The latest Pitts column

I can understand Leonard Pitts jr when it comes to addressing bigotry. But at least the “earnest lady” who e-mailed him about his columns in which he addressed bigotry by whites against his fellow African-Americans did not elicit from her that he was a “bigot” for discussing bigotry.  But, I can agree with Mr. Pitts that people who would wish to leave such history behind because it would only make certain ethnic groups resent other ethnic groups (blacks against whites, as an example) are basically in denial.  Human history isn’t all roses after all.  Humans are very capable of some pretty vile acts.  If we refuse to discuss them doesn’t mean that they can ever go away.  At least Pitts wasn’t called a “bigot.”  Unlike myself, when discussing the fact that bigotry isn’t only about race.  It can be about religion as well.  It can be about place in geography.  It can be about the political views you hold.  It can be all about some faction’s dark fantasies about another faction.  Some faction’s dark fantasies about government—any institution within government.  It can be some faction’s dark fantasies about the U.N.  It can be about sex and sexual orientation.  Yes, we need to keep in mind these history lessons.  Only by taking a good hard look at ourselves through an honest assessment of history can we in fact hope to improve, to ultimately leave the shame of our collective past behind.  If we refuse to be honest about the history that collectively defines us, then we are doomed to repeat it.

Where I can disagree somewhat with Mr. Pitts is in his addressing the draconian immigration law.  There are legal methods for immigrants to come here, to work here, who do not desire a permanent residence in this country and who are only here for a job.  It is called a green card.  Don’t care to get one, then don’t come here.   Even if there are business interests who dearly love the fact that the illegal immigrant can be exploitable cheap labor.  With a green card, the legal immigrant can rightfully make demands of fair employment with fair wages.  Something that can be quickly denied an illegal.  Nor is a legal immigrant with a green card going to spend time in jail for being an unauthorized person on foreign soil.  Here’s the green card, officer.  I have a right to be here.  A legal immigrant doesn’t have to worry about Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law.  Doesn’t matter if he or she came from south of the border; you have the paperwork, you can move freely within the state.  Governor Brewer in signing the first legislation trying to curtail illegal immigration was essentially trying to protect the interests of her state and citizens.

The second legislation however, that had followed on the heels of the first, where ethnic studies—involving Mexican-American studies being done in schools in Tucson, Arizona would now be eliminated; I can find something to agree with Pitts here;

“Like the lady who called me, the governor seems to prefer that hard stories not be told, that doing so detracts from American unity.  As one online observer put it, ‘We need to focus on America instead of promoting everyone else.’

The problem with that reasoning is obvious:  America IS everyone else, a nation composed of other nations, a culture made of other cultures, a history built of other histories.  And yes, sometimes, those histories will be hard to hear.”

The problem with people who don’t care to see minorities promoted by “ethnic studies” should remember that they are as much of an ethnic as any minority.  Caucasians are equally ethnic whether their ancestors came from the British Isles, France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Russia, the Baltic countries and etc.  And a history of what the white people did in building this country, is an ethnic study in itself.  Apparently, white people don’t mind promoting themselves, they just mind sharing the stage with minorities.  That’s an argument of bigotry in itself.  In this, Pitts is more than correct.

But the second legislation that also contained the elements of opposing an advocacy of overthrowing the U.S. Government should actually have the “TEA Party” movement hopping mad.  In his letter “Boycott the boycotters” (Spokesman-Review 16 May 2010), Bill Stroyan is all for Governor Brewer signing into law the anti-illegal immigration bill and is all for having the “TEA Party” movement boycott any state, county or city who would boycott Arizona over such a law.  Further, to have the movement vote against any politician who advocates such a boycott and vote for those who do not.  But, don’t the “TEA Party” movement advocate the overthrow of the U.S. Government because of who is in charge?  Doesn’t such a movement fear this government because of its “communistic” overtones?  Meanwhile cheering on Arizona for pushing what becomes a little too much like a totalitarian nightmare?  The sort of movement that fears “totalitarianism” from the feds and promotes it at the state level can only be described as very mixed up.  So yes, I can understand Pitts in this.  The U.S. and its history isn’t solely that of one ethnicity or one culture, it is a polyglot of everything.


2 Responses to “The latest Pitts column”

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