Monday, August 9, 2010

14th Amendment Repeal Movement is Racist

In the last few months, the Republican Party, particularly Republicans from states that border Mexico, have started calling for a repeal of the 14th amendment to the constitution. In addition to the 14th amendment being the equal protection and due process clause, it is also the amendment that establishes birthright citizenship in the United States.

The attack by the Right on the Constitutional Amendment that was passed specifically to create a legal framework to protect against the disenfranchisement and return to chattel slavery of African Americans is the most insidiously racist piece of rhetoric from the GOP that I have heard in a very long time.

And these are not some crackpot legislators from rural districts in the Arizona hinterlands. The call for repeal of the 14th Amendment has come from none other than U.S. Senator, and Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell and several of his GOP Senatorial (and racist) colleagues. What was once only insane racist rantings by the likes of former U.S. Rep Tom Tancredo and Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce--Boss Hog's doppleganger-- (author of SB1070--Arizona's insane anti-immigration law) has now become the cause celebre of the GOP leadership.

What the what?

Over the last week, I have heard a number of NPR stories and seen several interviews on CNN where these white privileged men are screaming bloody murder about the hijacking of the Constitution by "illegal immigrants." First of all, fuck you. Second of all, no human being is illegal, third of all the only reason that most white folks that immigrated to this country have citizenship, particularly after the massive immigration from the late 19th through the early 20th century is BECAUSE of birthright citizenship and the 14th amendment.

And let's be clear, this attack is an attack on the legitimacy of all people of color. It is well thought out, even if poorly executed. For example, there was already a ridiculous furor over whether or not Obama was a citizen. To this day, despite the fact that Obama's Mother was a U.S. citizen, and despite the fact that the State of Hawai'i has verified Obama's birth on U.S. territory, there are still those that claim that he is not nor ever has been a U.S. citizen. Can you even imagine the legal nightmare in which we would be embroiled if birthright citizenship was not constitutionally guaranteed? It would have made Bush v. Gore look like an episode of the People's Court.

Let me bring this out into the light of day, all of this crazy crap from the Tea Party, to Arizona's immigration law, to the movement to repeal the 14th Amendment is a last desperate push by the White Right to try and stave off the inevitable: not only are people of color soon to be the majority in the United States, the historical inevitability is that with each passing generation, we move closer to a time when people of color will be the majority of those running this country. After 400 years of U.S. and colonial history, where the wealth of this country was created by people of color yet controlled by white folks, and after a century of progressively more political gains by people of color, some folks have seen the writing on the wall and freaked out when they discovered the writing was black (and brown and red and yellow). Sharpies don't come in white ink Mitch McConnell.

Without a drastic shift in the understanding and application of the Constitution, the underpinnings of the social structures that have for so long and have done so well at maintaining white hegemony in this country, are being slowly eroded by the unsustainability of this nations' economic practice and the historical inevitability of a shift in demographics that has and will continue to reshape the landscape of this country.

Don't mistake me, in the end, unless there is a radical shift in our economic policy, it will still be corporations that truly rule in the United States. They will just be ruled by black and brown faces. But even maintaining economic control, which is not subject to democratic principles and thus allows the massive wealth stolen by white folks in white hands, the fear that accompanies a shift in the faces that control the systems of democratic power in this country have some right wing nut jobs fearing that one day, some day, some how people of color in this country are going to find them out and take back what was never ever theirs in the first place.

PS Though I never thought I would ever appreciate Lou Dobbs, I did today. Lou Dobbs, that foe of immigrants, has come out strongly against the GOP move to repeal the 14th amendment.


  1. The AZ law is SB1070 by the way. Folks in AZ are passing out "Boycott Arizona - But It's A Dry Hate" bumper stickers.


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