From New America Media
A trend of targeted violence is erupting.
When you hear "immigration," most people think of Mexico, or the Latino population. I can't disagree that even I tend to focus on the plight of our Latina/o sisters and brothers when I see their peaceful protests raided by police, or racist signs about immigrants needing to "go home," or when I witness billboards like the one I pass everyday that has a picture of a White man, arms folded staring into the camera, wearing a sheriff's outfit that reads, "NO ALIENS ALLOWED HERE. We do not support illegal immigration."
I am a child of immigrants. My parents came to this country from the Philippines over thirty years ago and have endured more stories of racism, shame, and forced assimilation than I can possible communicate or fathom. Their stories are real yet unbelievable. Most people wouldn't believe that my father lost his front tooth because a stranger threw a glass bottle at his face while he crossed the street. Most people wouldn't believe that my mother received a failing grade in her nursing clinical courses, not because of academic performance in which she was receiving good scores, but because her instructor wrote, "Language Difficulties" in the side margin and she was asked to leave the program after years of academic slaving. Never mind the lawyers who told her she'd never win a case in Ohio about racial and ethnic discrimination, "the jury would think exactly like the instructor," they advised. And they were right. My mother is perfectly bi-lingual and speaks English more frequently than Tagalog. Whose story would you believe?
When I think of immigration I think of my father's frequent fights he had with strangers who demanded he return to his own country. I think of my parents strength and how often even I have overlooked their stories of survival and bitterness. When I read stories like the one above, I think of my father's angry retort to that racist demand to go back to one's own country.
He replied, "I'll go back to mine if you go back to yours. This isn't your country. It was founded on stealing it from Native Americans. This is their country. So I'll go back, if you go back, that is, if you know your history. Do you?"
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
From New America Media