Hypocrite or Saint: Should the US let in Refugees to Assuage the Migrant Crisis?

originally posted on my personal blog: wildcharismaandwanderlust.wordpress.com

Hypocrite or Saint: Should the US let in Refugees to Assuage the Migrant Crisis?

Oh, the hypocrisy of mainstream media. After weeks – months – of vilifying, demonizing, and dehumanizing refugees, it turns around and cries out at the injustice of children drowning. “For the children!” is the battle cry that rings out of the media. The tune has changed from the idea that the migrant crisis is an invasion of Western civilisation to actual sympathy for the migrants. It is abhorrent that it took a viral picture of a drowned child washed up on the coast of Bordum, Turkey, for the world to recognize the shared humanity of refugees fleeing war and oppression in Syria, etc for a better life.

At this point does the US even have a moral obligation to take in any refugees? A country of 53,041.98 USD as its GDP per capita is considering taking in just 10,000 refugees after months of the E.U. migrant crisis, whereas Germany, a country of 46,268.64 USD GDP per capita, has already welcomed at least 10,000 more asylum seekers than it already has just this previous Saturday. Germany affirms, “Our boat is nowhere near full” to the thousands of migrants making the perilous journey to the Western world from Africa and the Middle East.

How then can America, the land of the free, only deign to accept 10,000 asylum seekers/migrants/refugees? We consider ourselves the pioneers of the developed western democracies, and we should start acting that way. We can do better than 10,000 migrants. We have the resources and capacity to take in much more. We are the Home of the Brave, and if those refugees are courageous enough to risk their lives on a precarious boat on a quest for humane living conditions, they deserve to be welcomed into the United States with open arms.

There have been arguments that the EU’s migrant crisis is too geographically distant from the United States to expect us to get involved. Yet, this country has created a pattern and a history of getting involved in other countries’ affairs. Why is that, as the leader of the free world, we have a precedent of violently interfering with the business of countries that are geographically isolated from us, rather than extending a hand of peace and friendship to asylum seekers from countries in need?

After all, the United States of America was originally founded as a nation of immigrants, of men desperate to cross uncharted waters to find liberty and evade oppressive governments. Much of the United States’ history includes an influx of even more immigrants from countries such as Ireland and Italy who were seeking a good life of honest labor as well as fleeing persecution and famine. Ellis Island, New York, is notable for being a symbol of freedom for immigrants entering the Land of the Free via ships. What makes these migrants any different that we should turn our backs on our brothers and sisters in their time of dire need?

I call up on the Great United States of America to do the “right thing” and accept at least 50,000 migrants onto our shores. They, too, deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They, too, are human beings just like us. They, too, are worthy of acceptance.

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Book Review: White Like Me (Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son) by Tim Wise

white like me

White Like Me

Tim Wise

Published 2005

Amazon

Synopsis

With a new preface and updated chapters, White Like Me is one-part memoir, one-part polemical essay collection. It is a personal examination of the way in which racial privilege shapes the daily lives of white Americans in every realm: employment, education, housing, criminal justice, and elsewhere.

Using stories from his own life, Tim Wise demonstrates the ways in which racism not only burdens people of color, but also benefits, in relative terms, those who are “white like him.” He discusses how racial privilege can harm whites in the long run and make progressive social change less likely. He explores the ways in which whites can challenge their unjust privileges, and explains in clear and convincing language why it is in the best interest of whites themselves to do so. Using anecdotes instead of stale statistics, Wise weaves a narrative that is at once readable and yet scholarly, analytical and yet accessible.

My Thoughts

What a gem White Like Me is! I have become very socially conscious on matters of Race in America since August last year, with the infamous Ferguson incident, so I was very interested in what Tim Wise had to say. I actually got the book from my Theory of Knowledge teacher, who was giving out an extra copy he had bought. (Shout out to Michael LoStracco!)

In case you didn’t already know, Tim Wise is a white American who is working to educate people on race relations and combat racism in America. The essence of what he was saying in his book, White Like Me: racism still exists in America, there is such a thing as white privilege, the micro-aggressions blacks face daily, were all things that I already knew prior to reading about them in his book. Yet, it was still refreshing to read a white person saying all that, especially when it comes to white privilege.

He is very honest and candid, which really impressed me when I was reading. Too many times have whites been to plagued by white guilt rather than facing the truth. Not Tim Wise. He wrote the hard truth, and it made me ecstatic. He wrote about privilege, belonging, resistance, and collaboration, and I could only marvel at the infinite wisdom, self-awareness, and empathy pouring out of a white man when writing about an issue that never affects him (at least not negatively, something he never has to worry about in his life: race.

I wish I could meet Mr. Wise in real life and thank him for writing such a candid book on our so-called “post-racial society”. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It’s important to be educated on such delicate social topics as race in today’s world. In fact, it is essential in combatting the ignorance that still befalls many in America today when it comes to race.

Favorite Quotes

“What whites have rarely had to think about—because being the dominant group, we are so used to having our will done, with a little effort at least—is that maybe the point is not victory, however much we all wish to see justice attained and injustice routed. Maybe our redemption comes from the struggle itself. Maybe it is in the effort, the striving for equality and freedom that we become human.”
Tim Wise, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son

“So, in “Melting Pot” the children (about a third of whom were kids of color) sang the line, “America was the new world and Europe was the old,” in one stroke eradicating the narratives of indigenous persons for whom America was hardly new, and any nonwhite kids whose old worlds had been in Africa or Asia, not Europe.”
Tim Wise, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son

“Hardly any aspect of my life, from where I had lived to my education to my employment history to my friendships, had been free from the taint of racial inequity, from racism, from whiteness. My racial identity had shaped me from the womb forward. I had not been in control of my own narrative. It wasn’t just race that was a social construct. So was I.”
Tim Wise, White Like Me

“And in “Elbow Room” the cast sings the glories of westward expansion in the United States, which involved the murder of native peoples and the violent conquest of half of Mexico. Among the lines in the song is one that intones, “There were plenty of fights / To win land right / But the West was meant to be / It was our Manifest Destiny?” Let it suffice to say that happily belting out a tune in which one merrily praises genocide is always easier for those whose ancestors weren’t on the receiving end of the deal.”
Tim Wise, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son