Issue 177 - March 30, 2006

Radio BC: The Insanity of Black Anti-Immigrant Politics

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Radio BC audio commentary in plain text format

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We at Black Commentator have found it very disturbing to witness the vehement, and sometimes verbally violent, reaction to our support for the rights of Latino immigrants. It is also quite upsetting to see Black legislators making common cause with the most racist elements of the Democratic and Republican parties, in proposing draconian measures to criminalize those who are undocumented. It is an extremely stupid approach to the liberation of Black people, which can only happen in an environment where everyone is liberated. That's why, historically Black people have been in the forefront of society-wide liberation - because we knew that it was in our own best interest. And our elected representatives have historically understood this paradigm. But there is a new group out there, who somehow believe that there is political profit in allying Blacks with nativist whites - who actively agitate against Black interests, as well as those of Latinos. This is insane.

The greatest political challenge facing African Americans in the urban centers is to find common ground with Latinos. Such ground can be found, in the common need for employment at a living wage, and the struggle against gentrification. This struggle is not about who outnumbers who, but how a better United States can be created. We do not get there by joining forces with those who have made the United States such an often horrific place for Black people. The people who were responsible for those crimes were not Latinos, and the driving forces behind criminalizing Latino immigrants are the same ones that have criminalized whole Black communities, and created an African American gulag in the nation's prisons.

Black people do not have to like Latinos or their culture, nor do they have to like ours. What is important, is to act in our common interest. Immigrants with no rights bring down the standard of living for all of us. Don't fight the immigrant; fight the people who seek to create a subterranean class of workers, whose very presence diminishes the bargaining power of every other American. Labor campaigns such as Justice for Janitors, which engages predominantly Latino workers, have proven that immigrants are anxious to improve their standard of living - to fight for a living wage. When immigrants are paid a living wage, the standards of civilized labor are made stronger, for everyone. But when a whole class of people are made criminals - as Black people are and have been criminalized - then the bar of civilization plummets, straight to the bottom, as do wages.

African Americans have no stake in nativist whites' desire to keep the US of A white. We do have a stake in influencing the political behavior of Latino immigrants, with whom we must negotiate for control of the cities. It is a fool's game to side with the enemy in this historic encounter. We know who the enemy is - the same one who brought us to this country in chains, who is also the same one who stole half of Mexico. Let's not be confused. For Radio BC, I'm Glen Ford.

You can visit the Radio BC page to listen to any of our audio commentaries voiced by BC Co-Publisher and Executive Editor, Glen Ford. We publish the text of the radio commentary each week along with the audio program.



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