Dear White Immigrant-Henry

I wrote this as a response to a friend of mine’s post.  Since the Inauguration, I’ve been quite unsettled.  I used as backing some the material from the readings as well as conversations I’ve had with my mentor, Mauricio.

Dear White Immigrant,

Given the history of this country, your skin color gives you many distinct advantages that my second mother, Heather, being black, does not have. (If you would like I can go into these advantages further) These privileges are not your fault, but they come at the expense of those who are not white. Now I know Heather and I don’t know you or your life story.  But I would be hard-pressed to find a harder working person than her.  I know Heather has worked twenty hour days for months without rest.  Single-handedly raised three children and sent them to college.  All while raising three other children—I being one of them.  President Trump’s language about harkening back to the “good old days” (i.e. the Jim Crow era) America should scare the living shit out of Heather as a more financially vulnerable, black immigrant.  My mother is also an immigrant she has much less to be afraid of because she is very financially stable and white.  We also disagree on the notion that a human being can be illegal. One phrase that rings through the American self-image is, “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-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” This quote is engraved onto the Statue of Liberty. The symbolic gatekeeper to our city and our nation.  Every “illegal” immigrant I have spoken to pays taxes in a number of forms.  They will pay taxes, apply for citizenship, never get in trouble with the law, and are still stuck in the red tape, paying into a system that does not afford them the benefits they are paying towards.  I have worked on farms in Pennsylvania and I go to school on the Main Line.  I know that without “illegal” immigrant labor many farms would be forced to close because the average American consumer cares mostly about price even when they have enough disposable income to afford a costlier goods.  Secondly, the evidence that “illegal” immigrants are somehow violent or bring crime into this country is simply not the case in the slightest. That same argument was made in the post-slavery era America when black Americans (formerly owned as property) entered the workforce. The first feature film ever made in America, “The Birth of a Nation” glorified the KKK and vilified the black people as violent rapists unfit for equal citizenship. This racist film was heralded at the time across the country.  Donald Trump in his inaugural address essentially called most of the Latin American immigrants rapists, criminals, and “people that have lots of problems.” This statement is unverifiable.  It plays into the deep-seated racist imagination of our nation.  By continuing this fiction MY President is a scum bag.

With love,

Henry

Sources:

https://www.nps.gov/stli/learn/historyculture/colossus.htm

http://time.com/3923128/donald-trump-announcement-speech/

  1. Mauricio

2 thoughts on “Dear White Immigrant-Henry

  1. riadas99

    “They will pay taxes, apply for citizenship, never get in trouble with the law, and are still stuck in the red tape, paying into a system that does not afford them the benefits they are paying towards.”. This quote resonated with me the most from the letter, it was a powerful statement and well said.

    Reply
  2. amaanstewart

    THIS. IS.EVERYTHING. Henry this is so beautiful and powerful. I could not agree more with what you said. I think this is very important and something everyone should read.

    Reply

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