Fighting For https://scheerpost.com/2023/05/23/10-years-after-snowden-some-things-are-better-some-were-still-fighting-for/

The Democratic Party’s Crucifixion of Matt Taibbi https://chrishedges.substack.com/p/the-democratic-partys-crucifixion

Manufactured crisis over US debt ceiling sets stage for bipartisan assault on Social Security and Medicare https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2023/05/25/pers-m25.html 

Kissinger vs. ‘The Most Dangerous Man in America’ https://scheerpost.com/2023/05/28/kissinger-vs-the-most-dangerous-man-in-america/

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  1. The screed on the Statue of Liberty has changed from 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free' to a more accurate "F$%k off!" It's both ironic and tragic that a nation built by immigrants - forced and otherwise - on the ruins of Native culture is telling prospective immigrants not to come.

    1. It is ironic and it's just plain mean-spirited. How can we call ourselves "a nation of immigrants" and treat immigrants like dirt? How can we look ourselves in the mirror and think we're a "democracy" that represents "the people" if all we do is deport people, kick the natives off their land, and starve and leave homeless (and without health care) the most vulnerable of our society? The US is a joke of a nation and society! Time to repent and change our ways for the better!


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