Thursday, July 10, 2014

Managing the Optics: Black Conservative Race Hustlers and the Anti-Immigrant Protests in Murrieta, California

The harassment and poor treatment of the refugee families and children in Murrieta, California by Tea Party militia hooligans and thug nativists is embarrassing. I am not bewildered, although I will confess to being disgusted, by how those who wrap themselves in the flag of American Exceptionalism and tired bromides that "America is the greatest country on Earth!" do not understand that a truly great country offers aid and comfort to those in need.

The 24/7 news media is a circus. The Right-wing echo chamber is the center ring, and is in many ways, the greatest show on Earth. As I wrote here regarding D'Souza's propaganda piece "America", and have mentioned many times elsewhere, there is a special role to be played by black and brown people in the Right-wing's human zoo and freak show. 

Black Americans (and other people of color) are loathed by conservatives because conservatism and racism are one in the same thing in the post civil rights era. Black Americans are loved by conservatives when they can be used as part of a political blackface routine or passion play, acting as human proof that white conservatives are not racists because they have a "best black friend" who can vouch for them.

Racism involves a mix of fascination with and disgust for the Other. The Tea Party GOP's relationship with people of color is a clear object lesson in that dynamic.

The protests against Hispanic refugee children and their families which are occurring in Murrieta, California are not spontaneous. Organized anti-immigrant activist groups are coordinating the "protests" with the Right-wing media. Consequently, the optics of the events must be managed and massaged: the crowd should be cross generation, multiracial, and multiethnic. People of color, "Latinos" and "Hispanics" especially, should be foregrounded, as their presence excuses away the ugliness, meanness, xenophobia, nativism, and bigotry on display in Murrieta, California. 

The ultimate trump card in this act of political theater is the obligatory black person. Because black folks are identified in America's public memory as having a unique historical experience with racism and discrimination, their presence is a magical salve which fully insulates the White Right and other nativists from the charge that they are bigots.

Thus the irony, for all of the White Right's claims to be "colorblind" and how "only liberals see race", their media and propaganda apparatus are fixated on featuring black people--distinguished only by the fact of their color--who support the Tea Party GOP's agenda. 

There is a need for a serious public conversation about how illegal immigration has a particularly disparate and punishing impact on the job prospects of the black working class and poor, and is especially harmful to young low and semi-skilled African-American men. In these moments, the White Right loves to trot out Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams to offer their standard (and very much discredited) libertarian talking points about illegal immigration, labor markets, and how the minimum wage hurts black people. 

Of course, the White Right is not interested in improving the life chances of black folks: their policy positions across a range of issues have a disproportionate and negative impact on communities of color. Moreover, the White Right advances a political agenda which actually subverts the concerns about jobs and economic well-being as expressed by the African-American "protesters" in Murrieta, California.

A black face prominently displayed is a pawn in their game. The Right-wing media will slum and cherry pick one black person who can then stand in for Black America's public opinion. The outlier is transformed into the norm. Alternatively, the White Right can search through its database of black conservative race hustling operatives whose only purpose it so shuck and buck as professional shoeshine artists for the Tea Party GOP. Both are tokens for the White Right's political slot machine. 

The choreographed political "protests" in Murrieta, California is just one more spectacle where the "talents" of the "black conservative" are in demand.  


Myshkin the Idiot said...

"we can do something for these children coming here illegally, but we can't do anything for our own homeless"

What part of overcrowded detention center sounds like an appealing solution. These kids aren't getting amnesty. They're being slowly ground by the gears of a bureaucracy that doesn't want them here.

chauncey devega said...

Stop with your facts. Geez. I am very curious about the woman in the Fox News story. Time to see what public info there is out there on her.

Adam King said...

No country should be forced to endure an invasion of people who refuse to learn the local language or customs, but instead force their own language and customs onto the existing population. It already happened with native americans, and now you want it to happen again?

Myshkin the Idiot said...

