September 28, 2012 by mramirez2
My initial reaction… Is it safe to say I am totally outraged by Ann Coulter’s comments? When I first watched the video I was speechless, and not in a positive way. It is surprising that some people can be so narrow-minded as to believe civil rights “are only for black people.” Coulter believes that America owes African Americans because of the slavery issues, but what about the people who came to America searching for jobs that are not worked by white Americans? According to NCFH´s September farmworker factsheet, “72% of all farmworkers are foreign-born, 68% of all farmworkers were born in Mexico.” Or what about the Chinese who worked in the gold mines and were treated violently as a means of expulsion in the 1800’s and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882? What about their huge participation in the dangerous, backbreaking construction of the Central Pacific Railroad in which 9 out of 10 railroad workers were Chinese? What about the Japanese who were placed in concentration camps due to false accusation of spying for Japan, later finding out that only ten were truly spies of Caucasian descent? Ann Coulter states that “America owes black people,” but doesn’t America owe a lot more than Coulter’s belief? Discrimination has not only been applied to African Americans, and although the slavery legacy is very strong, it is important to keep in mind that this country was founded by immigrants. Immigrants come to America from the entire world searching for opportunities, and although it is believed that immigrants are somewhat “burdens,” out of the 15 million people who receive welfare (4.1% of the total U.S. population), 78.6% are American (white and black). If anything, migration can be in certain cases a symbiotic relationship, where immigrants work from the jobs provided by “the promised land,” and America gets people to work in the jobs that Americans choose to not participate in. If this country is all about freedom and equality, then I believe civil rights apply to everyone, not just black people.
So what are civil rights in my opinion? Civil rights promote equality to everyone, no matter where you come from, where your parents come from, no matter what decisions your parents made when you were little. Civil rights are the rights that people who live in any country have if they’re active, responsible inhabitants, assuming they cause no harm to anyone else. Immigration applies to civil rights as many contributors to our American society deserve as much rights as white Americans. If a proposition such as the Dream Act fall into place, and immigration is not as restricted, more people will migrate into America, and follow the guidelines provided by the government. Still, America is a diverse country, with many possibilities to incorporate more people into its boundaries, even if it’s temporary. Eventually, we will look back into our decade and see how immigrants began to fight for their civil rights the same way we look back now and see how the country has evolved.