Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Current Events and Past Events (the circle of history)
While I've been working today, I've been watching/listening off and on to a special on the History Channel about the history of the KKK. According to the show, the KKK had all but died at one point, but fears about immigration and the loss of national identity laid the groundwork among many Americans for the explosive rebirth of a renewed (and more violent) KKK.

I couldn't help but think about current fears of border control and illegal immigration. I know many people -- many otherwise sane, wise, caring people -- who fall into the trap of generalizing about "them" when it comes to anyone of Hispanic descent. It makes no difference whether the person is legal, illegal, or U.S. citizen, he or she is seen as lazy, dirty, or trying to beat the system and get one over on the U.S. government and take jobs away from good, hard-working U.S. citizens.

I also notice a growing agitation and outspokenness among young adults and teenagers (in my area at least) against "Mexicans" -- even though many of the targets of this speech are from various Latin and South American countries and not Mexico after all.

I wonder what the fallout of this will be. Are we breeding a new rash of KKK-like thought among the next generation by the us-vs.-them talk we adults use in this issue? Are we laying seeds for future hate crimes as our population becomes more Latin in the years to come? I hope not.

I don't know what the answer is or the proper response should be, but something about my understanding of faith and humanity says that it should be one based in humility and love and grace and service rather than one of irritation, distrust, superiority and (not so) righteous indignation. It's one of those "What Would Jesus, Ghandi, Buddha, etc. Do" kind of moments, I think, regardless of your faith or choice not to believe any faith. The central truth remains -- at least in my mind -- that people have an innate value we should preserve and we should treat every person with respect in however the issue is handled.

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