Other than the smugglers, someone's gettin paid:

"Presented here is a compendium of research identifying the companies most heavily invested in the immigration detention business, and charting the increase in their lobbying activities over the last decade -- not only in terms of dollars spent but also in terms of the variety of government entities targeted."

"The three largest corporations with stakes in immigration detention today are Corrections Corporations of America (CCA), the GEO Group, Inc., and the Management and Training Corporation (MTC). In 2010, CCA and GEO reported annual revenues of 1.69 billion and 1.17 billion respectively, but because neither the corporations nor ICE make the necessary data publicly available, it is so far not possible to determine what percentage of these profits are attributable to ICE contracts."

chauncey devega said...

So much cluttered thinking going on in your comment I will leave others to dissect it. Teachable moment.

SabrinaBee said...

Well, that certainly explains a lot.

Black Romulan said...

OK, I'll bite:
a. European imperialism was wholly based on invading countries and imposing European values, language and culture onto the existing native populations (Native Americans across North, Central and South America included; see Monroe Doctrine).

b. This influx of South American refugees seeking political asylum is an international humanitarian crisis, to which we as supposed international leaders and leaders within the Americas (again, see Monroe Doctrine) are honor bound to help address. This is another one of those instances where the USA is not above the established framework of international law that we claim to support, endorse and uphold.

c. America is supposed to be a melting pot based, in part, on the credo "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

d. Would you feel the same way, Mr. King, if these were Irish or Australian or even Serbian children coming here escaping violence and persecution?

e. In that same vein, 100 years ago that "invasion of people who refuse to learn the local language or customs, but instead force their own language and customs onto the existing population" were South Europeans like Italians. If that same anti-immigrant sentiment took hold back then (see Sacco and Vanzetti) as we have here today a lot of TRUE AMERICANS would be TRUE EUROPEANS or TRUE PERMANENT DISPLACED PERSONS. Seems funny how those facts of our own immigration history never gets discussed as part of this debate.
f. Yes, it had happened with Native Americans - though part of me is afraid you mean here that Native Americans are the invading population into the US and not the other way around - but national borders is, again, a European concept that had been imposed externally upon native populations worldwide (see Sudan, Palestine, Iraq, etc.) The natural and historical order of things is that populations migrate and immigrate freely. Saying "no country should be forced to endure an invasion..." ignores the fundamental purpose of drawing up borders in the first place: exclusion. Finally...

g. Increasingly the world is becoming cosmopolitan, and basic human rights should no longer be the sole province of individual nation states. I refer you to Seyla Benhabib's "The Rights of Others" to begin to see how this international community should handle such humanitarian crises. Tolerance and understand, especially from the global leader nation, is the best way to continue to serve our increasingly integrated global community... especially in a region we "Americans" claim sovereign dominion.

Adam King said...

B. Nothing says we can't address the crisis by fixing up their countries. Surely we could reach more people that way.

Melting pot =/= uprooting of established culture. I'm not advocating
for isolationism. A reasonable proportion of people from all over the
world ought to be allowed to move here.

D. The Irish are fine now that terrorism has become such a taboo thing for them, but again there is such a thing as too many.

The Italians and others eventually assimilated and contributed some of
the greatest landmarks of 20th century culture in places such as film
for example.

F. WTF are you smoking. It is a physical
impossibility for native americans to have invaded the US, otherwise
they wouldn't be so native.

G. Playing santa to the world is a
thankless job, and there is no reason why we should do it. It isn't
beyond others to fix their own problems, or at least to have us fix
their problems on their own terf in special cases.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

"uprooting of established culture"
"invasion of people who refuse to learn the local language"

Got some real paranoia going on there. I doubt you have any real concerns about what happened to Native Americans in the history and present.

kokanee said...

Well done. Top marks!

chauncey devega said...

Lots of truth telling there! The story is not a simple one. Model minorities, illegal immigrants, and elevated ethnics stand on the backs and throats of black Americans.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

I get what you're saying and it's a deep concern about our society and how it functions.

