The Treatment of the Haitian Immigrants is Wrong and Un-American

America is made for and by immigrants. With the exception of being Native American, most of us can say that at least one person in our family came from another part of the world. The problem is that there are many people who forget this, or even worse think that they can amend our immigration policies to fit their racist ideals.

The truth is that no one wants to leave their homes if it is not necessary. If we live in a nation with a stable economy and political system, feel safe, and have access to education, jobs, and other opportunities, there is no need to go. But there are many places around the world in which life is harder than it needs to be, forcing many to flee in hopes of finding what they did not have in the land of their birth.

Last week, as Haitian migrants gathered at the US/Mexico border, they were attacked by law enforcement on horseback. Some were whipped as they tried to get away, creating reminders of the treatment of runaway slaves who were caught before they could reach freedom.

I can’t blame these people for wanting to leave Haiti. Between multiple natural disasters and the presidential assassination of Jovenel Moïse that has resulted in chaos and lawlessness, what reason is there to stay? We have every right to protect our borders and make sure that those who we allow to enter are not going to make trouble. But at the same time, we should be treating them as human beings. We are not obligated to let everyone into the country. But we are obligated to give them a chance.

This is not the America I know. The America I know welcomed my relations more than a century ago, providing safety and the chance to thrive that did not exist in Europe. If we do not at least attempt to live up to our promises and our values by letting at least some of the Haitians at the border into the country, we will be nothing more than a fraud and a lie. That is nothing short of heartbreaking and disgusting.

Throwback Thursday: Hey Dude (1989-1991)

The fish out of water story is one of the oldest stories in the human literary canon. When we are in a place in which we are a stranger in a strange land, we have to either go along with the change or remain rooted in the past.

In the Nickelodeon television series, Hey Dude (1989-1991), Ben Ernst (David Brisbin) is a divorced father who has left his East coast, high-stress job behind with his young son Buddy (Josh Tygiel). Purchasing the fictional Bar None Dude Ranch out west, he has good intentions. But like any fish out of water, his vision does always gel with reality. He has four teenagers working for him. Melody (Christine Taylor) is the girl next door who works as a lifeguard and dance instructor. Bradley “Brad” Taylor (Kelly Brown) is a riding instructor who comes from a wealthy family in the Midwest. Danny Lightfoot (Joe Torres), hails from the Hopi Indian tribe and just wants to get along with everyone. Ted McGriff (David Lascher) is always looking for the next scheme. In between Ben and the kids is Lucy (Debra Kalman), who is the ranch hand forewoman and supervisor.

I remember watching this show as a kid. What was appealing was that it was set in a world that was and still is completely different from my own. And like any young person, you look up to those who are older than you.

These days, we talk about diversity and representation on screen. Having a Native American character who is not relegated to a stereotype or a background character was back then and unfortunately, still is revolutionary.

Do I recommend it? I would say so.

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