This is what institutional racism looks like

When you don’t have to worry about besmirching your educational institution’s name, because you’re so sure that the folks at Jefferson State Community College, Princeton University and Lee County High will agree with you.   Yeah, Harriet M. Rejonis, Jeff Wieler, and Robert Tison, that means you. Continue reading

That’ll show them


Miguel Angel Pasalodos

Subtitled:  Why I hate adoptive parents, part 983

Children who are adopted internationally should have certificates of citizenship and valid passports.  When adoptive parents don’t bother or actively refuse to get this documentation for them, they are being negligent.  And stupid.  And agencies should be held accountable as well.   But apparently some agencies still also believe that the certificate of citizenship isn’t really necessary, because they tell their clients that.

Folks who believe the certificate of citizenship and valid passport aren’t really necessary obviously
haven’t been reading the news.  This is a function of privilege, because brown folks sure have to pay attention.  (More here.)

The number of children who arrive on an IR4 or IH4 visa has been steadily increasing since I first started tracking the numbers.  I attribute this to change in sending countries.  Kids who arrive on IR4 or IH4 visas do not automatically receive citizenship after their arrival in the United States, unlike IR3 and IH3 visa holders.  Additionally, children who come to the U.S. under “humanitarian parole” (e.g. Haiti) must go through the naturalization process.

In any event, all kids born outside the United States who intend to be United States citizens should have multiple proofs of citizenship.  That means the certificate of citizenship (or naturalization) and a valid passport.  (We’ve written extensively on this subject; use the “search” function to find additional posts.)

But a number of adoptive parents apparently fail to recognize this as a necessity.

In reading the cases of adult adoptees who have been detained by immigration, it appears many had unstable home lives.  Parents struggled with their lives. They divorced or died or were abusive or just plain negligent.  Some believed their children held citizenship.  Others never bothered to finish the paperwork.  Some never even knew it was an issue.

There are a lot of adoptive parents who don’t understand the Child Citizenship Act fully. Pretty much every time we post about citizenship issues, somebody shows up to whitesplain about how we are wrong. They don’t give any details or sources. They just know. Better than we do. Because that is one of the costs of racism.

But there’s another subset of parents who aren’t securing the certificate of citizenship for their children:

We still don’t have the COC and I refuse to pay the money for it when I have all of the documents that prove his is a citizen.  … I plan on him having a current passport at all times and unless a situation comes up that I can’t argue my way out of with the current passport, I will not get the COC.  I don’t think we should have to pay the ridiculous fee just because our kids came home on a different visa.  We’ve jumped through a million hoops already.

The fee is currently $550, which is less than two percent of the cost of an average international adoption. That’s a lot of money but the poster doesn’t say she doesn’t have it. She says she “refuse[s]” to pay it.

I’d be willing to wager that the cost of the certificate of citizenship is less than the average family spends on souvenirs, although they don’t withhold buying knickknacks because it doesn’t represent Sticking It to the Man. Such a brave stand! Although the government doesn’t care at all. And it won’t care if your kid doesn’t have proof when he or she needs it. The only person you’re sticking it to is your kid.

Sure, you can wait until you “can’t argue [your] way out” of a problem requiring proof of citizenship. But maybe you’ll be dead. Maybe you’ll have lost the paperwork. Immigration won’t have any record of your child becoming a citizen if he or she arrived on an IR4 or IH4 visa and you never submitted proof of full and final adoption and filed for the certificate. Even if you are still alive and have all the paperwork, CIS will still have to make the determination. Which takes time:

Shawn Saucier, a spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said any request for a certificate of citizenship can take months to process, or significantly longer depending on the amount of documentation a person is able to provide.

In addition, he said, immigration law has changed so frequently over the years that older cases can be very complicated. “The burden is on the individual. We can’t just assume that because someone believes they’re a citizen, they are,” Saucier said.

I’ve written previously about U.S. citizens who have been deported erroneously or erroneously detained. Current longest wrongful detention of a U.S. citizen: ten years. The erroneous deportees/detainees were citizens. They just couldn’t prove it to the CIS’ satisfaction.

But go ahead. Punish the government by refusing to fork over the money. Except nobody will know and nobody will care. Ignore the fact that other immigrants pay for proof of citizenship, because you’re obviously special. Don’t worry that the government doesn’t have any record that your child became a citizen. And you probably won’t get old and die and your kid won’t ever become an adult, either.  So when they are in  jail or maybe the Honduras, don’t worry. It will all be fine.

