Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Is it time for the cavity search?

My girlfriend has lived in the states for about 8 years. She has spent all of that time in the south. She likes it here. People are friendlier, and a lot more laid back. Most times, that is… I love taking her out for “southern experiences”. It used to be that anything involving NASCAR was a purely southern experience, but over the last several years that has pretty much been co-opted by the rest of the country. So last week I decided to take her to that most southern of traditions – the gun show.

A gun show in Jackson, Mississippi is a sea of stereotypes. As I was getting our tickets, two young, well dressed African American gentleman were purchasing tickets as well. They had just come from a graduation ceremony for one of the local high schools. One of them had just graduated. When I saw them inside, they were looking at AK47-knock-offs. About 80% of the white-faced individuals were male and wearing some type of confederate flag representation. The whole room had the aura of right-wing Christian knee-jerk homophobia, and here I go bringing a little Asian girl into the mix. It was great!

However, the most stunning aspect of the room to her was the table where you were supposed to sign the petition for immigration reform. She sat on the sidelines of the room for about 5 minutes just watching that table to see who was signing. It was disturbing to her. I agreed. While I didn’t approach them to find out what version of immigration “reform” they wanted, by the looks of them I would just about guess that it involved ejecting anyone out of the country that did not look or talk like one of the several fatties behind the table.

Fast forward to Saturday…

The city of Flowood had it’s “Flowood Festival” in the park. Lots of rides, concessions and “entertainment” (if you consider John Conlee entertainment – he was old when I was a kid!) followed by a “fireworks extravaganza”. Craving stick food and fireworks, we decided to go partake of the fare. While making the rounds to see what type of stick food we wished to consume, we happened upon another “immigration reform petition” table. This was staffed by a very round and unpleasant looking woman. Here’s how the conversation transpired:

Once immigration is reformed, what is your proposal for determining who gets tossed and who stays? I mean, how do you know my girlfiend is here legally? Will she have to carry her visa with her everywhere she goes and have to go through document checks? “Are your papers in order?”

Well without immigration reform, we could have 200 million immigrants come in over the next 20 years.

So will the police need to stop anyone that doesn’t look like they were born here?

No, that won’t be necessary.

Well how do you know I’m here legally? What if I was born in Scotland but my dad came over illegally and I have been here long enough that I don’t have an accent?

Oh, we’re not worried about…

And then she stopped. In fact, she left and the table was packed up within 3 minutes (while I was waiting on my food). And she never answered my question - at least not the question I asked. However, she did answer the question I DIDN'T ask.

Now, to be fair (just because I like the high road), I think that you would probably never find that statement in any of the documentation. But it seems that at least for around these parts, that’s becoming the norm. If you look like us, you are one of us. Otherwise, go home.

We've got a long way to go on this one...


At 6/6/06 17:55, Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

I hope you don't put off checking your mail, and cause your girlfriend to be deported because her papers are not in order. That would make you berry berry bad man, Mr. Bates. As bad as when you encouraged her to open a restaurant serving her ethnic food, and it went out of business. And don't try to blame that mail business on 'Elaine', either.

At 16/6/06 06:52, Blogger Mari said...

Immigration reform= Politically Correct racism?

Evidently what she meant to say but realised quickly enough not to- was that acceptable immigrants are white immigrants from English speaking countries - and we all know what that makes unnacceptable. This new PC term has brought some skeletons out of the cupboard, heavily disguised in new 'innoffensive' language! I feel like we have gone back 40 years.

I feel that I get treated like that, as a white, blue eyed South American living in Europe, I have to hear many prejudiced comments and when I object at the racism, I am supposed to feel good about the fact that because I don't look or sound like an outsider, I get to listen to all this crap. 'Oh, but you're not like them'...Damn. The sense of superiority makes me sick.


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