Thursday, April 21, 2016

WELCOME MAT USA: Come in! Come in! (Get out! Get out!)

Ester Hernandez, Sun Raid
Un-naturally harvested
Guaranteed Deportation
Mextecos, Zapotecos, Triques, Purepechas
by-product of NAFTA

Saturday is the anniversary of Cesar Chavez' death in 1993, and it seems like an opportune time to lift up the work of artist Ester Hernandez.  I first saw her poster Sun Raid at the "Fires Will Burn" exhibition at DePaul University in Chicago.

Sun Raid is a searing reminder that people in the US have always been happy to welcome immigrants to help make their businesses profitable and make sure they had cheap stuff and cheap labor . . . . but how dare they expect to be treated like people!

(For a book-length treatment of this subject, see Juan Gonzalez's Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America.)

We are living in a year in which we are seeing Donald Trump get away with demonizing immigrants. Maybe we need to take advantage of this moment and turn the phenomenon on its head. Who, after all, are the immigrants? Who is "entitled" to be here? What can it possibly mean anymore to say that certain people are tolerated and others are "illegals"?

I've heard people say that the problem is that Trump is a master at using the media to get attention, and the rest of us need to get with the times. Okay, here's my contribution:

Eva Longoria on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:
"We didn't cross the border, the border crossed us."
Maybe when Eva Longoria says it, people will remember???
(Please retweet this message.)

A few weeks ago, on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, super-celebrity Eva Longoria repeated the expression familiar to many of us: "We didn't cross the border, the border crossed us." Maybe when she says it, people will remember???

More on "We didn't cross the border, the border crossed us" here.

Related posts

It will take me multiple posts to spell out everything that I feel needs to be said about the Ayotzinapa 43.  People in the US need to work to change their own attitude about Mexico, and about the culpability or all of us here in the US in the wrongs that are being done down there. The Ayotzinapa 43 were persecuted for saying "the future can be different." It's time for us to take up their cry.

(See Ayotzinapa43: US People Need an Attitude Adjustment )

El Buen Pastor by Luis Jiménez depicts Ezekiel Hernandez -- a shepherd who was shot by U.S. marines in the area around the US-Mexico border as he was tending his sheep. The artist has said, "having [marines] patrolling the border in the 'war on drugs' is 'an accident waiting to happen.'"

(See Holy Week 2016 and "El Buen Pastor")

Part of what I loved about Du Hai was the way it used large pieces of fabric to convey the sensation of being in a boat among billowing waves, and the multiple uses to which they put the fabric - sea, clouds, sail, and more. Even a newcomer to modern dance, such as myself, could grasp what was going on.

(See Wanna Fix the U.S.A? Welcome an Immigrant Today! )