It will be fine.

Because you showed ’em.

Dear whomever

Yes you.

Subtitled:  Mostly just a rant, and if you are going to complain and not commiserate, why not just save yourself the time and go look at cute animals on the internet? 

Dear whomever,

So you’ve noticed that the temple often has food at its gatherings.  Yummy, delicious comestibles which you feel are best piled high on a plate.  Even better, everything is free!  And did I mention free?  Better go back for seconds.  Or thirds.  Plus there are lots of us exotic types to look at.  We’re the ones serving.

I probably fool you with my warm and genuine smile and my mouthful of shiny white teeth.  What you may not know is that I don’t really feel like welcoming everybody.  I’m still hung up on that idea of sanctuary.  So if I ever encourage you to stay, please remember that unless I do it three or four times after you demur I probably don’t really mean it.  (Actually, only black folks have ever demurred.  Most white folks get in line without any encouragement at all.*)

But you stayed.  Okay, I can live with that.  It’s not like you’re going to stick around.  But here’s something I feel is of vital importance for you to know:

Continue reading

If I were a rich white guy …

I would think twice before spewing uninformed crap that reveals what privilege smells like.

There’s no shortage of white folks who think they could do poverty better than us poor underprivileged minorities.   Because we don’t yank on our bootstraps hard enough.  Take Gene Marks (pictured above) as an example.  Marks writes for Forbes Magazine.  And he is full of advice on what he would do if he “was [sic] a poor black kid.”

What would I do if I were a rich white guy?  Well, I started to write out a bunch of witty rejoinders.  But then I just couldn’t.  Because this is a serious issue that deserves a serious response.  So here goes.

Continue reading

Dear Lowe’s

Subtitled:  Go Ted Lieu!

I am an American.  I am not a Christian.   I am a Lowe’s customer.

I believe in freedom of religion.  I believe in the right to choose not to practice a religion.

And I believe companies should check out the background of groups with names like “Florida Family Association” before making decisions that support religious bigotry.  Or homophobia, for that matter.

I suspect that Ted Lieu, like me, is not an American Muslim.  But like me, he is an American who is deeply troubled by the xenophobic, racist nature of our society.  Undoubtedly, like me, he knows first-hand what it is like to be subjected to racism and xenophobia on a regular basis.

I always assumed that rational people understood my beliefs were not necessarily amoral just because they were not founded in Christianity.  But maybe I was wrong.

Maybe now is the time to let you know.  So Lowe’s, I will write to you to ask you not to give in to religious bigotry and hate mongering.  Lowe’s, I will write to you know that this is my country.  And hate is not a family value.

That time again

Remember the smell of fresh crayons?  The sharpener in the back of the box if you were lucky enough to get the 64-pack?  Coloring carefully to maintain the point?

It’s back to school time again.  I read somewhere that the average cost of school supplies for elementary school children is now around a hundred bucks.  The amount of required stuff is staggering.  I was at the office supply store the other day, and it was loaded with parents perusing multiple-page lists.

In our area, somebody typically runs a drive for used supplies that are sent to the other side of town.  But I’ve seen the donation box, and it’s a sorry collection of unwanted, used-up crap.  I tried to tactfully suggest that maybe new supplies could be collected instead, but I guess tact isn’t my strong point.

So every year around this time I try to pick up a few sale items and put them aside to drop off at the shelter or food pantry.  I have reams and reams of notebook paper purchased for a penny each.  This week Jewel-Osco has 70-page spiral notebooks on sale for a quarter.  CVS has 10-packs of papermate pens for 50 cents.  Office Depot has folders for 1 cent and composition notebooks, kids scissors and 24-packs of crayons for 25 cents. Target has sets of colored markers for 99 cents.  Plus a tech friend threw in a bunch of thumb drives.

If you see any good sales, post them here.  Remember the smell of your own new crayons.

Week of 08/22 sales:  Office Max 70-page spiral notebooks for one cent; Crayola 24-pack crayons for 15 cents; 12 pack of #2 pencils 5 cents; composition notebooks 50 cents

Don’t get left behind!

Just six more days to contribute to Grace Lee’s documentary about Grace Lee Boggs, American Revolutionary.  Lee has a benefactor who will contribute $5,000 if she makes it to the $12,500 mark.

Okay folks, now is the time to put up.  We talk about representation in our community all the time.  We talk about activism.  But there is work to be done.  And it takes money.  Give if you’ve got it.  Because we need people to know the story of Grace Lee Boggs.