I had the pleasure of attending a fantastic Netroots Nation event yesterday where once again, advocates brought up the terrible idea of ‘piecemeal approaches,’ derided DREAM advocates and then proceeded to say that the best we could hope for is that things do not get worse in this climate.
A speaker from Nancy Pelosi’s office told us all that we did not have votes to pass the DREAM Act and that they were looking towards President Obama to frame the issue. The CHC was NOT going to support any ‘piecemeal approach.’ That was the best they could do. It was so positively empowering for all the young people in the room. My immigrant youth friend and I gained a lot from the event; we realized that we should skip going to anything where we are not represented.
I believe the most enlightening quote of the night was from the Asian Law Caucus representative, who said “the only thought out there in the universe promoting a piecemeal immigration effort is MALDEF.” Fantastic. The only thought in my head after hearing that is DUMB. Don’t get me wrong. I totally support comprehensive immigration reform but anything short of a complete overhaul (including the inclusion of UAFA) is ‘piecemeal’ so I will never understand why young immigrants are so derided for taking reins of their own cause. It’s like accusing queers of only wanting marriage for themselves. Now regardless of what we think about marriage, WHO goes around saying that?
Now of course, people will be clamoring to ‘talk to me’ about ‘MY issues’ after the fact, which is so typical of our (racist) hierarchical power structure. The outspoken queer woman of color (aka B-I-T-C-H) has ‘issues’ of course and everyone else doesn’t. Now why is it that people of color have to be offended before being taken seriously and called for dialogue? Don’t bother answering that because I am highly disinterested in wasting an iota of my precious time talking to anyone and their lackeys.
This is precisely what happens when immigrants and immigrant youth get purposely left out of panels concerning their own issues even by so-called allies. I repeatedly asked to be included on the panel concerning “online organizing for immigration rights” only to be told that there was no space for me. Literally. And I have no interest in listening to citizens talk about immigrants and “their rights.” That’s like being gay and sitting in a room where straight people are lecturing about tenets of the LGBT movement. My mind is not colonized enough to accept that.
For the ‘white liberal racist’ we are mere tokens, only for interest when it comes to collecting stories and posing for documentaries. And when their million-dollar strategies fail to bear fruit, we are blamed for ‘ineffective advocacy.’ We, the immigrant youth, fighting to keep our homes, find and hold down jobs, somehow get 3 meals per day and struggling to grapple with refugee status in our own homes just did not try hard enough to lobby for ourselves. We failed even though we are mere caricatures in a simulated game.
Luckily for us, I know how to create alternative spaces so people haven’t been able to entirely put the ‘ignore and discard’ stamp on us. You can’t control messaging online, and that is why real voices are more powerful, more successful than the mutts guarding traditional gates would like.
I am in the “moving on” and “moving out” process in my life. This chapter is so closed that it hardly matters. It’s NEVER going to come in the way of my actual life what with full tuition offers from law schools filling up my mailbox. But I thought I would mention it in passing to the other ships still blindly navigating the waters in the dark to nowhere. Your biggest opposition is not the ignorant anti-immigrant foes with their copy-paste comment spam. Your biggest opposition is the attrition you will face from people supposedly on your own side. Trust no one. Good luck.