What If Mexico Was “White�?

-A +A

[Speaking Truth To Power]

The portrayal of Mexicans as villains has intensified due to the immigration debate.

Some insist racism isn’t involved in the vitriol. Does anyone believe that Mexico’s national character would be smeared by such negative stereotypes we hear everyday across this nation and in the media if it was a “white” country?

In 2006, the immigration debate was resurrected by politicians to distract the American people from the mounting failures of the Iraq War and its scandals such as the Haditha massacre—of 24 civilians—and the rape and murder of 14-year-old Iraqi Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi.

These incidents threatened to galvanize outrage over an unpopular war that’s been steadily draining the economy. A report on CNN this morning estimates a $1.5 trillion cost for both the Afghan and Iraq campaigns, including the higher cost of fuel and its impact on the economy. Therefore, the “immigration problem” was hyped to buy time for politicians to decide what to do in Iraq.

The troubling aspect of this is the cynical understanding by politicians that racism can always be used to divide. Pundits now screaming about immigration reform claim to be against “illegal immigration,” not immigrants per se. That is a damn lie.
In New York, there is a tremendous hue and cry regarding Governor Elliot Spitzer’s proposal to grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. Talking heads like CNN’s Lou Dobbs continually excoriate the Spitzer proposal. Dobbs and many of the politicos who appear on his immigrant-bashing program incessantly contend that it’s the “illegality” that concerns them.

If “illegality” was so troubling why aren’t these righteous and law-abiding people demanding the impeachment and imprisonment of members of George Bush’s White House—the most criminal in history? The Bush Administration took this nation to war based on lies. It is a war-for-profit scheme that has looted the Treasury, while causing the deaths of 3,000-plus American soldiers. Iraqi death estimates, treated as a sidebar by mainstream media, are over a million.

The Bush Administration has engaged in illegal wiretapping—a violation of the FISA Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)—while outing CIA agent Valerie Plame-Wilson’s identity. The Geneva Conventions have been ignored, with tortures and “extraordinary renditions” where suspects are flown to third countries to be tortured on behalf of the United States.

If Lou Dobbs and his compadres were so appalled by illegality why aren’t they calling for these charlatans running the government to be hung from the public square? You would also imagine that, in the aftermath of the Jena Six case, where nooses have been appearing all across the country, these champions of “legality” would be denouncing those who would prefer to revert this country to the lawlessness of the lynching era.

This isn’t about illegality. It’s about class racism.

The Bible states “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Both Mexico and Canada are bordering neighbors of the United States. There is a stark difference in the perception—and treatment—of these two countries by America. White Canada is considered a trusted ally and when issues about “secure borders” are raised Canada is never considered.

In the raging debate over immigration, Mexico and Mexicans are continually disparaged. Far too many Americans look unfavorably towards their neighbors south of the border. The antipathy dates back to the 1846-48 Mexican/American War and the 1845 American annexation of the Mexican province of Texas. Mexico lost Texas and around 50% of its territory including California, Nevada and Utah, and sizable parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming due to the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Nearly 8,000 Mexican families were living in the territories of California and New Mexico. Most remained there.

“Manifest Destiny” articulated that the territory and sovereignty of non-white “heathens” could be breached. It is no coincidence that Klan and Neo-Nazi membership are resurging since the immigration issue resurfaced. Keep in mind, economics was usually at the center of all the race riots in America.

Wealth and accumulation of assets are central in any debate about race or immigration. Racism in America has always been a tactic to maintain class structure. When “legal” slavery approached its end, different methods of procuring cheap products and labor were crafted to maintain the layers of American imperialism.

When the Monroe Doctrine was enacted, on December, 2, 1823, by President James Monroe the main principle behind it was to facilitate hegemonic expansion of the empire in all of the Americas including Latin America and the Caribbean.
The doctrine subverted the independence and right to self-determination of these nations and made them subservient to U.S. interests. Consequently, the U.S. backed the worst dictators in these areas, who brutalized their citizens into compliance, while impoverishing the populace in the process.

Fidel Castro went against the grain and American elites tried to murder him over the years. Others like Castro’s friends, Grenada’s Maurice Bishop and Chile’s Salvador Allende, were assassinated by U.S. puppets. Today, U.S. hostility is directed against popular Latin American leaders like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Bolivia’s Eva Morales.

Treaties like NAFTA and CAFTA have further impoverished the region and are the main reasons Mexicans who can’t make a decent living come across the border to the U.S.

The question is: if Mexico was a "white" country would American policies continually stifle Mexico’s economic possibilities?
The answer is there for everyone to see: Look at the way the U.S. deals with Canada.


Benjamin is a member of The Black Star News's Editorial Board

To comment or to subscribe to or advertise in New York’s leading Pan African weekly investigative newspaper, or to send us a news tip, please call (212) 481-7745 or send a note to

Also visit out sister publications Harlem Business News www.harlembusinessnews.com and The Groove music magazine at www.thegroovemag.com

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

Also Check Out...

Lincoln Center and Interfaith
Sounding the Alarm about
Interfaith Leaders Confront World