I have long been a fan of Tavis Smiley, so when I saw this interview, I had to add it to this blog. The most relevant part starts with 2:24 remaining.

What we need now in Black and Brown America is some coalition building. It is the same now as it has been for quite some time–we’re fighting over crumbs from the table. We’re fighting over a slice of the pie rather than getting our fair share of the pie, or for that matter, baking a larger pie. Things have to change in a multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-ethnic America. And so I had a real issue with the woman who would not give her name because I don’t want to approach this as an issue of division, rather one of finding come common ground and building some coalitions, that’s number one. Number two, with all due respect to my black brothers and sisters, I do not know too many black folk who are truly, truly interested in doing some of the menial work, to use his word, that these immigrants do. I don’t see a bunch of brothers lining up to park cars and bus tables and wash dishes and nanny babies manicure lawns. Let’s be honest about it, everybody likes to make that argument and the irony of it is that here’s the one place where black folk, liberals, progressives (so-called), and conservatives end up in bed together, strange bed-fellows. Everybody, when they want to bastardize or demonize the immigrant says they’re taking our jobs. Who wants these jobs? Nobody wants these jobs. I can tell you right now, if these twelve million–or whatever that number is–if everyone of those immigrants just got up and walked back across the border, it would wreck our economy. It would completely wreck it and a whole lot of folk would be pulling their hair out, jumping out of windows and going crazy, ‘who’s going to nanny the baby, who’s cutting my grass?’ At the restaurant your tables can’t get bussed, your cars can’t–I live in L.A.–your car can’t get parked. I mean, it would just completely wreck our economy and we don’t want to be honest about that.

This seems the appropriate point to quote Dr. King. He said, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” The undocumented immigrant community has had success with this and if I can find a video clip, I’ll post it, but the immigrant community must understand that although the U.S. economy recruited you here because you are personally exploitable and expendable, if you act collectively, you are indispensable.

website metrics

Advertisements