San Francisco Reaches Out to Immigrants
Published in the New York Times April 6, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO — The city of San Francisco has started an advertising push with a very specific target market: illegal immigrants. And while the advertisements will come in a bundle of languages — English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese — they all carry the same message: you are safe here.
Leave it to San Francisco, the haven for so many “flower children” in the late Sixties and early Seventies, and America’s haven for liberal, even radical, politics for decades to say enough harassment of these people already. I am so proud of the people and the civic leaders of San Francisco for taking such a bold initiative. I can only hope that other havens of the much-maligned “liberal left” follow San Francisco’s lead.
San Francisco has always been a haven for immigrants, legal or not so legal. It has a large Chinese community that dates back to the days of the California gold rush of 1848. For an excellent account of what life was like for the Chinese immigrants back then, I strongly recommend you read Dragonwings, by Laurence Yep. [
Slavs – Poles, Serbians, Russians, etc – were not welcome in Germany except as forced/slave labor. That is similar to the situation of the Chinese a hundred and fifty years ago. The situation with the Hispanic illegal immigrants today has some telling similarities, although the conditions are not quite as rough.
Whether we talk about the Slavs and Jews in Germany or the Chinese, Hispanics, or Arabs in the United States, it seems to me that the bigotry is against non-Aryan races. And in the United States, this bigotry is most virulent when the “white supremacy” is coupled with Christian exclusivity: the doctrine that says that the only true religion is Christianity. Isn’t it wonderful that we can be washed in the blood of the Lamb and use our faith to justify our bigotry? We tend to forget that Jesus was an Arab – a Semite. The Israelites, priot to the Diaspora following the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD were a Semitic people. It was not until the Diaspora that there was much genetic mingling with Aryans, producing what is called the Ashkenazi Jews, as opposed to the Sephardic Jews, who stayed in the Middle East and North Afrcia.
I wonder if this “Aryan supremacy” is something genetic? After all, the Ashkenazi tend to look down on the Sephardim, although the Sephardim have done a better job of preserving ancient Israelite customs and religious practices than the Ashkenazi, from an anthropological perspective. Israel has been dominted by the Ashkenazi immigrants from Europe since its inception on 1948. Perhaps that explains the Israel hatred of the Arabs, although, if one accepts the Old Testament story of Abraham and his two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, as based in historical fact. The Arabs and the Israelis are “half-borthers” – ethnically speaking.
I know this post rambles some, but bigotry is a very complex subject. The religious elements in bigotry alone are worthy of a libray full of boos. I only skim across the subject in this post. I do have plans to add another book to the already existing ones that will deal with the subject of religion’s influence on Western bigtory as well as the influence of that bigotry on Western religion, especially Western Christian traditions.