I’ve written here before about the dilemma Washington Apple Growers were faced with in 2011 because of crack downs on undocumented immigrants. It turns out that the majority of documented immigrants who answered a poll by saying that undocumented immigrants mostly take low wage jobs that no one wants are right. No amount of recruitment was able to produce enough American-born workers to replace immigrants who were scared out of the fields, and what should have been one of the best years on record for the Washington apple industry ended up being a bust. Farmers in Georgia and Alabama have … Read more “When Xenophobia Trumps Common Sense, Common Decency Often Goes By the Wayside”
Years ago, I moved to Eastern Tennessee to work at the Highlander Research and Education Center. Highlander was founded as the Highlander Folk School, but reincorporated under its current name after its charter was revoked by the State of Tennessee in 1962 in an effort to dislodge the school from its pivotal position in the African American Civil Rights Movement.
Highlander is famous for hosting students like Rosa Parks, Dr. King, John Lewis, and Ella Baker. But I’ve always felt that its greatest accomplishment was organizing the Citizenship Schools. Under the leadership of Septima Clark, Bernice Robinson, and Esau … Read more “What Does Pork Have to do with the U.S. Immigration “Problem?””
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the death of racism. Many believe that as the global demographics change and Generation Y rises, racism will fade in significance. Some even suggest that what we are witnessing in the Obama backlash is just death throes.
That argument ignores history.
Here’s what I mean.
Neither the Emancipation Proclamation nor the abolitionist movement were enough to end slavery. Slavery was defeated in a Civil War that was fought not over race equality nor just for the cuase of freeing slaves, but over federal authority. The cynicism at the root of the “war … Read more “The Durability of Race”
Throughout my adult life, I have struggled over the color line. I’ve never doubted it exists. Rather, my struggle has been over which side of that line I’m on.
This struggle has been on my mind since my 20s, when a Japanese American woman many years my senior told me this story:
She recalled being a young college student in the South in the 1950s. She was 12 years from being released from an internment camp where she and her family were detained during WWII.
She went to school determined to make something of herself. She wanted nothing more … Read more “Where I Stand on the Color Line”