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Category: Race

Ending DACA Means Johnny Depp Can Bang Your Teenage Daughter

I’ll concede that it is at least theoretically possible for a person to exist who is strongly in favor of the expulsion of all illegal immigrants from the United States who is not also intrinsically racist. I suspect that these creatures are, if not entirely chimerical, exceedingly rare but even if they do exist their philosophical and ideological arguments are not to be found anywhere in the current debate.

I will not concede that it is theoretically possible for a person to exist who is even passively in favor of ending DACA who is not deeply, fundamentally, intractably racist to the bone.

That, of course, is precisely what our disgusting racist-in-chief (whose wife’s immigration status is very much an open question, by the way) is planning to do sometime this week. Worse yet, judging from his words (“You know, I love these kids,“), I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even understand that the Dreamers are, for the most part, not “kids” today. They’re grown people who were brought here as kids, which means he may very well think he’s talking about deporting actual children.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, established by the Obama administration in 2012, is an acknowledgement that if you were brought here as a child and grew up here, went to school here, got a job here—you are an American. You are culturally American. America is your home. The place you were brought from is not your home and sending you back makes about as much sense as sending you to any random nation on earth.

If that’s a thing you think we should do—send Americans to, basically, a random place just to get them off our shores—you are a vile and irredeemable racist whose chief concern can only be to get as many non-white people as far away from you as possible. You are also, by the way, in the minority.

Listen, racists, I know it’s hard for you to understand how a brown, undocumented 28-year old isn’t an “illegal immigrant.” It requires you to think (already we’re in trouble)  a couple steps beyond the visceral feeling that she is taking your country, stealing your job, getting handouts that might otherwise be added to your government check, etc. It requires understanding that she might have been brought here when she was three, six, nine or twelve years old and that the United States of America is thus, for all intents and purposes, the only place she really knows. She is not a Mexican or a Somalian or a Bosnian or a Canadian (hahaha, let’s be honest and admit that you’re not really worried about them). She is an American. There is nowhere to send her “back” to.

And let me just quickly address the very stupid argument that somehow older “Dreamers,” by which I mean kids who were brought here in their teenage years, are somehow less sympathetic—an argument that is in line with the increasingly common, cruel and unusual practice of charging some minors as adults when they commit particularly heinous crimes.

I have a simple test I like to apply in these cases: tell me how old your daughter should be before it would be okay for a 54-year old man—Johnny Depp, let’s say—to have sex with her without facing legal troubles. That’s the age at which you can go ahead and charge kids as adults and hold child border crossers culpable for their decisions. If Johnny Depp is allowed to fuck your 12-year old daughter, you can absolutely kick Mexicans out of the country who came to America when they were 12.

Prior to that age (which you’ll undoubtedly place somewhere in the 18-21 range) children are the shared responsibility of all good and decent adult people on earth. Wanting to punish adults for what happened to them as children makes you a disgusting and savage person. If time travel were possible, maybe you’d be fighting for your own DACA to avoid being sent back to whatever prehistoric swamp you’ve barely yet crawled out of.

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Deplorables In Disguise

14237511_10154455047669804_6064811346713249621_nAmong the basket of interesting things I encountered on Day One of my drive along I-90 from Spokane, Washington to Milwaukee, Wisconsin were: the continental divide, a sign for the 33rd Annual Testicle Festival in Clinton, Montana, and the fun fact that a 26-foot Penske rental truck packed with all of one’s earthly belongings and towing a car can’t do much better than 30 miles per hour on an incline of any degree greater than 0%.

I also encountered Linda the Cashier.

I pulled my rig up to a diesel pump at the The Town Pump truck stop in Three Forks, Montana and discovered that there was a confusing array of fuel choices at this establishment—diesel #1, diesel #2, 50/50 diesel, diesel exhaust fluid. Unsure how to proceed, amateur truck driver that I am, I went inside to seek guidance from the friendly staff.

And the staff was friendly—especially Linda the Cashier. When the first attendant I spoke with couldn’t answer my stupid question, she referred me to Linda. Linda was happy to explain, “You want diesel #1 because it’s not winter yet, honey.”

Seeing that this process was new to me, Linda forewarned me that I wouldn’t be able to pay at the pump and asked me how much fuel I’d like. Not yet sure how much the truck would take, I asked if I could just prepay $100 and have the balance refunded. “Sure,” Linda offered, “but just so you know, honey, depending on your bank it can take a little while to put the money back on your card.”

Then my card was declined. It turns out that my bank had grown suspicious of my debit card’s travels and needed me to verify some transactions to prevent fraud. All the while, Linda was exceedingly patient with me. I stepped to the side and let another customer step up to transact with the lovely Linda.

That’s when the following interaction occurred:

Customer: [out of the clear fucking blue] Well, it’s just like Obama says – none of us should even have jobs, we should all just sit around like bums and take government checks.
Linda the Cashier: [full throated and matter-of-factly] He’s not even a citizen.
Customer: Like he’s ever held a real job in his life.
Cashier Linda: [Looking around to make sure she’s being heard.] He’s not even a citizen. He’s not even a citizen.

I steeled myself, realizing that I was in the wrong place to get into a debate about the President’s provenance. It’s not that I don’t know these people exist—I do—but it’s always a shock to the system to hear these things uttered aloud. My blood boiled and I honestly had to take a few deep breaths before stepping back up to complete my fuel purchase.

