Much is being made in certain circles about the matter of SB 60, which is a provision which allows 'illegal aliens' to be legally licensed as drivers in California. The bill which was signed into law by ex-governor Grey Davis was supported by both the mayor and chief of police of Los Angeles. It restores a privilege that was denied several years ago. Arnold Schwartzenegger has promised to repeal it and activist groups are passing around a petition.
This is just the kind of situation that brings up a dozen questions but the one that has got me thinking is that of citizenship. What is it, who can tell, and what difference does it make?
My first talking point is Assimilation, Multiculturalism & False White Neutrality
Assimilation, Multiculturalism & False White Neutrality
I think that when one talks about assimilation into the mainstream, every ethnicity has their own path. This is not trying to put value into ethnicity, it's simply respecting the history of real people. The point of multiculturalism is that certain types of assimilation are destructive. I think that for the sake of whiteness, a great deal of useful ethnic knowledge was destroyed. What people did to prove themselves to be American varies group by group depending on what kind of crap is thrown at them.
Since I don't want to live in a post-modern bullshit factory where everything is relative, I want to see people's knowledge of themselves and their ways of life retain meaning. So that means I think people have a responsibility to their heritage in representing its strengths, language, customs, etc. So someone who says "I'm colorblind" is kind of like the person who walks into a church and says "it doesn't matter what religion you are" or someone who says "I'm just white" is like the person who walks into a church and says "I'm agnostic, I don't have any interest in all this investment in God crap". But when you talk about race, saying "I don't care" is a particular thing that whitefolks are privileged to do. It's a luxury because Irish aren't in the frying pan to say it doesn't matter that your grandmother was Irish. But it also disrespects your grandmother in exactly the way Germans did when they were white and Irish were not. Her ethnicity is something negative, what do the Irish know about being American?
Because I grew up black, I talk about blackfolks and whitefolks, but I know different Asians have different takes on it. Chicanos have talked about Cornel West being 'Anglo'.
Anyway the question is how does one sustain the value of ethnic life lessons without buying into fictions and oppressions of race? How much can one put that forward in identity in the America that is, and what is appropriate to what we want to be? I think defaulting that to just 'white' by whitefolks is a serious cultural and political barrier to progress.
I'm rather settled in my opinion of these matters, true, but I'm sadly interested in knowing how people think and feel about it nevertheless. My despair in actually seeing a citizenry properly interested in the resolution of these issues makes me do the same thing, which is to say it doesn't matter who the fuck your grandmother was, all that matters is how much money you make and what neighborhood you can afford to live in.
This relates to citizenship and SB 60 in that you can bet that it's whitefolks who are supporting it's repeal and whitefolks that killed it in the first place. I beleive they are doing so because they feel that the 'illegal aliens' are not doing their part in becoming American in the same way they (the whitefolks) did. The question is, whether that is a good enough reason. I don't believe it is. This is a different America than it was 50 years ago and assimilation isn't what it used to be.
I think we are going to have a difficult time maintaining an English Only nation. The dictates of the Internal Empire will eventually have to smack down that rule, especially if we are to compete with a European Union.