Friday, August 04, 2006

Good Old Fashioned American Racism

It's always good to be reminded of the racism that underpins American society. Nothing does it like immigration. We've seen this in all sorts of forms lately, from Tom Tancredo to the Minutemen. But what's really important is what the inactive person on the ground believes.

This New York Times article on Latino immigration to the South brings some of this to light. Latino immigration is really changing the South, and very rapidly. One could argue that nothing has changed the South this rapidly since the Civil War, though WWII and the Civil Rights Movement certainly would have something to say about that. The county in Georgia this article focuses on has seen a growth in Latino population percentage from 2% in 1990 to 21% in 2005. That's significant.

What do the whites have to say about it? Here's GA white Elton Corbitt.

“The way the Mexicans have children, they’re going to have a majority here soon,” Mr. Corbitt, 76, said.

“I have children and grandchildren,” he said. “They’re going to become second-class citizens. And we’re going to be a third world country here if we don’t do something about it.”

There's nothing like the plight of the white in America to bring a tear to my eye. We see the old argument used against the Italians, Irish, and Jews that they have so many children that whites will soon be a minority as well as the idea that Mexicans are lesser people than whites and will bring down our country.


One additional note--the fact that this is taking place in Georgia does not mean that the rest of America is immune from treating Latinos or anyone else this way. Racism in Georgia is no worse than the rest of the country--it's just less subtle. This is not a southern story--it's an American story.