Yes, I thought about leaving. Instead, I calmly and politely told Linda “I doubt that it will matter, but I want you to know that I’ll be contacting Town Pump to let them know that they have an employee who actively and repeatedly questioned the citizenship of the president of the United States in front of customers. Have a nice day.”

But here’s the point I really want to make about this experience: Linda the Cashier is exactly the sort of person the Trump campaign is defending in their manufactured furor over Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment. They say that Clinton is “viciously demonizing hard working people like you.”

You know…people like hard working, sweet-as-honey, corn-fed, church-going charmers like Linda.

Feel the phony indignation:

NEW Trump TV ad responds to “Basket of Deplorables” comment by Hillary Clinton

NEW Trump TV ad responds to “Basket of Deplorables” comment by Hillary Clinton NEW Trump TV ad Trump TV Ad Deplorables Deplorable Attack Ad Hillary Clinton Basket of Deplorables Donald Trump 2016 General Election Television Ads Campaign Racist Sexist Homphobic Racism Sexism Pepe Alt Right 4chan AntiMuslim Syrian

Here’s the conundrum. Yes, in her everyday life, Linda is a real slice of home-cooked apple pie in the eyes of those who encounter her (just as she would have remained in my eyes had I not overheard this idiotic exchange). And in that extremely limited sphere, they’re 100% right.

But Linda the Cashier is also a deplorably ignorant fucking bigot who is actively making America a more hateful, less functional, more dangerous, less prosperous place. I suppose we could argue about whether it’s Linda herself who is deplorable or Linda’s ideas that are deplorable—but that strikes me as a distinction without a difference.

On the surface, the deplorables are paragons of American virtue. Beneath the surface, they believe very stupid, very noxious things:

  • Two-thirds of Trump supporters believe Obama is a Muslim
  • 59 percent of Trump supporters believe Obama was not born in the United States
  • 40% of Trump supporters believed that blacks were more “lazy” than whites and nearly 50% believed blacks were more “violent” than whites
  • A substantial portion supported banning LGBT people from the United States

The deplorables are out there—and they look and act like Linda the Cashier. Pointing to however many characteristics they possess that are not inherently deplorable is not a valid defense against their ghastly views. Their positive traits do not outweigh their hatred of non-white people. Their work ethic does not cancel out their support for hateful, discriminatory policies. Linda’s folksy smile does not mitigate the harm done by her execrable worldview.

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All Lives Cannot Matter If Black Lives Don’t

Listen.

I know that it seems incredibly obvious to you that “all lives matter” is an uncontroversial, indisputable statement of truth that should obviously antecede a narrower statement like Black Lives Matter.

It is and it should.

Unfortunately we do not live in the world as it should be.

We live in a world where some lives are manifestly undervalued in relation to others lives.

We live in a world where black lives have been historically, perpetually, systematically, unfathomably, irredeemably disadvantaged in relation to white lives.

We live in a world where even those African Americans who have made great strides against all odds have no expectation whatsoever that they will be treated any differently from the most dangerous criminals of any color.

The realities of shifting demographics, advancing technology and political pandemonium have precipitated a long overdue Come to Jesus moment regarding our failure to rehabilitate the race of people we methodologically destroyed in service of building the wealthiest society on the face of the earth.

I know you don’t see any of this, that you think whatever disparity exists is the result of life choices and character traits—and I understand why you think that.

You and I were raised to think it by people who were raised to think it by people who were raised to be indifferent to it by people who were raised to feel antipathy about its rectification by people who were raised to be virulently opposed to its rectification by people who were raised to firmly believe that black people were property to be bought and sold.

Just as African Americans were raised to live in fear as second-class citizens by people who were raised to live in fear as second-class citizens by people who were raised without the right to vote or drink from the same water fountains by people who were raised in redlined American ghettos as barely-free men and women by people who were raised to live in fear of lynching by people who were raised as the property that could be bought and sold.

However poor your daddy, your grandmammy, or your great granddaddy were, however hard they worked to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, however legitimately you think you’ve earned whatever you have or don’t have in your life…add up the all of that energy, determination, and resourcefulness and multiply it by several orders of magnitude and you might begin to get an inkling of a hint of the faintest sense of the immensity of the forces that were working against the mammies, granddaddies, and great grandmammies of your African American contemporaries.

The wind has always been at our forebears’ backs; a tsunami has always been crashing toward and against and on top of the people we brought here in chains and their descendants.

And the DNA of every facet of American life remains structurally contaminated by that history.

Yes, all lives should matter, but merely saying those words as a defense against the accusation that we don’t live by them is no defense at all.

It’s like saying “helium balloons of all colors fly” when, in fact, you know damn well that someone has tied the black balloons to bricks, popped them, and then burned and stomped on the remaining shreds.

Insisting upon the preeminence of the incontrovertible truth of the statement “all lives matter,” may feel good and righteous, but it makes you look very fucking stubborn and tone-deaf and ahistorical.

It makes you part of the problem.

Black Lives Matter is a thing because for too long our collective words and silences and actions and inactions have created the distinct impression that they do not.

Black Lives Matter is the oxidization on the can of communal existence that our parents and grandparents and great grandparents kicked down the road to us by failing to make amends for the actions of their parents and grandparents and great grandparents.

Black Lives Matter is the penance we must pay if we want a world for our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren that is not engulfed in internecine warfare.

Black Lives Matter is not an assertion that black lives matter more than other lives; it is a mantra that we must internalize until we know it and live it—until we can say with a straight face and a clear conscience that all lives matter.

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