I think, though, there are a lot of instances of immigrants and their children siding with social justice advocacy. Many of the old efforts at unionization for people of color were through the efforts of native black Americans and immigrants from Latin America, Japan, China, and even people from the South Pacific Islands.

There is also the problem of people just wanting to get ahead no matter the sociography of American life. I think that's where we find an alliance of conservatism and non-traditional Americans.

You're right about the right-wing's turn on Muslim Americans. I think a lot of Latino's see it too, especially in regards to these protests at Murrietta.

Courtney H. said...

@ Skilletblonde:
Excellent points that you have made in this comment!

skilletblonde said...

You may want to check out:
When Brown People Think They're White

Also Raw Story is reporting this today:

"WI Latino invited as scenery derails immigration rally by calling Obama the N-word"

Nina Flowers said...

There is unfortunate racism against blacks by brown folks I have experienced it myself personally. I have also witnessed it being thrown upon others as well. I remember when living in South Florida, Habitat for Humanity built homes for black families. Many in the Cuban community came out and had organized protests calling for the "crack heads" to not come into their communities.

Nina Flowers said...

That is too bad that you were treated bad by other people of color. My only bad experience has been with Brown folks. I find that I can have some really good relationships with people in the various Asian communities. There are a lot of establishments that I frequent: Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. and I've never had any bad experiences.
No I don't think you are racist for being against amnesty. I am against it myself. Frankly what it does it legitimize the real roots of the immigration crisis from Central and South America. I have kept on ranting about the disgusting policies of nation destroying that were really put into action by Ronald Reagan. He called his racist, kill all social programs and education crusade, "fighting communism". Also I get a bit frustrated with many of my fellow liberals who seem to go along with not calling out illegal immigration as it is also fueled by corporate race to the bottom ideology.
Another thing too that I also like to point out to others is the double standard... The government is very good at immediately deporting Asians - regardless of creed (Japanese, Indian, Chinese, etc.). Here in my neck of the woods, we had hundreds of Chinese illegal immigrants come ashore from a ship. They were all deported in about 72 hours. Then again, Asian folks tend to compete well and outdo the white hierarchy, the south of the border folks typically do not so we see who stays and who goes. Need I even mention the successful aggressive keeping out of the Haitian migrants?

Nina Flowers said...

I sometimes don't understand how many Muslim folks can side with the wing nuts. It's right-wing imperialism and greed that destroyed democracy in Iran and is making sure that the predominantly Muslim nations do not get to experience it... Democracy means transparency and that's bad for business. I did two deployments to Saudi Arabia and don't need to explain why it's the US Army that guards the king!

Nina Flowers said...

If you have not already, check out the story of Equatorial Guinea (if you have not already). The US would not have any relations with the country. Suddenly oil was discovered and at the request of the oil companies, GW Bush reopened our embassy there. The dictator (Obiang) gets paid hundreds of millions directly while the oil companies fly their workers in from Texas each week. It's disgusting and something I myself have been active in speaking out against. Thankfully Senator Carl Levin took up the fight against this garbage.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

I assume their conservatism stems from the right wing schtick of "values voters."

as for the illegal immigration thing... I don't know what to say. Race to the bottom is a huge problem, but I imagine if these folks could compete in the market place at the same level as any native born American, then hiring them wouldn't be as enticing or lucrative. I've always considered advocating for more open borders, but I'm always open for conversation.

A friend of mine put it to me that our quota system for immigration is back logged, probably in particular for Mexico, our largest source of undocumented migrants. So a lot of folks wait and wait and wait and never get access to an open visa because the visa holder just renews when it expires. They get frustrated by the long wait and impossibility and take their chances crossing illegally.

SabrinaBee said...

