on history and not repeating it

One of the reasons I think it’s important that white people / Euro-Americans become more than passing familiar with our ancestors’ sins is so we don’t repeat them. Which is precisely what we are doing right now in Iraq. And since Sam Hurst has already said this (The New Iraq looks an awful lot like the Old Pine Ridge – Rapid City Journal, Mar 18) more eloquently than I would have, I won’t try to restate it. But do read his piece – it’s excellent.

Bonus link: have you heard about the privately-run prisons we’re building to contain the imminent threat to our national security posed by two-year-old immigrant children?

Comments (3)

  1. Skylark

    Ah, immigration. Yet another sticky subject on which I feel torn.

    Sure, I don’t want to repeat past mistakes. I also don’t want to create new mistakes. On one hand, the U.S. could open the borders wide and take in anyone and everyone. On the other hand, we could severely limit immigration in an attempt to keep struggling social services from being deluged with new needy people. (It’s way more complex than that, I know, and there’s quite a bit of xenophobia in the mix.)

    Part of me wants to say Christ calls us to love all people, and keeping people out who want in is not loving. That part of me gets irate when white Americans make stupid remarks like, “Those migrant workers at the orchard live 20 to a house, the house is filthy and the kitchen is covered in grease.” Who says living 20 to a house is bad? If it doesn’t bother them, why shouldn’t they cut their living expenses to a minimum? Where did this rule of one-nuclear-family-per-house come from? I’ve known many single white males who kept a filthy house, too, and that’s not seen as racially offensive. I doubt the Mexicans’ kitchen is all that greasy because it’s American food that’s known for grease, not Mexican.

    Then there’s the other part of me that is concerned by reports coming out of Germany, France and other places that have large immigrant subcultures that have remained distinctly unassimilated after a generation or two. Some say that when ethnic groups tightly retain the identity of their country of origin, this will lead to unrest and violence because the minority and the majority don’t know each other well. Stereotypes will go both ways, these social commentators say, and problems result from the newcomers’ unwillingness to adapt to the dominant culture. That part of me doesn’t cringe when people say, “This is America: learn English.”

    Please hear me out. I don’t want anyone to be oppressed. I don’t want anyone to be the victim of violence and prejudice. As a white person and part of the dominant culture, I want to do what I can to stop the oppressive forces. But on the other hand, I have a hard time saying the solution is for the minorities to staunchly insist they have a right to be where they please and do what they want, all-too-often leading to backlash violence.

    Then there’s the issue of conflict between the immigrants who came here legally and those who came here illegally. Some of the legals are glad to see the illegals, while others hate it and tell them to go back and wait in line like they did. There’s no consensus from that angle.

    What’s the solution? Hell if I know.

  2. carl (Post author)

    Skylark – I would hope we could agree that, whatever your take on immigration, imprisoning children is not justifiable.

  3. Skylark

    Children who are citizens can be arrested and put in jail for things like assault and battery.


    While the story doesn’t say if the girl is a citizen, it’s probably fair to assume she is. As far as I can tell, the school staff felt they had few options other than calling the police because they’re restricted in the physical contact staff can have with students.

    That’s a different situation than immigration, but it does address your statement “imprisoning children is not justifiable.”

    If a family is picked up on illegal immigration charges, should the parents be imprisoned while the children are turned out on the street? Should the kids be put in foster care? We need a total revamping of the immigration system, not just adjustments to how children are handled. Not that I’m opposed to improvements, however small.

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