Saturday, June 07, 2014

Racism, Reparations, and Migration

The broader category of xenophobia deserves more attention in the discussion about reparations at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Human rights and migration.

Subject Article: "The Case for Reparations: Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole."

Other Links: 1. "How Housing Discrimination Created the Idea of Whiteness."
2. "Story of Ireland: The Age of Union."
3. "Black, British And 'Brain Drained': Playwright Takes Charge In Baltimore."
4. "'I was constantly moaning in London'" When actor and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah left the UK to become artistic director of Baltimore's Center Stage theatre in 2011 he jumped headfirst into America's racial politics."

Postscript: I'm playing around with the idea that racism as a discourse fits within the broader category of xenophobia. Xenophobia is often confused (conflated?) with xenophobia. The rancor in Vancouver, BC over rising housing prices is a good example:

“The fact these millionaires (buying real estate in Vancouver) are mainly Chinese is not relevant to the debate, and that is why I am a bit distressed that this is being characterized as a racist discussion,” says Ian Young, the Vancouver correspondent for the South China Morning Post.

The geography of gentrification in Vancouver is relevant. That the real estate investment comes from China matters. But the spotlight continues to be on the suspected gentrifiers. Pointing a finger at a gentrifier is not racist. It is xenophobic. Xenophobia transcends racial discourse. The United States hasn't had "thirty-five years of racist housing policy." The United States has had thirty-five years of xenophobic policy. We cannot have a meaningful discussion about reparations without broadening the scope of the discussion to xenophobic citizenship law and practices.

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