Friday, June 29, 2007

The United States of Xenophobia

This snip from the Washington Post's post mortem on the immigration bill debacle is quite telling:

Stephanie Usrey strode up to her local Wal-Mart store the other morning with the steely look of a boxer about to step into the ring.

A stay-at-home mother of two, Usrey has dreaded shopping at this particular branch ever since a Friday afternoon about five years ago, when she said she suddenly noticed she was the only non-Latino customer.

"That was the first time I looked around and said, 'Man, I didn't realize how many Mexicans there were here,' " Usrey, 39, recalled. "And they don't seem to feel any discomfort when they're, like, six inches from your face and talking to each other in their language, either. I just felt very encroached upon. . . . It was like an instant feeling of 'I'm in the minority, and if we don't get control over this, pretty soon all of America will be outnumbered.' "

That sense of alarm, echoed in communities across the nation, helped seal defeat for the Senate immigration bill Thursday. Fueled by talk-radio hosts and Web sites, Usrey and tens of thousands of other first-time activists bombarded their senators with phone calls and e-mails decrying the bill as an unacceptable amnesty for the nation's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. [N.C. Aizenman, The Washington Post]
Let's get this straight. These "Mexicans" did not violate any of Stephanie Usrey's legitimate rights. They merely dared to shop in her presence--and this is what it took to compel this halfwit to think that she had the right to throttle open migration into America.

Was Stephanie Usrey examining birth certificates and green cards at her local Wal-Mart? Did she have any idea who shopping along with her was an illegal immigrant and who was not? No. For Stephanie Usrey, the mere use of a different language and a differing custom regarding personal space was enough to propel her to want to shackle untold numbers of immigrants to a failing state they have no power to repair.

All I can say is "how disgusting." I wish that I didn't have to live in a country where vermin such as Stephanie Usrey and her ilk exist as my fellow citizens.


Apollo said...

I work at a Wal-Mart near the border to in San Diego, California, and about 60% to 70% of the people who shop AND work there are probably from Mexico. You can tell because when you walk through the parking lot, most of the license plates are not California license plates, and also, nobody speaks a word of English. You’re actually surprised when you encounter somebody who does.

The people who shop and work a t my Wal-Mart are there legally; which by the way, is no easy feat. In order to get into the U.S, you sometimes have to wait to cross the border in a line that can last for 3 to 4 hours, I know people who head for work 3 hours before it starts in order to get to work on time. Sometimes, I think that it’s much easier to get into the U.S. illegally, no lines!

The border with Mexico is a disaster anyway you look at it, for legals and illegals.

Another Anonymous Fellow Traveller said...

Although I also twinged at the tacky quotes from the 39-year-old Wal-Marting mother-of-two, there is another point to be made here. The most effective way to change someone's heart and mind is to build a personal relationship. If she had the chance (took or made the chance, or had the chance thrust upon her) to get to know one of her fellow shoppers even a little bit, they would be humanized and her politics could evolve. Often we have such a simplistic knowledge of immigrants. Plus, Americans are notorious for not knowing other languages, so we tend to feel panic when we encounter unfamiliar words or customs. Without trying to vilify this shopper who was probably quoted out of context...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, at least they give us the dot-dot-dot here. So we know there was some anecdote before that sentence that seems like such a horrid thing to say. Everyone has the stray thought of alarm at things now and then; seems like she was just recounting one and likely what brought it on.

Anyhow, she's a priori unconcerned about her community simply by admitting she shops at walmart, lol.