… or you’ll be laying next to him.
That’s what Luis Ramirez’ murderers told his friends after killing him. And that’s why this post-racial talk is simply pure nonsense. I get it: we have a Black president, and we have the first____ and the first ____ in ____ and _____. While I get tired of the “first” attribute when it comes to racial achievement, it has its place. We’re only a few decades from the Civil Rights Movement and a century and a half from the abolition of slavery, an institution that this country’s had for five centuries give or take (and still exists in different countries). We’re only a few decades from Latinos officially being recognized as people in this country that existed, and only a few decades from Japanese internment camps springing up in the West.
So I have no such fancies about extreme racial progress in this country. We got a long way to go.
But when incidents like this happen, it’s just a reminder of how long we have to go. Even at my job, the xenophobia is rather atrocious. “Those damn Filipinos taking our jobs, they’re not better than me!” or “You look like a Mexican, orale guay!” Some of these Dominicans have nerve! Let anyone call these people (children and adults) Platanos or Dumb-in-a-Cans or “only good for beisbol and curvy, submissive women” and those necks will snap. Meanwhile, it’s OK to refer to others who’ve immigrated from a foreign land as hicks, immigrants, and “hard workers meant to do this.” Actually, sons and daughters of immigrants who are anti-immigration irk me. The whole crabs-in-a-barrel mentality irks me.
Then again, so do humans. Check this:
… this was a pretty clear-cut case of jury nullification: the weight of evidence against the accused was so powerful that it’s clear the all-white jury — like similar juries in the South during the Civil Rights struggle — was not going to convict two young white men of murdering a Mexican. Even if, as Friedman says, “the only reason he is dead is because he was Mexican.”
Prosecutors alleged that the teens baited the Ramirez into a fight with racial epithets, provoking an exchange of punches and kicks that ended with Ramirez convulsing in the street, foaming from the mouth. He died two days later in a hospital.
Piekarsky was accused of delivering a fatal kick to Ramirez’s head after he was knocked to the ground.
As they poured out of courthouse, the teens’ supporters shouted “I was right from the start” and “I’m glad the jury listened” at cameras that caught the late-night verdict.
But Gladys Limon, a spokeswoman for the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said the jury had sent a troubling message.
“The jurors here [are] sending the message that you can brutally beat a person, without regard to their life, and get away with it, continue with your life uninterrupted,” she said.
- Crooks and Liars, May 3rd, 2009
None of this is fair, and only one of the people who had a role in the death apologized. One can put a (gross) generalization that only 1 out of every 7 hate crime participants feels any remorse, even if it’s just to get out of a grossly inhumane situation. And to think, Luis only had 25 years to live, many of those he suffered just getting into this country and walking on a tightrope known as the illegal immigration worker program.
For his family (3 kids, at that). For himself. For a chance at a better life.
But they need to get the fuck out of Shanendoah. There’s no room for their American dream in that town.