Friday, April 14, 2006

Gringo, Go Back to England!

Somehow, no hateful outburst in America is complete without telling somebody to go back to “their” country or continent. I have seen many such events happen and heard the same thing from people who have been victimized by such volunteer “travel advisors” more than once: there is always some bozo who tells someone to leave America and return to his or her homeland. I wish these clowns would provide visas and ticket money every time they attempt to send others on such a trip. How about a job waiting for them there? Can they set one up, too?

This “travel order” sooner or later affects quite a big variety of people in the US. Some years back, I have seen an African-American lady was involved in a traffic accident with a Hispanic female in LA. Both ladies faced off and started advising each other to begin traveling to all these exciting places, the Hispanic lady was told to go back to Mexico, and the Black lady was, as you would expect, told by the Hispanic lady to go back to Africa.

On another occasion, another African American fellow who was sitting in a Korean fast food place suddenly started telling the Korean cook there to “go back to China”. When the Korean cook protested that he was not Chinese, the “travel counselor” proceeded to tell him to go back to Japan. Ouch! Japan wreaked havoc on Korea for so long and now he must go “back “there?

Iranian Americans were told to go back to Arabia and Armenians were probably told to go back to Russia. Only that Russia does not like Armenians nowadays. But that is beside the point. It’s just another day in LA’s model multi-ethnic community.

White Americans are just as guilty of giving people orders to leave America for all these exotic destinations as anybody else. Many Asian people in the US, many of whom are US citizens, are routinely advised by some white bigots to go back to Taiwan, Vietnam, China, Japan and a few other Asian countries. Usually, they would get the country wrong and ask a Vietnamese-American to go back to Taiwan. Boat people have tried doing it, but Taiwan does not give political asylum to those as a rule.

As a red-blooded naturalized US citizen, I have been told to go back to my country a few times only that at the time, I simply couldn’t. The country was closed and I would not qualify to get a visa there. Now I could go, but I would be treated as a foreigner, have to apply for a tourist visa and pay for extensions. If I overstay, I will be fined and kicked out. They will send me “back to the US”. Too bad the person who told me to go there that did not know about it.

But seriously, when I read about the new slogan of ‘Gringo, go back to England!’ being proposed as the new war cry of illegal alien marchers in California, it was so funny I had to sit down and laugh long and hard. Somehow, it had a deeper philosophical meaning- it showed how fragile everyone was and how insecure. How everyone in America probably wanted to be friends with everyone else, but felt that they couldn’t. It was the last desperate plea, a childish, kindergarten attempt to fight back what they viewed as the last remaining oppressor- the Gringo. Send the Gringo back to England and everything will be fine.

My Slavic mother, who grew up in Uzbek orphanages, and who starved during WWII, and fainted from being hungry so many times when she was growing up that she almost died, was called a “gringa’ on our last journey to Mexico in 2001. To an average Mexican, I guess, she was of exactly the same race and nationality as the Yankee blue-bloods of the New England aristocracy and the cowgirls of Texas. How wonderful! And now my mom needs to go back to England, of all places, I guess. Wow! Now the last thing we need is an authorization from England to take us in. Last time I went there I only got six months at the airport. How about if these illegal demonstrators go to the UK consulate and start marching there asking Her Majesty to accept us? That is where they should be protesting. I would love to live in England.

The American prejudice has finally gone around full circle. It was probably the first time that Gringos were being told to go back to England. First it was the Gringos telling the Blacks to go back to Africa, then those Blacks who were bigoted against Asians and Hispanics would tell them to go back to Asia and Mexico respectively, and now you have all these people now marching in California telling the “original” US settlers to go back to England. Somehow the cycle has been completed. We are back where we had started. And now we even have a new weapon phrase against white racists, “Gringo, go back to England!” Funny as heck, if you ask me. Somehow, even in the trying times of the Civil Rights movement, African American activists did not stoop as low as telling the white racists to “go back to England”. I always wondered why. Maybe the idea seemed too wacky to them.

In most cases though, American citizens cannot go back to England, Africa, Germany, etc. There are some countries that recognize dual nationality, but in the case of the UK, asking them to take it hundreds of millions of “bloody Yanks” now will be more than preposterous. It will be a legal impossibility in most cases. The same thing with lots and lots of Blacks who were told to go back to Africa. Which country do you want to send them to? Gabon? Cameroon, Senegal? How about Nigeria? How many of these would accept these Americans?

There are people of dual nationality in the US, but by and large, most Gringos do not have it and most will not qualify for it and; therefore, will not be able to “go back to England”. And if they go as tourists and their visa lapses, the UK Immigration Panel will throw them out. Unless they have a job there, or something.

But I will look into it. Maybe there are some visa programs, and I too, could “go back” to England. After all, I am a Gringo now. At least, according to the people who were marching in LA on that auspicious day.

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