I’m writing in response to Al Williams’ Nov. 28 letter to the editor of the Whidbey News-Times regarding citizenship. I will focus on the last five paragraphs of his letter, in which I found his opinions to be rooted in racism.
Mr. Williams takes issue with the fact that “less educated hordes” — by which I believe he is rudely referring to Latinx immigrants — demand that their language and culture be honored in the United States. Of course, these demands should be met.
I’m sorry, Al, but it is not all about white ways of thinking. I implore you to consider why you find it a problem that people of color want to see their histories, culture, traditions and language represented where they live.
Is this really too much of an ask? Why does it make you uncomfortable?
He refers to sanctuary cities as “abominable.” What’s actually abominable is the inhumane treatment of immigrants that continues to this day. The separation of children from their parents at the border, the forced hysterectomies of migrant women, the unsanitary conditions in ICE detention centers, and the mere fact that people are being housed in prisons and jails is what we should actually be concerned about, not the “spray can graffiti” that Al seemingly can’t handle.
He states that Europeans, aka white settlers, were acceptable immigrants because we “transformed” the “stone age culture” that existed on this land. White settlers didn’t “transform” anything. We arrived here, had no idea how to tend to the land and survived because of the generosity and wisdom of indigenous people.
In return, settlers systematically killed or forcefully removed indigenous peoples from their homelands in the name of “manifest destiny.” This was genocide. Simultaneously, enslaved Africans were forced to build the country for free for hundreds of years. Reminder — all Black people are owed reparations from the U.S. government.
This history cannot be whitewashed or forgotten.
Instead of trying to solve “the problem of citizenship,” we should instead be interrogating our internal beliefs; why do so many of us hold dangerous stereotypes surrounding immigrants, and why are so many people fleeing from their home countries to begin with?
Here’s a hint, it has a lot to do with decades of U.S.-funded destabilization in Central and South American countries.
Finally, shame on you, editor, for not sniffing out the xenophobia lurking in Mr. William’s piece.