I spoke recently with a Native American friend and colleague who shared with me that he had entered a restaurant in a small town in Minnesota where several men were openly complaining about all these immigrant children and families.
He found their conversation so toxic and enraging that he finally broke into their conversation and told them, "They have more of a right to be here in the U.S. than you do. They are Native American children who are from this continent, indigenous to this land like myself, and all of you are immigrants and recently arrived, by comparison."
By this, he refers to history's cruel irony about this whole situation that we're currently in. The "stranger" is the person who crosses the border—with or without papers—while those that are claiming entitlement are those whose ancestors have not only recently arrived, but who have profited immeasurably as a consequence of war and domination that this story from Worthington, Minnesota, reinscribes.
And to do so to children, no less. How sad and shameful.
My thoughts and prayers go out to these beautiful, innocent children...brown children of this brown continent, caught in the snare of the U.S. government's white supremacist, brutal and inhumane policies and practices.
Unless this community in Minnesota has a change of heart and mind toward these young people, however, animus will get manifest at those points of contact in the arena of social relations. By this, I mean in school settings between teachers and students, teachers and guardians or parents, guardians and principals, and so on.
For things to be any different, deep, cultural work is needed here. it must get done. Ethnic Studies in the school curriculum could be really helpful here. Among other things, it would bring history, economics, cultural and social phenomenon, and so on, to bear on the nature of social relations today.
How can we win the fight against climate change if we can't live, work, and share literal space with each other? And when the target of this animus is children, we, the broader public, must collectively and vehemently disavow such ways of knowing that are so extreme that they objectify the "other," treating children of tender age as little more than objects, as best, and at worst, a major inconvenience.
This is a very sad and disappointing story.
Immigrant kids fill this town’s schools. Their bus driver is leading the backlash.