Thursday, January 29, 2009

Let's Say I Broke Into Your House- Bad Analogies for Immigration

I noticed the other day how prevalent the use of a particular analogy is among anti-immigrant folks. "Let's say I broke into your house" or "Would you let those immigrants live in your house?". Of course what they're getting at is that this country is like a house. And it's their/our house and the immigrants have broke in and insisted they have a right to stay.

I would love to hear a dialogue that goes something like this:
Anti-immigrant protester (AIP): How would you like it if I decided I wanted to live in your house?
Freedom of Movement Activist (FMA): Is this your house?
AIP: In a way, yes, this is my house.
FMA: Man, you must have thousands of dildos in your house. Why so many?

Humor aside, the analogy just doesn't work. That's why they have to ask, "Why can’t people see how ridiculous this is?!", in a message i found at to which the author also added, "If you agree, pass it on (in English)". Maybe i should email this out to my friends in Spanish just to be a jerk.

Anyway, obviously the analogy is used to make the audience feel invaded. Of course i wouldn't want random strangers in my house (this isn't the attitude of a few people i know), is the reaction. But this country is not a house. And it's not similar to a house, which is why most people don't feel that people are living in their house. They can, in many ways, be oblivious to most of the undocumented immigrants in this country.

The U.S. is not a house. It is land with man-made boundaries. It is, in fact, land taken by force (more than once if we're talking about the southwest). Thinking of this country as "ours" or "mine" like we do our houses (besides those of us who rent with other housemates) certainly serves to reinforce the white supremacist order, or at least nativism. But what makes someone feel that this country belong to them is just arrogance and stupid laws. Even most indigenous people believe that the land doesn't belong to them/us, they/we belong to the land. Of course most anti-immigrant folks don't care that this land was taken by force and that it doesn't belong to anyone even if it was acquired fairly.

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