By Frederick H. Lowe
President Donald Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico has sparked a sometimes bitter conversation between African Americans and Hispanics as to whether blacks should care and become involved.
Some of the responses from blacks are pretty frank, citing racist or current racist and even violent interactions with Mexicans. Other responses are more tolerant. And the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, a black immigration organization, said Trump’s policy continues the nation’s sordid history of tearing apart nonwhite families beginning with slavery and Native Americans.
Much of the discussion is taking place on Facebook. It was there that Stacey Patton, a journalist, wrote, “I can’t get with Black folks who be like screw Mexicans! What’s going on the border is not OUR fight. Plus, illegal immigration hurts black folks.” Patton added that migration is a human right.
Another person voiced a very different opinion.
“I ain’t forgot most them come here and start calling us “niggers” and vote for Trump when they learn to speak English,” the person wrote.
I have been called nigger several times by Mexicans who also gave me the I- will- kill- you-look. Even in benign situations, Mexicans let blacks know they hate them. In one of the waiting rooms at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Mexicans refused to sit next to blacks.
I was a young reporter at the Chicago Tribune when I was assigned to cover a job demonstration at the city’s old post office. Hispanic men said blacks had tails like animals, something I expected to hear from members of the Klu Klux Klan, not a group of people blacks were supposed to form an alliance with. The audience cheered, and the Hispanic women laughed. One man said blacks had no dignity. I was a young man when that happened and it has stuck with me until now.
When Eva Longoria, a Mexican actress, married Tony Parker, point guard for the San Antonio Spurs, in 2007, she had to tell her parents Parker was European not black. Parker was raised in France.
A Hispanic woman knows Hispanics have problems if not a deep hatred of blacks. “I understand why some black people show hesitance because anti-blackness is rampant in Latino society. However, we as oppressed people can overcome these antagonisms through mutual struggle,” she said.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that Hispanic gangs in Los Angeles killed black men on orders from the Mexican Mafia, a gang based in the California State Prison system. A study by the University of Hawaii reported that the majority of hate crimes in Southern California are caused by Mexican gangs targeting blacks.
Federal authorities report that more than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the border. The separation is designed to deter illegal immigration to this country, according to a new policy announced by the Department of Homeland Security.
Pew Research Center reported that 11.7 million Mexicans were living in the U.S. in 2014 and about half were living here illegally. Mexico is this country’s largest source of immigrants, making up 28% of all U.S. immigrants.
The backdrop of Mexican children being separated from their parents was pointed out in a news release by the Black Alliance for Just Immigration.
BAJI called Trump’s policy the latest form of terror. “This cruel policy falls in line with the shameful American tradition of tearing families apart–a tradition upon which this country was founded and from which it gained its wealth. From slavery to Japanese internment, the U.S. has continuously ripped families apart, causing deep intergenerational trauma that continues to ripple through communities of color across the country, ” Opal Tometi, executive director of BAJI, wrote.
Another person was sympathetic with Patton to a point.
“I feel you, but we aren’t in a position to help anyone. We can’t even help Flint, Michigan, get the lead out the (drinking) water. No need in trying to reform immigration policy for foreigners,” the person wrote.
Another writer, like most who responded, agreed with initial theme.
“Not to mention that the crime they are committing is a misdemeanor! And not to mention that they are fleeing horrors! Thank you, Stacey Patton. Oh, one more thing: separating families like they are is SICK!,” the person wrote.