Thursday, September 09, 2010

What Did We Expect?

Passing a racist ordinance leads to an increase in harassment.

Most of the time it is more subtle, but I've also had ethnic slurs screamed at me (strangely, the screamers tend to be in moving cars-funny how that works). I've stood at check-out counters waiting to be served with no service forthcoming. I've been told to "go back where you came from" (I doubt they mean Boston), seen people scurry their children off the playground when we showed-up, and endured the hostile, "you people", comments. One time, when my car died at an intersection, I had someone come up to the rolled-down car window (the car was dead, I couldn't roll it up or lock the doors) and scream at me for being a *^#&)__illegal", and then described how he'd like to kill me off. For the locals, it was in Lincoln at the intersection of Cornhusker and 27th on a Saturday afternoon. There were dozens of witnesses, and not a single person helped. I really thought I might end up dead. he drove off, I got the car started, and since then, I've maybe been to Lincoln twice in five years.

Obviously, I'm staying as far away from Fremont as possible. The proponents of this legislation can insist this is aimed at curbing undocumented workers, but I can tell you, from my very extensive experience over a decade of living in Nebraska-it isn't. What it will do, and is already doing, is make it socially acceptable to be a dickhead. A racist dickhead. With the full support of the state. I can't wait until I get pulled over and asked for my papers. Really, I just can't wait. This is a hard place to live with a dark complexion. Mind, I'm not likely to be locked-up until they establish my immigration status-or deported without a hearing. Try dealing with something like that if you don't speak English. While I personally don't have anything to lose in terms of being locked-up, I sure as hell don't want to live in a, "show us your papers" society. I could do without the racist hostility as well. People who feel empowered to behave badly will do it. I mean, open a bloody history book, you know? How sad is it that it still works?

Even if this ordinance never goes into effect, the message has already been sent that harassment and discrimination are just fine and dandy so long as it is perpetrated against a powerless group.

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