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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

March Madness Shows Ugly Side

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My friend David Leopold writes on the AILA Leadership blog about an ugly incident in the NCAA basketball tournament game between Southern Mississippi and the University of Kansas.



"Where's your Green Card! Where's your Green Card! Where's your Green Card!..."


That was the despicable taunt that met Kansas State point guard Angel Rodriguez during the first-round NCAA tournament game between Kansas State University and the University of Southern Mississippi. Never mind that Rodriguez, a native of Puerto Rico, is a U.S. citizen. His surname and brown skin were enough to lead Southern Mississippi band members to put on an ugly display of prejudice, humiliating themselves and their university.


It goes without saying that the incident should be investigated and the perpetrators disciplined. Southern Mississippi has since publicly apologized to Rodriguez. Such bigotry has no place anywhere in America, least of all on a university campus.



David blames a restrictionist mentality that has been effectively cultivated by anti-immigrant groups around the country. Perhaps this is so, but I don't think it's any surprise that we heard these chants coming from fans of Southern Mississippi. I live ten minutes from the Mississippi border and have lived in different parts of the South my whole life (with the exception of going to law school in Chicago) and know a lot about the mindset of the deep southerner. And I can tell you that the ugly nativism David describes is not so unusual in this part of the world. In fact, it is a lot more of a problem here than elsewhere in America.


Unless you completely slept through history class, you probably know plenty about the long, sorry history of race relations in the Deep South. Slavery begat segregation and the South only started making changes in response to courageous civil rights activists, court decisions and federal legislation. Saner voices understood that economic development in the Deep South would never happen as long as the region's racist legacy was erased.


But while there have been improvements, much of that is on the surface only. Overt racism and outright discrimination have declined significantly over the years. But I would contend legal barriers and the broad national taboo on racism against African Americans has kept much of what was once normal in the South largely buried beneath the surface.


But that doesn't mean that the underlying hate in the hearts of many in the South is gone. It is now being channeled in to an anti-immigrant ferver which legislators and much of the population they represent consider socially acceptable. I noted this a few years back when when 23 of 28 Senators from Southern states voted against the DREAM Act. Only 19 Senators of the remaining 72 voted no. And lest you think Arizona disproves this analysis, read your civil rights history. Segregation was as bad in that state as the typical Southern state and they were the last state to adopt the Martin Luther King national holiday.


Sadly, the hate that has marked much of southern history is not yet just history. It's taken on a new ugly face.

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  1. George Chell's Avatar
    "I live ten minutes from the Mississippi border and have lived in different parts of the South my whole life (with the exception of going to law school in Chicago) and know a lot about the mindset of the deep southerner. And I can tell you that the ugly nativism David describes is not so unusual in this part of the world. In fact, it is a lot more of a problem here than elsewhere in America."

    You mean the deep white southerner. Then it is the absolute truth. The mindset is like a murderer getting caught and having to face the consequences...so he runs from the law. If I had committed the atrocities the ancestors of the white southerners had committed not too long ago (fifty years ago at most considering the Civil Rights Act became law in 1964)I would be scared too.

  2. Another Voice's Avatar
    For the English only folks...

    Why Bilinguals Are Smarter

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/the-benefits-of-bilingualism.html?_r=3
  3. Nurse Waiting's Avatar
    "Why Bilinguals Are Smarter"

    Is that why most bilinguals serving mono linguists of developed countries?
  4. Another Voice's Avatar
    "Is that why most bilinguals serving mono linguists of developed countries?"

    No...just look at yourself you are waiting ... and serving!!! Yet some people serving with you maybe smarter than you, I am sure they are...
  5. George Chell's Avatar
    The future Sheriff Arapio....

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/white-supremacist-sheriff-candidate-says-just-concerned-citizen-154117102.html
  6. George Chell's Avatar
    And the culprits in MS have been stripped of their scholarships...

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaab-the-dagger/southern-mississippi-punishes-band-members-ignorant-chant-170125916.html
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