Thursday, September 20, 2007

Seeing Cowboy Hats

In a recent forum on immigration held to the north of us in Greeley, the county's District Attorney whipped a crowd of some 600 mostly white citizens into a fury by flashing a slide show with mug shots of ethnic Mexican men convicted of crimes. The Weld County Sheriff's Color Guard also did a presentation. Even the relatively conservative Denver Post felt compelled to condemn this nativist race-baiting and urge the white citizens to look for common ground with their neighbors.
Rather than point out how much different "they" are, as Assistant U.S. Attorney Cliff Stricklin coyly did when he said he was glad to see so many "cowboy hats, boots and American flags" in the largely white audience, it would be far more productive to highlight the things we have in common. We want safe neighborhoods. We want our children to be well-educated. We want friendly communities.
I guess the scene at left, from a Texas dancing site, is not what the Assistant U.S. Attorney had in mind when he complimented the audience on its attire and flags. The Denver Post wants long-term citizens of Greeley to "highlight the things" they "have in common" with their new ethnic Mexican neighbors. I say, why go further than the hats? And the boots? Those Mexicans, so unlike us. So alien in every possible way. Why I hear the eat barbecued beef! Whatever will we do in the face of such cultural incompatibility?


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