community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
A critical look at May Day 2006
by Kirilov Tuesday, May. 02, 2006 at 9:35 PM
Race and Racism at May Day 2006 in Pittsburgh and around the U.S.
Those in control have always been aware that it is in their favor for oppressed groups to quarrel with one and other. This age old strategy has been successful in the past and is still utilized today. During the recent protests for immigrant rights it has become more apparent that Black Americans and those new to this country have taken on these roles given to them by those in power.
Black Americans have been exploited since the beginning of this country’s history thus have traditionally held a left-leaning political stance that places emphasis on progressive social change. Their viewpoints on immigration have become an aberration from Black America’s historically liberal outlook. In my hometown I have personally noticed members of the Black community take stances on immigration more aligned with right-wing talk radio hosts. For instance, the only counter protestor at the May Day demonstration was a young Black man holding a sign that read “Seal The Border”. In Los Angeles, Ted Hayes an “advocate” for homeless Black Americans, has made news by organizing the Crispus Attucks Brigade to work along with the Minutemen to organize against immigrants in that region. Hayes has been said to consider immigrants to be the "biggest threat to blacks in America since slavery”. It should be noted that racism has and continues to be the biggest threat to Blacks in America.
The xenophobia of the Black community has also been met by the racism of immigrant groups. The same day I witnessed the counter protestor show off his sign, I was yelled at by an advocate of immigrant rights claiming that the march was “our protest not yours” in response to my participating in the demonstration but chanting a slogan that wasn’t to her liking. I am not an immigrant but how did she know that I didn’t belong in the “our protest” category? There was nothing on my t-shirt that explained that I was marching in a rally but not one of the many black immigrants from the Caribbean, Africa, or a Black Latin American. From her statements I would be right to infer that she felt the purpose of the march was for the rights of select groups of immigrants, i.e. the ones that are not black. This was not an isolated incident and racism towards Blacks from newcomers is commonplace. Although both groups tend to reside in the same communities, their relationship is often tenuous. Malcolm X once remarked “Pretty little children. Soon they’re going to learn their first English word: nigger” after watching a family of immigrants arrive in the States. All too often adjusting to American culture means becoming apart of its long tradition of racism.
If this is going to be the character of the struggle of immigrants and Blacks in America then it should more appropriately be referred to as a competition. The goal of this competition is not freedom but acceptance into an elite group that is allowed to turn their noses down at the exploited. When struggle transforms into competition, xenophobia and racism become its most noticeable characteristics. If this is where these movements are heading then I want no part in either. What is particular to this competition is that there are no winners. Only a select few of one of these warring factions can enter privilege while the majority of both will remain in their present conditions.
It is no coincidence that this demonstration for immigrant rights fell on May Day. This day celebrates the achievements of exploited workers without regards to race or culture. The fact that the demonstration fell on this specific day makes a clear statement that in order for the oppressed to reach their goals they must be united. Immigrants and Black Americans usually live in the same communities and for the time being are in similar situations. It is in our best interests to struggle together than to compete for irrelevant gains despite what our “advocates” tell us. Only when we cease attacking one and other, we can then truly attain the change very much needed.
- Rodion Romanovich Kirilov
|movement or group?||dt||Thursday, May. 11, 2006 at 7:51 PM|
|I, I, I, me, me, me||whose sidewalks?||Tuesday, May. 09, 2006 at 11:59 AM|
|to kirilove||alienc||Sunday, May. 07, 2006 at 1:07 PM|
|yep||tootles||Friday, May. 05, 2006 at 3:21 PM|
|mayday||wordson||Friday, May. 05, 2006 at 2:33 PM|
|....||wtf?||Thursday, May. 04, 2006 at 8:12 PM|
|Who said?||you did, ed||Thursday, May. 04, 2006 at 8:21 AM|
|more strawmen||ed||Wednesday, May. 03, 2006 at 2:11 PM|
|Where have I heard this before...?||no excuse||Wednesday, May. 03, 2006 at 12:52 PM|
|chants||...||Wednesday, May. 03, 2006 at 12:09 PM|