Immigration issue revs up the hate mail
BY ESTHER J. CEPEDA Sun-Times Columnist
I'm not ashamed to admit that lately I've been finding myself hard-pressed to
find positive ways to deal with all the hatred around. It seems like everywhere
I turn, there's hatred. It's a bummer.
Sure, there's your usual level of hatred:
Iran continues to wave its uranium in the air, sneering nah-na-nah-na-boo-boo
at the world. The French are waging war on women who choose to wear Islamic face
veils, the Tea Party movement's fringe seems to be trying to overthrow the U.S.
government. And, of course, babies whose only crime was being born to
gang-banger daddies are being killed in the streets of Chicago.
I don't pretend that this wave of oppression is anything new under the sun,
but it sure stinks when it's aimed at you.
Yep, it's that time of the year where I dread opening my e-mail because of
the venom I find in it. Vile messages with choice phrases such as "kill the
wetbacks," "send Mexicans home" and "send all illegals straight to
Oh, don't get me wrong, I get them all the time, but it's the end of April,
which means that the annual May 1 marches for "human immigration reform" are
gearing up all over the country. In tandem, the anti-illegal immigrant champions
are frothing at the mouth way more than usual.
This year it's all happening in the shadow of the State of Arizona's new law
allowing authorities to check the legal status of people suspected of being
illegal immigrants. Most groups opposed to the law consider it legalized racial
profiling. That this is coming from the state whose House of Representatives
refuses to accept President Obama's birth certificate as proof he's a U.S.
citizen is a joke -- what's a poor Columbian immigrant on Arizona's streets to
expect in terms of scrutiny of legal papers?
That aside, it's tough to be hated just because you merely might be a
lawbreaker -- you just look or sound like one. Or you are despised for having a
"Spanish" last name.
It's one thing to hate a blue-eyed man for wearing green socks every single
day of his life, but quite another to hate all blue-eyed guys who sort of look
like they might have non-white colored socks on.
I bring up this ridiculous analogy because it's April 26, and I've had
several weeks of angry blog comments and poisonous e-mails begging me and my
"kind" to "go back to Mexico" and take my "anchor babies" and "leprosy and
sickness" with me. Nice, huh?
That I was born in the good old U.S.A, that my parents are here legally --
one from a country that is not Mexico -- and that I'm in perfect health and have
no mixed legal status kiddies is completely beside the point because there are
plenty of people in Chicago, its suburbs, and the rest of this fine country who
are not as lucky as I am. These are people in real danger of being racially
profiled, targeted for senseless violence and maybe even thrown in immigration
jail by accident -- it has happened.
And let's not forget the millions who are as lucky as I am and,
frankly, just tired of being harassed for having a Hispanic surname.
I've decided I'm not resigning myself to this -- which, too, shall pass --
but, rather, just sucking it up. I vow today to just accept that it is what it
is: There's a lot of hatred out there for Latinos.
I'll keep doing my best to be a voice of reason in a sea of crazy talk, but
I'm not going to let any of it get me down.