Moral Low Ground


Video: Native American Turns Tables on Arizona Anti-Immigration Protesters

A Native American pushing his baby in a stroller down a Tucson, Arizona street recently came upon an anti-immigration rally  and decided to give the haters a long piece of his mind.

“You’re all illegal,” he shouts to protesters lined up on the side of the road, some of them waving American flags and chanting anti-immigrant slogans. “You’re all fucking illegal!” the man yelled back.

“We didn’t invite none of you here,” the incensed dad continued. “We’re the only Native Americans here! That’s right. You’re all illegal. Get on! Get on with your bogus arguments! We’re the only legal ones here!”

He then turns to a man carrying an American flag and a sign with an anti-immigrant slogan.

“We should have put that sign up when you sons of bitches came,” the Native man retorted. Pointing at the flag, he continued: “That represents blood. That represents blood spilled by Native Americans protecting this land from the invaders. That’s right. You don’t wanna hear the goddamned truth, do ya? Get on! Get on, bitch! You don’t wanna hear the truth. That’s what that flag stands for. All the Native Americans you killed to plant your houses here. That’s the truth.”

By that point, most of the anti-immigrant protesters had scurried off somewhere else, and the Native man pushed his stroller off and carried on with his day.

Anyone who thinks this guy was out of line is a need of a little historial refresher: from the day Europeans first arrived in the Americas, the native population has been targeted for enslavement and extermination. Upon landing in the Bahamas, Christopher Columbus, still considered a great hero by millions of Americans, wrote this in his diary about the Arawak people he encountered:

“They… brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawk’s bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features… They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… They would make fine servants… With 50 men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”

According to the late historian Howard Zinn, within two years of Columbus’ arrival, half of the 250,000 Arawaks were dead. Many of the rest were enslaved, and their nation’s riches were plundered. It was the beginning of a genocide that would last until the 20th century. The pre-European Native American population of an estimated 12 million would be reduced by 95 percent over four centuries.

A century after wiping out most of the Native population, or confining them to reservations on mostly barren land, Arizonans proceeded to enact one of the strictest anti-immigrant laws in the nation. Apparently forgetting that all of Arizona was once part of Mexico until the US conquered it by provoking and waging war on our southern neighbor from 1846-1848,  SB 1070 makes not carrying immigration papers a crime and forces police to detain anyone suspected of being in the United States illegally. The racially motivated anti-immigrant law was followed by other legislation targeting Latinos and others. Ethnic studies courses have been banned since 2011 in public schools in a state where Mexicans make up the largest single national ancestry group. Tucson schools even banned Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” under this law.

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