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Friday, August 28, 2015

Political Profanity

I pay attention to news and politics because I like to entertain the idea that my thoughts and my votes matter in the greater scheme of things. But reading political stuff, interviews, polls and opinions, gets me mad or frightened or both. I’m concerned that Donald Trump is ahead in polls for the Republican presidential polls. (Which by the way is an election in 2016 and why are we even reading about it yet?) Oh, if we ever needed a confirmation that political contests are all about money and elections are bought… But I wanted to see his take on the issues. Why is this man who is so ugly in his opinions about immigrants getting such support in the polls? If you go to the Trump website and click “Positions” you will find a tab for “Immigration Reform.” That’s it. He officially has no other positions. This leaves me more confused and more concerned.

His, mostly debunked, stand on immigrants and loud support of unsubstantiated “stats” is frightening. I know he is attacking immigrants from Mexico, for now, but he doesn’t seem to discern documented and undocumented immigrants in his onslaught. Several Republicans have been using the term “anchor baby” in attacking each other and voters concerning immigration reform. I hadn’t really heard the term and I was born to a married couple; a US citizen and a green card documented immigrant. I needed to find out the root of the term because I actually didn’t know if my brother and I are anchor babies.

The term was coined in the 1980s to describe Southeast Asian teens who came to America to get a financial foothold and sponsor family members to come over. As it morphed into that foothold being established by the citizenship granted babies born in this country, regardless of their parents’ nationality, it became thought of as a child citizen who could anchor the parents into the country. That, by the way, is false. A child born in this country is American but may sponsor their parents to enter the country after they are 21. There is no guarantee that the parents can legally remain because they have a child that was born here. The term came to prominence again in 2006 as congressional Republicans  used it in a derogatory way to pass legislation to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico.

The thing is it’s always been a derogatory term. It’s just like terms I remember hearing as a kid that were “just sayings.” But to a kid whose great-grandparents were born in Poland, I knew “dumb pollack” was meant as something mean to the people who said it and meant it as an ugly stereotype; it wasn’t just a saying. Anchor baby became used retroactively to describe any child born in the US that the person using the term deemed to be only born here to keep alien parents in the country. It was never an actual term to describe someone’s status, but a term used with disdain to describe anyone based on assumption. As a term that means a baby born to an immigrant mother, or one who is not legitimately here, calling someone an anchor baby is the same as calling someone a bastard; it’s the accusation that they come from illegitimate parentage. It’s pretty sad that we allow people who claim they want to lead us throw that term around so casually.

Oh, and as far as whether or not my brother and I are anchor babies, we’re not. If my dad had been the US citizen and mom had been the one with the green card it could be different. Women getting married to a US citizen and making babies to anchor themselves in the country is an acceptable suspicion but notsomuch for men. You see “anchor baby” is not just rooted in racism, but it’s rooted in sexism too. There are no anchor babies; you don’t choose where you are born. If you are an American, you are an American and deserve all the rights of an American citizen.

2 comments:

Edna B said...

Well said. I have heard, but don't use the term Anchor Babies. I had to look at the cartoon several times before I figured out what it was saying. My goodness, my ancestors came over on that Mayflower, so I guess that pilgrim baby could be my great, great, great, etc, grandmother!!

It's good to see you more active here on your blog. I miss your smile when you're not around.

You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

seamhead gypsy said...

Sometimes I don't know why I talk.

Mr. Trump is too bombastic for my support right now. But I think he is leading in the polls because the majority of Americans are more than a little concerned with ILLEGAL immigration. Illegal immigration is the real problem here. I don't think Trump has any issues with immigrants in this country. While I can't say for sure, but I would have to venture a guess that his business employs plenty of immigrants. Heck, I think he is married to an immigrant. The core of his position is those crossing into this country illegally. His website may lack detail on his stance on issues and immigration reform, I understand that will change sometime in the next few weeks.

My personal feeling on immigration reform is that we really shouldn't try to reform our immigration laws until we try enforcing our current immigration laws to see those results. If we need to build a physical barrier (a wall) to assist our current laws, then maybe we should. In fact, I thought there was already a law in place to build a wall or fence.

I don't understand how the term "anchor baby" can be seated in racism since anyone of any race can break the law and sneak into this country illegally to give birth. And the term wasn't considered offensive until 2011 according to the NY Times. An American Heritage Dictionary editor read the definition on a radio show. Afterward an angry blog post written by the director of the pro-immigration Immigration Policy Center went viral. Several days later American Heritage Dictionary changed their definition. Their change made it a pejorative term. One could argue that this is an over reach of political correctness. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/08/20/is-anchor-baby-a-derogatory-term-a-history-of-the-debate/

I can understand where it doesn't seem right in deportation cases to split families up. So why not deport the entire family IF the parents of a child born within our borders are found to have entered the country by illegal means?

There is that term ILLEGAL again. That one word seems to be the crux of the whole issue. Handle that and we've got a pretty good start to solving the problem.

But the federal government doesn't seem to care.

So why do I talk.