Our VoiceCulture

Nativists, “Anti-HB 56 March Trivializes Civil Rights Protests of the Past”


Charlotte Williams • Mar 13, 2012

Photo: Longislandwins' Flickr page

True to its bigoted, anti-immigrant agenda, the John Tanton Network is once again attempting to foster disunity among African American, Black, and immigrant communities.

In his article from last week in The Daily Caller, “Anti-HB 56 march trivializes civil rights protests of the past,” African American Dr. Frank Morris writes that the Alabama law HB 56 and the resulting aftermath “does not affect people based on their race or ethnicity, but rather based on their actions.”  Mr. Morris’s flawed analysis of the draconian law is aligned with the principles of the Tanton Network, as he downplays the true nature and impact of structural racism in America. Instead, he prefers to mock efforts to fight the law, painting them as a stark denigration of Southern civil rights marches of the mid-1960s.

Dr. Morris is a major player in the Tanton Network and is currently serving as vice president of Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR). He also holds seats on the boards of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).  Morris also headed up the now defunct Choose Black America, a FAIR front group charged with recruiting African American and Black leadership and with attempting to hijack the national immigration debate.

It is critical that African American and Blacks intentionally speak to the false notions spewed by the anti-immigrant movement in order to ensure a civil, progressive, and inclusive national immigration debate.  Exposing the truth about the anti-immigrant movement–particularly the insidious cohort organizations of the Tanton Network–is a priority.

As our country reaches the midpoint of the presidential election, ensuring that the impacts of structural racism remain visible within political spheres and are properly pronounced during its debates should also be a priority. Evidenced in racially charged recent political banter in both traditional and new media streams, commentaries have ranged from down-right racist to just plain disrespectful. For example, the  “finger pointing” incident of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Montana Chief Justice Richard Cebull’s forwarding of a “harmless” email joke regarding President Obama’s lineage, and other foot-in-the-mouth commentaries have been making the rounds.

These assaults on immigrants, women, the poor, and other groups only serve to deflect sound, strategic discourse of critical election cycle issues.

It is important to ensure that all authentic voices are included in the national immigration dialogue. Dr. Frank Morris’s perspective does not represent the views of all African Americans and Blacks on the issue of immigration. The Which Way Forward Network (WWF) of the Center for New Community along with allied organizations like the Black Immigration Network (BIN) and Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) are committed to a civil, comprehensive dialogue among diverse groups of African Americans and Blacks regarding immigration.

As we come to the mid-point of election primaries, it is imperative that we remain diligent in identifying and supporting authentic community voices regarding key issues while also equipping others with tools for informed decision-making.

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