A couple of months back, we were visiting family for the holidays, and had occasion to take our son to an indoor playground to burn off some energy. The place in question–the one closest to the family–was in a suburb on the eastern edge of the city. While the kid was enjoying himself running around like a human tornado, something didn’t feel quite right to me. The place was clean and friendly and though it wasn’t crowded, there were plenty of other kids and their adults there. It wasn’t until we left that it hit me: There wasn’t a single person of color in the entire place.
Fast forward to my son’s fourth birthday party yesterday, this time at a local “fun center” place: mini amusement park, ticket-spewing games, etc. The place was packed, and if I had to guess, it was maybe 1/3 white, tops. (That’s probably accurate–the nearby elementary school we’re zoned for is 25% white.) There were people in several different styles of religious headgear: dastar, pakra, yarmulke, about four kinds of hijab. Also plenty of Latinxs and folks from various regions of Asia and the Pacific (we have a large Filipino community here, for instance.) We happen to live in one of the most diverse areas of the state, so there’s that, but even farther up the road in a Republican-held Congressional district, it’s still pretty PoC-heavy. My son is one of about five white kids in his pre-school class.
Part of the reason for this is our local tech industry has a bunch of H1B employees, but we also have immigrants from plenty of other places, including quite a few Somali refugees. Though the state as a whole is still pretty white compared to parts farther south, this particular region of it is quite diverse. We actually have the most diverse zip code in the country just up the road from where I live. Not necessarily the one with the fewest white residents, but the one with the largest variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Having lived around here for 20+ years, this is all perfectly normal to me. If my 10-year-old self were to be dropped into this environment, the kid might find it a bit of a shock, but these days, eh. I ended up here because my city of origin wasn’t exactly friendly to my being queer and non-compliant with gender-role standards. Having diversity of other sorts around is also a good thing, and one I’m going to fight for.
I say this not to pat myself on the back for being “tolerant” or anything. Not trying to impress people with how awesome I am for not getting the creeps by standing next to a woman in a Somali-style abaya in the grocery store. Just trying to point out that the country is ALREADY diverse. The Midwest, both upper and lower, is certainly pretty white, and the farther you get from a metro area, the less likely you are to see a lot of darker skin, but in terms of the country as a whole, this is who we are, and have been for a very long time. Obviously, unless one’s ancestry can be traced back to the land’s indigenous people, all of us are immigrants, but even the non-white ones being targeted right now certainly aren’t a tiny minority of the population.
As I mentioned in my previous post, the country is simply far too diverse–and supportive of it–to round up all of us who oppose ridiculous measures like immigration bans. If one were to assume that the election results applied to the country as a whole (and they certainly don’t), that’s still only 46% who support Trump. Take away the misguided queer and PoC folks who voted for him, since many probably now realize sucking up to bigots and being one of the “good” ones won’t protect them from being targeted, and the number shrinks even more–down to about 40%. Is it really possible to deport, jail, kill or otherwise get rid of 60% of the country? Hell, no. They might be able to do this on a state-by-state basis, but as we’re already seeing, diverse states like mine (thanks, Gov. Inslee!) are fighting back without hesitation. Try to “purify” Kansas and you might manage it. Try to do that with California, and you’re going to face a wall bigger than the boondoggle you’re trying to build at the border.
People of color, non-Christians, queer and trans folk, people with disabilities and others have just as much right to be here as the dipshits who claim to be biologically superior to the rest of us. We ARE the people of the United States, and we’re not going to go quietly–we’re not going to go at all.