Monday, March 19, 2007

But Enough of my Petty Problems

Do I worry, when I clock in for work, whether I will be arrested mid shift? No.

If I were a parent, would I need to fear being forcibly separated from my children while I worked? Would I fear not being able to find them, not being able to pick them up from day care, not knowing where they were or how they were being treated? No.

When I'm working and I get thirsty, I get up and get a glass of water from the pretty filtering pitcher in the refrigerator. I don't beg for a drink from a stranger, only to be told I must share one little water bottle among a dozen equally thirsty coworkers.

Usually I put fresh ice in my water, too. "Ice" for me means "frozen water." It is not a word of power or fear for me. It is not an acronym in my life. I attach no negative connotations to it.

I have an apartment full of cheap crap, yes. But I never worry, when there is a knock on the door, that someone has come to separate me from any of it, to separate me from those I love, to separate me from the home I have made here.

I am permitted to stay here and surround myself with cheap crap. I am allowed to clock in and out, to work, to earn money in relative peace and air-conditioned comfort. I am permitted to do all these things through no special skill or ability (beyond that needed to do my job, of course) of my own. I am able to do these things because of an accident of birth, because of where I was born and because of where the woman to whom I was born was born.

Best of all, I am able to go my whole life never seeing any of it. If I don't want to look, I don't have to. If I don't want to listen, no one will make me. If I don't want to do anything about it, I will not be punished for failure to act. No penance is imposed because, with all due respect, sir, I'm a white lady. I can do anything.

Did I say that was the best part of all? I lied. The best part of all is that if I do open my eyes, clean out my ears, and get off my ass, I'm totally entitled to a cookie for being one of the good white ladies. Or I think I'm entitled to one; anyway, it's all the same to me, and I'm going to whine for that cookie all the louder the more you suggest I don't deserve it.

Because you're wrong. I'm what matters. Meeeeeeeee. And my food processor, of course. When are we going to focus on the important shit, like getting me a food processor?

I mean, these people were in the country illegally, right? So what if they wear themselves out making our military vests and our Rockports and our Coach bags. Besides, they all took those jobs from the real Americans. The real Americans are those Americans who cleverly arranged for their ancestors to come to the United States the right way, from the good countries across the Atlantic, instead of the wrong way, from the bad countries south of us.

No, they've got to go. Back where they came from. Or Texas, close enough.

Do you disagree?

Then do something. Write your Congressional representatives (here's a sample letter). Spread the word. If you are in Boston, get involved locally.

If the New Bedford raids had been something the Iraqi government whipped on hundreds of Kurdish workers, we'd care. If it were the English against the Irish, we'd care. If it were the Thai versus the Hmong, we'd care.

Instead, this happened in our country. We have no excuse not to care.


Kai said...

Ilyka, I've been enjoying visiting here for a few weeks, chuckling along at your fantastic wit; but, okay, you now officially rock in my book. This is a phenomenal post, both the rich link roundup and your amusing yet hard-hitting writing. Cheers!

Gender Blank said...

Right on, Ilyka. Thank you.

Sniper said...

Thank you for this. There are way too many kids trying to get by in schools while worrying every day that their parents might not be home after school. They didn't even want to come here, and they're punished every day because we apparently can't get by without an underclass of undocumented labor.

Lesley Plum said...

Oh gah, gah, gah! Removing babies from their mothers? Refusing to give people enough water? Ignoring sick women? Oh yeah, we're all about the treating people with decency and compassion.

Well, as long as their skin is the right color and they have enough money.

Craig R. said...

This particular issue *is* local for me, and I'm trying to be able to write coherently about it.

I've started, but can't get through the insanity of arresting people and transpoprting them out-of-state, right away, without even checking that there might be minor children, or invalided parents, now without caregivers.

And this crackdown is *all* about the votes -- the thugs crouched in the GOP "big tent" are all looking for some way to get their majority back, and making it look "see how tough we are on lawbreakers?" is just a cheap way to do it.

I'll try to write about it again.

Thin Black Duke said...

Ilyka, you kick ass.

I know, I know. It's taken me forever to delurk here, but seriously, stop ruling so much and maybe I wouldn't be all shy and shit.

Folks should also check out Brownfemipower's place. She's got a lot of good info on this as well.

Yeah Craig, it is tough to write about shit like this while simultaneously resisting the urge to throw your monitor against the wall. Which is all the more reason posts like this need to be written.

Which reminds me, I have a blog that I've been neglecting lately. I've got some work to do.

ilyka said...

Dictionary. Illegal. Look it up.

Troll. Deleted. Goodbye.

Sage said...


Lesley Plum said...

The idiots who suggest that "well, they were committing a crime" are major-league assholes. Imagine their response to a group of Wall Street bankers who were arrested for solicitation being treated that way. Hey, solicitation is a crime. And we're totally incapable of making distinctions between types of crime, you know. It's not like we have minimum security prisons vs. maximum security prisons or different sentencing guidelines or anything like that!

Seriously, no one actually believes that all people who commit crimes should be treated the same way. The idea that an illegal immigrant, whose main crime is working without a visa, deserves the same treatment as a murderer belies nothing more than a deep contempt for immigrants. So spare us the false equivalences, trolls. None of us believe you're really that consistent.