I haven't yet but thanks for mentioning it.I am not surprised. This is what we do.
Many of the children coming here are from Honduras. Here is a little tidbit of what is happening in Honduras:

"The right-wing Nationalist party makes their name by
controlling every aspect of Honduran life and politics and does not
allow dissent. Honduras attacks its citizens in the name of national
security while simultaneously letting drug cartels prance through the
country unaffected."

The "right-wing coupe happened in 2009, i order to keep them (the illegitimate government) in power, we have trained elite police forces, that are now terrorizing the country.

We want to benefit from the resources of the country but absolve ourselves of the results. IMO these people are simply following their resources.

SabrinaBee said...

Skilletblonde is right. Many of them have fallen for the meme of America being the best country, without understanding our role in making their own countries a living hell.

SabrinaBee said...

Great post! A lot to think about in there. I suspect many immigrants that come here and turn right-wing, are suffering from the same brainwashing that makes impoverished right-wingers vote against their own interests. That type of brainwahsing is ingrained in the fabric of this country and permeates, every avenue they might encounter when preparing to come here. Desperation and unfamiliarity, makes them open to just about anything.

Think about it. If they are coming from a war torn country, many of the first people they will meet will be the military, which is overwhelmingly right-wing. Or humanitarian workers that are culled from Christians in this country. And well, Hobby Lobby... need I say more? By the time that they are here, they already have a network, likely the only network, in which they have to depend. There they learn to pursue the "American dream" or at least learn to function, and which party aligns with their religious leanings or conversion. Then they are housed in their pockets of communities where the prior brainwashed can continue to apply doses of group think.

Traditional Spanish, Cubans excluded, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans (not necessarily the newly more southern Spanish) Have been in the struggle early on. But, they are not the ones coming now.

CrystalCo530 said...

Hey all. I was just hoping to add a few things to the conversation, since my dad came here from Mexico when he was 15 and I grew up in a largely immigrant community. First of all, I know that racism towards black people has an ugly streak among Chicanos. It's awful and unacceptable. I know that by not speaking up against it I have been a participant in it, but in the past I justified it by reminding myself of all the times I'd been called a b***er, been spat at, been told to wash the dirt off of my face, etc. etc. etc. Many of my family has had this happen to them, and to this day they're terrorized constantly by the police, in spite of being US citizens. I speak from experience that in the face of ugly and oftentimes dangerous racism, it can be comforting to distinguish yourself from other types and targets of oppression by clinging to the leg of whiteness. This doesn't excuse it.
I would also like to add that racism towards indigenous people, many of whom could consider themselves Latino if they so wished, is rampant too, as oftentimes they're regarded as black and/or lumped in with black folks. Once again, clinging to the leg of whiteness.

That being said, I disagree with the notion that many immigrants are buying into the idea of America as a promised land. My dad speaks constantly about how he didn't want to come to here, that he wanted to stay in Mexico. He was going to school in Mexico, he had a horse and a weekend job. When he came here he had to stop going to school and just work full time. But my family had been migrant farm workers for generations, travelling from Mexico to Oregon, working all along the way. It became harder and harder for them to do that over the years, with increasing border militarization that started after the post-bracero period of border industrialization. So my grandparents had no choice but to settle here, with my dad making the journey by himself when he was old enough, at age 15. It was that or grow up separated from his parents and siblings.
I know that in many immigrant rights groups, there is an active push towards recognizing that migration is not always the first choice for many of the people who cross the border. Sometimes it's the only choice.
Lastly, I am hungry to know more about the history of immigrants from Mexico, Central and South America making gains at the expense of black people. I studied History in college, but my knowledge on this is limited to Latino immigrants replacing black, unionized workers in meatpacking plants. I am always looking to learn more. I do immigrant rights work in the Portland area, I think this is a crucial conversation that needs to continue happening. If anyone has any sources on this and has the time to share, please let me know. Thanks.

chauncey devega said...

What great sharing. Yes, discrimination and bigotry against the Other--and often for different reasons--is a common experience in this country and elsewhere. The notion of a natural black/brown alliance must be debunked. Instead, we should talk about how our interests may coincide, how they are different, and what ways can we come together in a tactically and strategically sound way when it benefits all parties involved.

