Freedom Folks

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Are We Racist Or Are They Ignorant?

James Kotthoff

“Racist!”, “Bigot!” these words have been flying around me a lot lately. The question is do they have a basis in fact or are the just lies flung around to intimidate? That is for you the reader to decide. All I can do is lay out my position and the facts. While I realize that immigration reform is an emotional issue on both sides, the need to look at all arguments on the merits is the most important point.

Emotion has a place in our lives, but not in a debate on a national policy issue such as immigration. The only way to resolve it and have all points of view heard is to tone down the rhetoric and listen to the facts on each side. Calling someone you disagree with names is counter productive. Regardless of if you are the president, a main stream media outlet or even a commenter on a humble blog you have to avoid this. My fellow bloggers and I have been subjected to baseless accusations of racism, bigotry and xenophobia, and these are the nicer terms used. As is often said you can not know what is in a person’s heart. But you can get an idea by what that person says or writes. I would never presume to speak for any of my fellow bloggers, but I think if you look at their writing unemotionally you will see their positions.

First we need to understand what the terms racist, bigot and xenophobe mean by definition. These are the definitions found in Webster’s Online Dictionary


1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

2 : racial prejudice or discrimination

Racist: A person who practices racism

Bigot : a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

Xenophobe : one unduly fearful of what is foreign and especially of people of foreign origin

Now that we have defined the terms let us look at the facts. First you must discount those items which are quotes from other sources. Posting a news clipping or a quote from a commenter is not the same as posting an opinion. The thoughts in the first case are from someone else’s mind, in the latter case it is the writers thoughts. When I write an article it is my opinion and not the same as news. I usually base my writings on facts but in some cases I draw conclusions based on facts I research. If I am offering an opinion on someone else’s writing I state so in my article. If you feel that my conclusions are wrong that is fine, but if you don’t like my conclusions then refute them with facts not with name calling.

Now we will look at my feelings on the issues of immigration and illegal immigration. If you can not see that the two are separate issues then you are already lost.

Immigration is fine with me. I do think that immigration should be controlled to benefit our society as a whole and not just vested interest groups. We should allow a finite number of legal immigrants per year based on realistic economic needs and the ability of society assimilating them. Business and special interest should not define how many people are allowed to immigrate. When this is the case immigration is used to drive down wages, even in the high technology fields. Immigration should be spread out evenly between nations and no one country or region should be supplying an overwhelming majority of immigrants. The basic fact is no nation can absorb an unlimited number of immigrants.

Illegal immigration is a different issue. I am opposed to illegal immigration in any form. I don’t care if you snuck across the border or over stayed your visa, you broke the law and you should be deported. Regardless of why you broke the law the fact remains you broke the law.

Now I am forever hearing excuses for illegal immigration and I will touch on some of the most common ones later. I am opposed to any kind of amnesty for illegal immigrants, regardless of how you dress it up. Any programs that rewards illegal immigrants is just wrong. In this society we try and teach the young (At least I hope we do) that when you do something wrong you have to pay the consequences. We don’t reward bank robbers or murders or drug dealers, instead we as a society expect them to be punished for their crime.

How is breaking immigration laws any different? Not to mention the other crimes committed by illegal immigrants such as illegally working, identity theft, social security fraud etc. No one illegally enters this country or overstays their visa to just sightsee, they do so to work or engage in other illegal activity.

We hear all the time “They just want a better life for themselves and their families”. Well that excuse can be used by the drug dealer, bank robber or any other economic criminal. Ken Lay just wanted a better life for himself and his family too. Or we hear “They are good hardworking law abiding people”. In fact no they are not law abiding people in they have broken at a minimum of two laws just by being here and working. And my personal favorite “They wouldn’t be here except we invited them”. Business may have invited them but “We” did not. What is in the best interest of business is not always the same as what is in the best interest of society.

If all that mattered was what was in the best interest of business then we would not have child labor laws, pollution regulations or any of the other protections we have against bad business practices. The fact is that business when left to it’s own devices will always put their interests over the interests of society. This leads us to my all time favorite excuse, one used by every open borders/pro amnesty figure from President Bush to La Raza. “They are just doing the jobs Americans won’t do”. The fact is that there is no category of work that illegal immigrants are a majority in. So in fact Americans and legal immigrants are doing those jobs. It becomes an issue in areas where illegal immigrants are used to break unions or drive down wages. All one has to do is look at the Zinkle Fruit Co. case or the Tyson Foods case to see this in action. And those are just a few of the excuses we hear on an almost daily basis.

So now to the question. Am I a racist? I don’t believe so. I am not looking at one specific races or races. I am just opposed to those who don’t play by the rules. Am I a bigot? Well by Webster’s again no for the very same reason. Am I a xenophobe? No again, I personally don’t care where you are from as long as you are here legally. But as I stated in my opening I will let you decide for yourself.

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