News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: The New Native

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The New Native

The native--remember the ones we decided to exterminate in love of gold, land, freedom? Remember... the ersatz native drums, head dresses, moccasins that line the walls of the trucker diners on highway 40? Oh well, who cares...

The new native, according to Richard Rodriguez is the illegal alien, aka wetback, aka illegal, aka illegal immigrant:

Of course, there are those in America who now say, “We are a complete nation. We don't need any more immigrants.” But by and large, the idea that immigrants contribute to the formation of a work in progress still dominates the American imagination.

Truly, in America today, the past and the future are meeting each other. It is at this border of time that the United States now plans to put tanks and soldiers, and there is talk of a wall.

What this obsession reveals, perhaps, is the nativist anxiety of a relatively young country that has been black and white since its founding. A future marriage to Latin Americans, literally and figuratively, means the introduction of the mestizo or mixed culture — what Jose Vasconcelos, the education minister at the time of the Mexican Revolution, called “la raza cosmica.”

In some profound way, this transformation is subversive, freeing America from its black/white dialectic. Ultimately, what we mestizos bring to the United States is a sense of impurity. After all, we are a people who violate borders. That is our gift.

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