Racism is as American as hotdogs, baseball, and apple pie. Sure, people claim we live in a colorblind society, but the truth is America is deeply racist, and if you can’t see that, you’re not colorblind; you’re just plain old blind.
Here in SLO Town, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship just had to replace its “Black Lives Matter” banner on the side of its church for the third time because some knuckle-dragging A-hole ripped down the first two. Apparently the epigram is some sort of personal affront.
Yes, I get it. “All lives matter!” Yes, they do, but “all lives” aren’t the ones suffering from racism—black lives are. Saying “all lives matter” in response is a way to dismiss or minimize the racism experienced by African-Americans and other minorities. Destroying or stealing private property as a way of squelching free speech is criminal, childish, and pathetic.
You know who else’s lives matter? Ag workers and the farmers trying to follow the law and house their employees. In Nipomo, Donna and Greg France, who own Mar Vista Berry, were in the process of constructing seven three-bedroom homes on Mads Place. And local “community activists” got their wish on April 13, when those plans were cancelled.
In an effort to get their crops picked, the Frances availed themselves of the federal H-2A temporary farmworkers program, in which foreign workers are given visas to work in the United States. The program requires that employers provide free housing and transportation to and from the workplace, hence the construction in a development called Mads Farm.
The Frances planned to house the legal limit of 16 workers to a house and were bringing in bunk beds around the time one of the houses—just a frame, really—mysteriously burned to the ground on April 6. Arson is so suspected it’s expected.
The Frances said continued threats made them concerned about ensuring the safety of their workers. Way to go NIMBY neighbors! I bet you feel like big strong Americans now. Go home migrant farmworkers—Nipomo doesn’t want you. Go pick strawberries in Watsonville. We’ll pick the ones here—said no anti-immigrant activist, ever.
District 4 Supervisor Lynn Compton said she understands neighbors’ concerns about the project: “As a mom, I wouldn’t want 107 men on the other side of the fence, even if they were my relatives.”
Men! They’re the worst, am I right?
“I shouldn’t have to pay an attorney to keep my neighborhood from going down the toilet,” Bryan Galvan, an eight-year neighborhood resident, told the Santa Maria Times.
Apparently, these neighbors think there’s something inherently wrong with migrant workers. I mean, it’s not like they’re hardworking men willing to do backbreaking labor for up to 12 hours a day so they can support their families in Mexico, right?
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Hmm? Who said that? I can’t recall, but it doesn’t matter. What does matter is it’s a common sentiment.
“They should have went and did this somewhere else,” said Rick, a neighbor who wouldn’t give New Times his last name and seems to think houses grow on rural farmland like rows of strawberries. “This is residential. I don’t mind the people, don’t get me wrong, but go do this somewhere else. They’re all men, and I’ve got a little kid here, a little girl. They’re all coming from that side of the border. Hell no, I don’t like it. But I wouldn’t do that [arson].”
Well, I guess investigators can cross “Rick” off their list of possible suspects! Maybe they should look into Mr. Josey Wales, Ph.D, who wrote to the Santa Maria Times website before the fire: “Wouldn’t it be a shame if those newly constructed 17 people in a single family house accidentally caught fire and burned down? Just saying.”
Hey, did you ever see the 1976 Clint Eastwood revisionist Western in which mild-mannered farmer Josey Wales joins the Confederate Army after a bunch of horrible Union soldiers murder his family? Yeah, good times. What’s your Ph.D in, Assholology? Advanced Racism?
“It will be important for the agricultural community and the community-at-large to work together to find solutions that will provide quality housing for these hard-working individuals who legally and temporarily come to this country to improve their own lives and the lives of their families in Mexico,” the Frances said in a release sent out April 13.
I guess the Frances don’t see it like the mad neighbors of Mads Farm, who clearly think these legal migrant workers should keep their raping ways on the other side of the border—far from this “charming” Nipomo neighborhood.
“You’ve got people here with kids and shit,” Last-Nameless Rick said.
Those “people here with kids and shit” can now shittily teach their kids that racism and violent threats do win in America!
Or does it?
Here’s some apple pie for you: The Frances are offering a $10,000 reward for info on the arsonist. The Nipomo welcoming committee’s days are numbered.
The Shredder is all about a reward for taking down the bad guys, especially if they’re NIMBYs. Send ideas and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.