Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Scapegoating Disguised as Sustainability

My recent letter to the editor:

I must admit that I was surprised to read that immigrants are to blame for the US’s supposed population problem in Mark Powell’s Nov 17-30, 2011 letter to The Bridge (Montpelier, VT's free independent local newspaper). I assume that when the author, representing the New England Coalition for Sustainable Population, declared that immigration is the cause of our problems, he was not talking about college-educated, white British people or English-speaking, middle-class Canadians. While less explosive than the dehumanizing and racialized terms like “illegal aliens,” use of “documented and undocumented” still conjures up images of people of color, specifically those crossing the militarized border between Mexico and the U.S. That the people who have been impoverished by U.S. policy and multinational corporations to the point that they are forced to leave their families and communities to work tirelessly to harvest our crops and keep our dairy farms alive is disgraceful. Europeans who colonized the Americas, including my own ancestors who came as Pilgrims without invitation, were undocumented, as it were. They proceeded to enslave the people indigenous to this land and later stole and enslaved people from Africa. Their descendants have benefited from such genocide and some seem to feel entitled to determine who belongs in this country and who doesn’t. We need to take a long look at our nation’s history, our personal ancestry, and the sustainability of our own lifestyles. This is not a time for pointing fingers, nor for perpetuating racism and classism by scapegoating groups of people. This is a time for solidarity. This is a time for identifying and unlearning narrow thinking that divides us, seeking creative solutions, and working together for justice.

This letter to the editor is in response to this:
"Uncontrolled Population Will Lead to Famine" Page 26, Nov 17-30, 2011

Trust Your Struggle graffiti art in Brooklyn, NYC.
Speak the Truth, Even
if your Voice Shakes.

New Year's (at least in the Gregorian/Western/Christian calender) Resolution:
Write more Letters to the Editor. 300 words or less?!

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