I am glad that you chimed in. I hope that folks who have more wisdom and knowledge to offer on the great questions and observations you offered do share their wisdom.

Veri1138 said...

Before 1914, one could travel from London to Beijing with only identity papers stating their identity. There were restrictions, varying from place to place, such as inability to do unregistered business while a foreigner in another territory.

The rise of nationalism during the 19th century, particularly in Europe, also helped bring about closed or restricted borders. Racism, originally defined, was not of skin color - as in America today - but of nationality against nationality. Nationalism was particularly encouraged in Germany prior to German Unification under The Prussians. And until the dissolution of her empire, Austro-Hungary was one of the most multi-ethnic societies to ever exist in Europe.

The Armistice of 1918 helped end open borders. The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, resulting in a Soviet takeover of Russia and Ukraine, also meant closed borders.

Today, nationalism and extremism are the order of the day. Whether it be based upon where you live, religious affiliation, or an economic stratification of Western society currently being imitated in other countries.

Gable1111 said...

Yeah, but in saying "many of them" are we falling victim to the same stereotype used against us? Does many of them mean we can't help any of them?

Gable1111 said...

Don't want to cause trouble with my brethren here, but I have to push back on the immigrants are naturally against black folk meme, and therefore we can't help kids seeking refuge, which is what this is.

Does anyone see how that view is the same stereotypical view that is used to justify all manner of discrimination and racist horrors against our own people?

Gable1111 said...

I just read this morning that the Tea Party GOP in the House passed a "tax cut" bill for $287 billion dollars, unpaid for, meaning that this will add that much to the deficit. But when it comes to the homeless or anything for people not part of the 1%, we have nothing. And when we do, it has to be paid for by taking something else away.

The point here is not so much that homeless should be in "overcrowded detention centers" either, but that we have the money to do better by them as well, and that should have been our first responsibility.

Gable1111 said...

Thanks for that. Too many people make judgement about people from central and south America, and why they are here, and base their positions on that without knowing.

And yes, there is way too much "clinging to the leg of whiteness" that is unfortunately informing the responses of many non-whites to this unfortunate situation.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

Absolutely. That is the inherent problem in conservative whining about this. They have never invested a political interest in the homeless, even homeless veterans as one meme that came my way suggested.

I imagine the editor of that Fox segment cut out scenes of that woman being more scathing about the structural inequalities in America, leaving us with just outrage at the "protection" of illegal immigrants.

Gable1111 said...

Yes, and what we've seen with the Tea Party GOP is that they take a Wile E. Coyote, everything but the kitchen sink approach when it comes to Obama. Anything they can throw at him they will, principle and consistency be damned.

Courtney H. said...

I watched C-SPAN this morning and they had on the ACLU attorney who represents a law firm in Seattle that is suing to keep the kids in the States. Most of the callers (Black and White) were complaining about how the kids were going to cost the government and taxpayers a lot of money.
The last two callers to program (one Black, one White) had the most common sense. The African-American caller brought up the point that you did -- the U.S. has gone into countries around the world and destabilized governments that wanted to help their people and redistribute wealth. She said that people should be mad at the U.S., not these kids.
The White caller said that the kids aren't costing taxpayers as much as the salaries of members of Congress, which she said have spent money trying to defeat healthcare, and sending money elsewhere.

Courtney H. said...

Thank you for your honesty in telling your story. This is how conversations about these issues and healing can start.

Courtney H. said...

Here is a good article about corruption in Equatorial Guinea:

Gable1111 said...

Just watched that second video, and my first thought is, they got us right where they want us. Everyone prominent in that video, particularly the people of color, all should be advocating doing something for those kids. They should be chanting with the Native Americans.

Its the old crabs in a barrel syndrome: because "we" didn't get anything, instead of fighting for something for all, we fight to make sure no one else gets anything.

