23 July, 2007

Statistics / Politicalish Rant

Mark Twain once wrote something about statistics being worse than lies. I guess that makes sense, given that statistics are like Play-doh, easily manipulatable, colorful, and not very tasty. Statistics have their uses, especially in science, for how else am I to determine whether or not the differences observed in optical density for different stuffs is significantly different or not, were it not for the Student's t-Test?

But statistics also have a dark side. A very, very dark side. Especially in the hands of those gifted with more loud words than brains to use them. Lately here in America, a bunch of Republican morons have been yammering on about how the solution to the so-called "immigration crisis" is to overturn Roe v. Wade, because those darned immigrants are taking the jobs that all those aborted fetuses would otherwise have taken.

1) The "Immigration Crisis"

Point blank, this is a bunch of bullshit. Furthermore, it's a bunch of racist, xenophobic bullshit. Those who spew this bullshit are inevitably assholes (pun intended), usually conservative. All of them claim that they are not racist, yet they continue to rail against how the "tide of immigration" is "ruining this great country".

Do these people forget every morning when they look in the mirror that they're pasty? More importantly, do they forget that pasty people come from Europe? Their ancestors were an "immigration crisis" for the Native Americans. Also, their ancestors participated in the wholesale slaughter (read: genocide) and disenfranchisement of Native Americans, all while oppressing an "inferior" race of people (who only counted as 3/5 of a person anyway).

Umm...last time I checked, Latin immigrants aren't rounding up pasty people and shooting them for being white and in their way. White people even catechized their weak moral justification for the genocide they perpetuated for their own narrow economic interests by calling what they were doing "Manifest Destiny" and "Westward Expansion". Well, Latin Americans aren't coming up here spouting out crap about "Northward Expansion" and how claiming "our" land as theirs is their destiny. So, either anti-immigration white people are suffering from a severe case of whitewashed historical amnesia or are participating in wholesale hypocrisy...

Frankly, I believe that the root of the anti-immigration rhetoric is a very basic fear of white people being numerically forced to assume minority status in this country. I posit that the gross majority of white Americans are fully aware of the extent to which minorities are marginalized, disenfranchised, and stigmatized in this country. As such, white Americans fear being forced into the very conditions that they helped create and perpetuate.

Disclosure: I am one of the pasty people.

2) Jobs

I find it safe to posit that the predominant stereotype of a white American in the workforce is of a white-collar worker in the information industries who sits in a cubicle and commutes to work from a suburban home every day. Now, I have gathered that the typical stereotype for a Latin American in this country is to be either bound by linguistic narrow-mindedness into low-wage manual labor, or as being lazy and welfare-dependent. How does one reconcile these two stereotypes with the oft-repeated claim that "Mexicans are coming here to take our jobs"?

Let's be honest here, this is scape-goating, and that's all it is. The economy, for average people, blows horse chunks, so average people find solace in blaming their economic problems on a subset of the population without a strong voice of their own: immigrant laborers. By all normal measurements, the economy is booming (didn't the Dow Jones just set some kind of new record the other day or something?), but the predominantly white middle class of America is finding itself increasingly squeezed by shifty financial circumstances. I guess it is far easier to blame the "lowly" immigrant than the government that allows the companies in this country to relocate labor as they please, hide their finances, and benefit from tax break upon tax break. After all, the immigrants are automatically assigned outsider status, whereas we don't entirely want to face the possibility that our own kindred elected are cheating us hand over fist.

3) Roe v. Wade

I feel like there's a certain odd moral arrogance to this part of the argument. But who's making this argument?

a. Promulgator of Anti-Immigration Rhetoric
- white
- upper-middle class
- well-educated (often by their parent's money), but this point may have been lost upon them
- suburban
- white collar
- conservative
- religious

Such a type of person often argues that the type of person to have an abortion is 1) immoral, 2) poor, and 3) likely to remain poor. Therefore, it seems that there is a tacit assumption in this argument that we wouldn't have immigration if we didn't have legal abortion and that those fetuses who were aborted would have been born into low-class families and subsequently forced into low-wage, manual labor, which it seems are the jobs that are currently primarily filled by seasonal immigrants. But who is to say that all of those aborted fetuses, born to families that didn't necessarily want them, wouldn't turn out to be criminals that would, in turn, prey upon the suburbs? Or, even worse, aspire towards higher education and the liberal ideals that it often fosters?

As a closing aside, doesn't it make a lot more sense to try to reduce the need for abortion, by increasing the availability of contraception and comprehensive sex education, than to ban it outright?

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