Jews menaced by a Cowboy in this 19th century anti-semitic drawing. Image: Bancroft Library, Berkeley, CA
I dont know how anyone takes Ann Coulter seriously, let alone as a right wing conservative pundit. She is bat shit crazy, but lets assume that she has some degree of sanity in order to evaluate her recent comments on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanoploulous.
She argues that “We owe black people something. We have a legacy of slavery.” She further affirms that “civil right are for blacks.”- Obviously she has not read the Bill of Rights.
But what gets insane about her whole line of reasoning is that she goes on to say “What have we done to the immigrants?…IMMIGRANTS HAVEN’T EVEN BEEN IN THIS COUNTRY.”
I don’t think Coulter understands what she is saying. Obviously this is the part where Coulters conservative history lessons tuned out immigrant rights issues, but we should be counting our blessings that at least the Conservative values filter left Jim Crow and slavery in the lesson plans. Right.
So for the Coulter-gap-in-history-lessons lets point out 5 Things that “have [been] done to immigrants” who have from the beginning made up the foundation of our country:
- The first travesty that can be counted amongst the immigration right that required protecting in the USA surprisingly begins with where Coulters elementary school history lessons ended- Slavery. Yes, slavery was a forced migration of people for the purpose of economically benefiting from their forced labor. Surprisingly enough when it comes to immigration rights issues, this remains the core of why immigrants rights should matter to all Americans- labor abuse of immigrants who are vulnerable and often times forced into modern day slavery, yes that exists here in the US.
- The next travesty that occurred to our immigration policy was the racist 1790 act that limited naturalization to “free white persons”. See that would benefit people like Coulter who would not ever face discriminatory immigration policies and could sit from her place of privilege and play stupid when it comes to protecting the dignity and humanity of others, others who happen to not be “free white persons.” It was only in the 1860’s the citizenship was granted to Blacks and not until the 1950’s when my people- Asians- were granted citizenship! So without the CIVIL RIGHTS movement incorporating my peoples struggle, I couldn’t have become an American citizen, but then again, for Coulter’s racist and narrow-minded view that is perfectly fine- I mean Black people just joined the party and that takes time to get used to, right?
- The Know Nothings- is probably a GREAT way to describe Coulter. If she lived during that time she would be competing with Robert T. Conrad, these were vicious group of xenophobic baboons that co-opted, much like today’s Tea Party, the Republican party. For them the “undesirable” were Catholics, Jews, Italians, Poles and Irish especially. “Irishmen need not apply” was common form of discrimination and racist policies targeting immigrants, but of coarse for Coulter this was not a civil rights issues. For Coulter the proper place for the 6 million Jews would have been Europe, where during Nazi German times they would be annihilated, obviously in her insane world perspective this equation doesn’t sum up- Jews white people right?
- In 1875, the United States began to understand that there needed to be some controls placed on immigration, rightly so, a sovereign nation requires controlling who comes into the country, so the Page Act was passed, becoming the country’s first Immigration legislative act. What the law targeted specifically was to categorize from the onset was that Asian contract laborers were undesirable, Asian women were undesirable because they promoted prostitution (Orientalism at its best!). The Republican Horace F. Page who introduced the legislation in Congress stated the legislation was to “end the danger of cheap Chinese labor and immoral Chinese women” (sound familiar….?).
- The list goes one, 5 is not a short list, its the beginning of the list of long discriminatory and racist immigration polices that squarely place immigration rights within the realm of civil rights. But looking at the Coulter prism I would point out the fact that even after successful and legal immigration, immigrant communities faced massive discriminatory and racist polices both under the government and by private institutions. Jews were prevented from attending universities, Blacks couldn’t attend law school, women weren’t allowed to go to schools, minorities were prevented from buying land (businesses…how does that square with Coulter-business-above-all-menatlity), Asian men werent allowed to marry white women (Blacks and Whites couldnt marry in many states.) Before 1970’s segregationists used restrictive covenants to keep out certain races (Jews and Blacks in particular) from purchasing homes in certain neighborhoods (South Central vs. Beverly Hills ever wonder why one is the ghetto the other is the most expensive zip code in the world?) The Fair Housing Act of 1968- the civil rights movement- destroyed these segregationists attempts at keeping our nation in the dark ages of equality by making housing discrimination on the basis of race or color, including racially restrictive covenants, illegal.
The list goes on. Ann Coulter’s interview can be watched at the HuffPost. Thanks for joining me on a stroll through discriminatory and racist immigration policy’s in the USA!