The one argument presented is, we have homeless here, people starving, etc., and thus we should not do anything to help these kids, because nothing was done for "us." Then the obvious question to them is, where the hell where you when Congress was voting down everything that would have provided relief? Did you go out and protest as you are down there now, protesting against children??

Instead, they got us right where they want, fighting among each other for scraps. And yes, the $3.7 billion is scraps next to the trillions they throw at the one percent to bail them out whenever their bets go bad.

The funds to help these kids and serve the needs of citizens in this country is a pittance next to what we spend on wars and to keep the 1 percent whole. Where were these people when the GOP denied unemployment insurance extension? Where were they when proper funding for stimulus that would have funded infrastructure rebuilding that would have meant good jobs for millions of people, was voted down by the GOP? I find it interesting that these "people of color" come out to stand with tea baggers essentially to protest now? Where were they before?

D. Wright said...

Saying something or other about meritocracy, laziness, irresponsible parents, crackheads, gangbangers and what not. I wish someone in the media would blow the lid on the insincerity of the "what about 'us'" meme once and for all.

SabrinaBee said...

Not at all. Many of them is simply a way of saying not all. A general term. And I certainly don't feel we shouldn't help them. Hell, all of their resources are here, or in the Caymans, why not them? My point was simply to Iillustrate how they can become right wingers in the first place, and how the right holds disproportionately massive influence over every aspect of our society.

SabrinaBee said...

The ugly truth we desperately try to avoid seeing.

Nina Flowers said...

Yes I checked that article out. Sums up what I already knew and what continues to go on all around the world - from Equatorial Guinea to Ukraine to Chile et al. Of course those fighting against these disgusting corporate friendly kleptocracies are "communists" and too many of the old demented Reaganite/Dulles ideologues will insist on using our resources to silence those progressive voices.

Gable1111 said...

And I wonder about that last point, e.g. how is it that the right wingers, as crazy, illogical and negative as they are, hold such sway over the public narrative?

The get the big megaphone because their message serves the divide and conquer approach of the the owners, e.g. keep fighting among themselves over relative nonsense, while we keep our hands in everyone's back pockets and pull the puppet strings. They persist with it because its like salve to a painful wound, in this case serving the needs of a troubled whiteness, that needs to feed on its on superiority, otherwise it is exposed as, at base, the ignorance and stupidity represented by those damned signs.

Then the more important question is, how do you counteract or neutralize that message?

Courtney H. said...

Sad, but true.

Courtney H. said...

@ SabrinaBee:
Thanks for the article. I checked it out.

Nina Flowers said...

Where were they? Not voting that's for sure! They complain about their situation when they look like nothing but worthless whining fools because they don't vote. Here in my area, expansion of Metro transit services was on the ballot and defeated. The turnout was embarrassingly low and a reporter actually interviewed bus riders who admitted that they did not vote. Now of course they are complaining about how they're going to get to work, etc. Same goes for Chicago... Many in the black community especially are upset about the mayor's bold actions (that I actually find myself supporting) but frankly he does not have to care as the voter turnout was shameful as usual. So folks will still complain about things but do nothing when it's time to actually do the grunt work to change things.

SabrinaBee said...

"how do you counteract or neutralize that message?"

Since the opposing party seems impotent, or incompetent by comparison, I am not exactly sure. Looks like we individuals are on our own in term of a counter narrative, Until one gains enough steam to become widespread..

Gable1111 said...

And this is why I find it awfully curious, to put it mildly, that they would show up for this.

TJ Landry said...

Thanks for this. We have more than one background, I really liked this site, but it was getting scary with the generalizations. There is rarely a place for our family to be safe. But this is truly a place for conversations, you've affirmed, and I'm ready once again to hear different perspectives, heal, regroup, and try to move together again.

A lot of life is bravery, which means you can get hurt while you reach towards the light of understanding and fellowship. I'll try to be here more.