Trying to get back into the groove of blogging about immigration and this one seemed like a good place to start!

Now really, who thinks they’d get away with this in the age of the internet. Please! A little more creativity from our racists would be nice. I mean the Swiss came up with all sorts of visually interesting ways to disgust us:

The White Sheep/ Black Sheep poster is probably the most famous:

And the poster for their campaign to ban minarets (which they won) turned quite a few heads last year:

And now , everyone’s favourite French racist, Jean-Marie Le Pen of the far-right National Front,  has tooootally ripped them off! Laaaaame!

They’ve imitated the minaret-rockets, and the angry-looking, burkha-clad woman, but they’ve added an extra nice touch, and have made their propaganda nation-specific by including the Algerian flag in the background.

The poster equates the Algerian flag, which incorporates traditional Islamic star and crescent, with violence and “l’islamisme” or extremist Islam.

The newest stats I could find show that there were 691,361 in 2006, the largest immigrant group listed.

The Independent reports that the Algerian government, and anti-racism activists are none too pleased with this:

“We have officially protested,” said the Algerian Foreign Minister, Mourad Medelci. “It is up to the French state to take the necessary measures when foreign countries’ symbols are dragged through the mud.”

Kahled Lasbeur, lawyer for the Movement against Racism, warned of “riots, demonstrations and blood-letting” if the posters are not banned.

Ironically, yet unsurprisingly, as right-wingers tend not to understand international solidarity, “The Swiss advertising agency that devised the original poster said it planned to sue Mr Le Pen’s party, the National Front, for plagiarism.” Perfect.


So earlier I posted videos of wingnut craziness. One of the guys in the first video, an Obama supporter, said he was seriously worried that some of the racist, bigoted, and sometimes just seriously misinformed opponents of Obama were getting so riled up and angry  that they would try to do him harm. And in the comments, I asked “what do you expect people to do if they really sincerely believe a terrorist/subversive/secret mulsim/anti-christ/communist has taken over their government?”

Seriously, ask that question. What happens when millions of people (people who tend to reeeeaaaally like their gun ownership rights) actually believe their government is being taken over (forget the democratic process as far as their concerned its being taken over) by someone who, they are being told constantly thanks to the McCain campaign, really wants to destroy everything they hold dear?

The answer is clear – some of them organize to assassinate him: (via crooksandliars.com)

Federal agents have broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree, the ATF said Monday.

In court records unsealed Monday, federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school by two neo-Nazi skinheads. Agents said the skinheads did not identify the school by name.

Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville field office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the two men planned to shoot 88 black people and decapitate another 14. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.

The men also sought to go on a national killing spree, with Obama as its final target, Cavanaugh told The Associated Press.

“They said that would be their last, final act – that they would attempt to kill Sen. Obama,” Cavanaugh said. “They didn’t believe they would be able to do it, but that they would get killed trying.”

Great, skin heads trying to make themselves martyrs in the war against….well, everyone who’s not them I guess.

I certainly don’t expect this to be the last we’ll hear about ignorant thugs being spurred to violence, helped along by right wing hate- and fear-mongering.

I just wanted to respond to a comment on that last post. It got a bit long for the comments section so here it is.

To Eric,

I totally agree that countries have a right not to admit criminals, and I understand the desire to expel someone who has committed a crime, and I believe I clearly stated that above.

However, punishing an innocent person (the criminal’s family) for another’s crime (while it may seem to have a certain logic as we generally think of parents as “responsible” for their kids) is, I believe fundamentally immoral. And laws around the world back this up. It’s just not done. (Except for, as mentioned above, by the Nazi’s)

One of the questions raised while I was thinking about this is: How much of the foreigner-committed crime is committed by minors? There’s no stats mentioned in this article, just that in general, it’s much higher among immigrants. I’d be curious to see if there’s a difference. Because if there’s not the same substantial difference between crime among citizen minors and crime among immigrant minors, then why hold foreigners’ families responsible and not hold citizen parents similarly responsible? I would call that an anti-foreigner, or xenophobic distinction.

Regardless of there being a significantly higher amount of immigrant minor criminals this is obviously a scare tactic. The blog linked in the previous post even quotes someone who is counting on the fear factor of this legislation: “as soon as the first ten families and their children have been expelled from the country, then things will get better at a stroke.”

And I count that type of fear-mongering as xenophobic. I don’t believe that making an example of innocent people is a legitimate way to achieve social or political goals. I hope this clarifies. Thanks for commenting!

I’ve mentioned before that things look to be getting very ugly for immigrants in Switzerland, with the rise of overtly racist, xenophobic campaigning. But now, they’re taking things up a notch.

First, the changes to criminal laws: one provision would allow judges to deport serious criminals after they’ve served their time in prison. That’s not the provision causing the ruckus though. From the Daily Mail:

But far more dramatically, it has announced its intention to lay before parliament a law allowing the entire family of a criminal under the age of 18 to be deported as soon as sentence is passed. It will be the first such law in Europe since the Nazi practice of Sippenhaft – kin liability – whereby relatives of criminals were held responsible for their crimes and punished equally.

Ok. This has sent up some red flags, and has even “caused the UN’s special rapporteur on racism to ask for an official explanation from the government.” I should hope so. And while they’re at it they can ask for an explanation of this lovely “racist sheep” ad that one political party circulated.

Racist Sheep!

Not since I saw a trailer for a New Zealand horror flick about zombie-sheep have the fluffy little critters seemed so sinister. (Seriously, watch that trailer). (more…)

Ahh, it’s happened again, the Spanish have come under fire for racist behavior at sporting events, and are totally confused by the world’s reaction.

In a nutshell, some Spanish Formula 1 fans decked out in ‘fro wigs and blackface, uh-huh, blackface, were in the crowd heckling black British driver, Lewis Hamilton.


