Monday, June 29, 2009

On Brisenia Flores

When I was working on my dissertation, I had to read quite a bit of “immigration” literature for my last chapter. One of the books I remember most was John Higham’s Strangers in the Land, because so many others referenced his assertion that throughout U.S. history, nativism and xenophobia have ebbed and flowed.

I remember that, because as I’ve said before, I think we are caught in a peak period and it seems we have been for well over a decade now.

But having the historical perspective to see it as part of a pattern, to know that it might recede some day, does not make it any less painful to live through, especially as we bear witness to the beating deaths of Luis Ramirez and Jose Sucuzhañay, the disrespect shown to the memory and family of Ana Fernandez,

And the murder of nine-year-old Brisenia Flores.

I heard about Brisenia Flores a few weeks ago, from the Sanctuary, VivirLatino, and via Twitter. She and her father were murdered, and her mother was shot, in their home, in the middle of the night, by people "associated" with the Minuteman Project.

I have been unable to get the words together to write about this child, because of all the thoughts racing through my mind:

Racists still come to our homes and murder us in the middle of the night.
Still.

This reinforces for people of color how tenuous the safety of our children is.
Still.

We live in a white supremacist patriarchy that claims to value a certain family structure while violently disrupting that structure in families of color.
Still.

How long are people going to deny the violence that permeates so much right-wing extremism? What do we expect from people fed on a constant diet of "us vs. them" and "retain-our-privilege-at-all-cost?" Why aren’t more of us repulsed that it’s cloaked in the language of love for “God and country?”


Beyond all the symbolic things, a nine-year-old child and her father were killed because of hatred. Even then, we can’t talk about that without feeling the need to air the murderers’ opinion that Raul Flores, Jr., Brisenia’s father, sold drugs.*

As if the Minutemen need justification to act violently against a Latin@ family and community. As Maegan notes:
The goal [of Shawna Forde and Gunny Bush] wasn’t to observe, document and report as Jim Gilchrist, the leader of the Minuteman Project, has said in trying to distance himself from his associates charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree burglary and one count of aggravated assault. The goal was to use violence against a family viewed as expendable to help further their cause of using violence against those viewed as expendable.

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*I have not read anything that backs the truth of that claim, and yet the NYT juxtaposes it with the local Sheriff’s observation that “there is ample drug activity between here and the border.” Now, he doesn’t say that Raul Flores, Jr., is connected to it, but that quote is somehow relevant when talking about the murder of a Latino man who lived near the border.

2 comments:

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