Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Those people

This is really key to the whole immigration issue. We conveniently forget that almost all of "us people" descended from ancestors who were once "those people", whether they landed at Plymouth Rock or Ellis Island. "Those people" reduces real men and women, just like us, to a dehumanized abstraction, making hate oh so much easier.

Decency to 'Those People'
Who are they? After the demonstrations were over, where did they go? Are they so diabolically clever at hiding in plain sight? Or is it that the rest of us refuse to see them, because by seeing them we would have to acknowledge their humanity?

That willful blindness is why the debate on illegal immigration is so hypocritical. If we lump undocumented immigrants into an undifferentiated mass of Those People, we can avoid really looking at the immigrant experience. And we can convince ourselves that it is somehow different from the periodic waves of immigration that have shaped this nation -- that suddenly it is not an issue, or even a problem, but an urgent crisis.
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