Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Income Drops, Racism Spikes – The Price of Recession?

~Secret Service Pioneer Sees The Beginnings Of A Bigotry Backlash~

In Alabama, fields of tomatoes are ripening – with almost no workers to pick them.

In that state’s classrooms, teachers face rows of empty desks. Many of their students suddenly disappeared, having fled with their families.

After the U.S. Supreme Court upheld much of Alabama’s tough new law governing undocumented immigrants on September 28, many workers – mostly Mexicans – quickly packed up and left in fear. Some of them, according to press reports, gave up their homes and jobs even though they were working here legally. They were afraid to stay.

Their experience is not so different from that of countless American citizens who, because of their ethnicity, have been legally pushed out of communities and workplaces, writes Donald W. Tucker, a retired Secret Service agent and author of The Two-Edged Sword (, who rose through the ranks to become chief of security for the nation’s federal courts.

“It’s an old problem and a continuing one in the United States,” he writes, “from the overt prejudice against Irish Americans in the 19th century to the Jim Crow laws that segregated black Americans in the 20th century. It’s an issue that should concern everyone. Limiting opportunities for any group of people weakens us by snuffing the potential contributions of bright minds and breeding a hopelessness that can lead to higher crime rates.”

“The country still has serious discrimination challenges, not only with the blacks, but with other groups of color,” Tucker writes. “We have a long way to go before we can say without guilt that we walk our talk as a ‘land of the free and home of the brave.’”
Tucker is a black American who grew up in the ghetto of Chicago’s South Side. His “one in a million” winning lottery ticket out was a football scholarship to the University of Iowa.

With a bachelor’s in criminology/sociology, he became one of the first black federal drug and law enforcement agents in 1961.

However, like those immigrant workers in Alabama, there were many who tried to push him back from whence he came.

“Whether posing as a drug buyer or dealer in counterfeit money, protecting a political dignitary or performing administrative duties, I always knew that for many I was ‘just a blackie,’ one step removed from the cotton fields,” he writes in his memoir, “The Two-Edged Sword.”

When he joined the U.S. Secret Service in 1965, he was one of only 19 blacks out of more than 300 agents nationwide. The black agents, he writes, never stood “shoulder to shoulder” with their white colleagues when it came to commendations and promotions.

He initially hid his anger and kept quiet for fear of losing his job. But he could not keep quiet forever.

“Around the office and in Secret Service circles I became known as Tucker, the Troublemaker,” he writes, “the agent who would stand up for any other black — or white agent, too, if need be — to fight for equal recognition and equal consideration.”
~Secret Service Pioneer Sees The Beginnings Of A Bigotry Backlash~

Decades of working for change in federal law enforcement posts throughout the country sensitized Tucker to bigotry and legal discrimination against any minority group. He worked as an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission counselor in all of the agencies he served, and became instrumental in developing diversity and sensitivity training for managers and employees.

As the economic slump continues to cost Americans their homes and jobs, the first to suffer in the panicked backlash will be minority populations, he notes. Evidence: The Arizona Act, which would have, among other mandates, made it a crime for immigrants to be without the documents proving their legal status; and, of course, Alabama’s new law. These actions increase the propensities for violence when people feel backed into a corner and feel the need to strike out.

“Hatred and bigotry are rampant,” he writes.

As Americans fret over the future of their financial investments, they must remember their imperative to protect a greater investment – the contributions of minorities to the strength of the nation.

I received this information from a public relations person. It is consonant with my beliefs, and I will pursue this further. Billie


RealityZone said...

Arizona, California, New Mexico is in the same boat.
No pickers.
The best peppers come from Hatch New Mexico.
Well maybe not for much longer.

fan of Gaia said...

Much of the population in the US is made up of recent immigrants or children of immigrants. When law makers are blinded by the ethnicity of a person or the color of their skin, they ignore the riches that can be brought to the cultural mix. said...

It does my heart good to know that you are here, fighting on for peace, for justice... it lifts me up knowing that.

Blessings in great abundance and tenderness,


RealityZone said...