The reason it’s interesting is that the Spanish fans in question adamantly insist they’re not being racist. I know, sounds absurd, it’s blackface for Christ’s sake! But no, Toni Calderon, one of the fans in question, quoted in The Independent insists:

We went last Sunday and we dressed up to celebrate Carnival. We wanted to give a touch of humour to Montmelo and have a laugh at the father of [Lewis] Hamilton. We didn’t have the slightest intention to laugh at anyone, nor to laugh at the British driver for the colour of his skin. I am not a racist and it has made me ashamed to appear like that in the British press. Also, as I am in the middle of the photo [of four blacked up fans], I seem like the protagonist. This has angered me.

Poor thing. Well, this is not the first time Spaniards have been confused by accusations of racism at sporting events. Four years ago there was an international friendly here in Madrid against the English team. The next day it was all over the British press that the crowd of Spanish fans were making monkey noises every time a black English player got the ball. I had a few Irish friends who were at the game, and said that, seated in the midst of a large group of Spaniards they were shocked to see little kids joining their parents in the taunts, and generally felt embarrassed and hoped the stadium would open up and swallow them.

And what did the Spanish press have to say about that incident? Nothing really. It wasn’t news. And in talking to some of the Spaniards at the bar I was then working at, the Spanish response was the same as it is this time, What racism? That Guardian article sums up the feeling nicely.

Is Spanish racism so ingrained that they’re blind to it, or are they really just innocently heckling? The BBC has an interesting article on how it’s just part of Spanish sports culture. But man, and I hate to say it, it does make them look like a backwater. It’s hardly confined to Spain though, I did once know an Italian who thought nothing at all of making monkey noises at the TV when black players on his own team came on the screen. Baffling.

Sometimes the world feels like a “pañeulo” and sometimes the gulfs waiting to swallow up cross-cultural understanding appear vast. This is one of those times. I love this country, but sometimes, it leaves me mystified.

Hey, just throwing this up as I rush out of the house. This is a long article I’m discussing, and I don’t get into much of it here, but I wanted to get a start on it. Sorry if this post is a bit sloppy, I was writing it and doing my nails at the same time :p

Hey, thanks to kv, (krado, no?) for sending in a link to this article, because I think it raises an interesting dynamic in the discussion of immigration and it’s intersection with race and racism.

The article presents a problem, not new by a long shot. In this incarnation it is presented as the resentment of urban blacks to the encroachment on “their space” by mainly Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles. From the article:

Terry Anderson is angry. From his KRLA-AM radio perch in Los Angeles, the black talk-show host thunders, “I have gone on the streets and talked to people at random here in the black community, and they all ask me the same question: ‘Why are our politicians and leaders letting this happen?’ ” What’s got Anderson—motto: “If You Ain’t Mad, You Ain’t Payin’ Attention”—so worked up isn’t the Jena Six or nooses on Columbia University doorknobs; it’s the illegal immigrants who allegedly murdered three Newark college students last August. And when he excoriates politicians for “letting this happen,” he’s directing his fire at Congressional Black Caucus members who support open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens. “Massive illegal immigration has been devastating to my community,” Anderson, a former auto mechanic and longtime South Central Los Angeles resident, tells listeners. “Black Americans are hit the hardest.”

Deep breath, and let’s start to look at what’s wrong here. Bottom line – it’s pitting two of the communities with the most problems against each other. Reminds me of reading about how the Irish (and remember these folks were shit on when they came to the US) organized against the Chinese, fanned the flames of fear about the Yellow invasion and other such racist rhetoric.

There’s a logical disconnect here. If you’re upset about crime and murder, talk about crime and murder, it’s causes (like poverty-which you’re most likely in if you’re an illegal immigrant) and it’s solutions (like education and economic opportunity). And by the way, how do you think he’d like it if someone starting ranting about the disproportionate percentages of blacks as convicted criminals and started wailing at their elected representatives to “do something” about them?
“Massive illegal immigration has been devastating to my community.” I would like to see the proof of this. If he’s talking about the black community in general, are we really to believe that illegal immigration, (not the legacy of slavery, of segregation, of institutionalized racism, of continuing scandals of voter disenfranchisement, and the list goes on) is the cause of the black communities problems today?

“Black Americans are hit the hardest” he claims. Of course they are, because they’re the ones who’ve been shit on the most up until now, because they’ve been at the bottom of the ladder. The establishment, the “politicians and leaders” this man is calling on to save him from this scourge, have made sure that has been the case since this country began. And he’s falling into a fantastically useful ploy of that establishment – to use the second rung of the ladder to beat on the bottom rung of the ladder. In fact the author, describing it as a history of “unease” with immigration, recites the history of blacks opposing immigrant groups, all the way back to Frederick Douglas using that old gem about “they’re taking our jobs.”

The author cites some figures about immigrants undercutting wages in, for example janitorial jobs. Ok, but instead of ganging up on them (pretty useless really, they’re not leaving) why not organize along labor lines to make sure everyone’s getting a decent wage, which would mean they’d no longer be competitors? Or, right, because that would take idealism and effort, whereas fear-mongering racism is easy.
It is a very old story in US immigration politics, and I must say a shameful one. That the Irish would organize against the Chinese with historical perspective looks preposterous and shameful. And so it should look to see blacks organizing against Latinos.

A comment on this article’s author, Steven Malanga. I fould a couple book by him advertised on the website, called The Immigration Solution and The New New Left. He’s an obvious anti-immigrant agitator, and the blurbs for his book were written by the like of Lou Dobbs and Michelle Malkin. That should send up red flags right away.

Despite the author’s politics, this is an instructive article because, without meaning to, it illustrates, at least to me, a typical phenomenon whereby one screwed over population unites to screw over another screwed over population. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside eh?