Black Information Highway Blog
Posted June 24, 2013
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Yahoo! Immigration Reform, Techno-Capitalism and Hispanics
By Arelya J. Mitchell, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway
A few days before the 2012 presidential election, we received an article on immigration reform via Brookings Institute written by Yahoo! Finance columnists Susan Cohen and Michael W. Klein. I shall return momentarily to Ms. Cohen and Mr. Klein, but I do want to say from the onset that immigration reform is about techno capitalism. Pure and simple. E = mc2.
Early last month I participated in a press call briefing on “New Polling on African American Attitudes on Immigration Reform.”
This May press briefing came a few weeks before the immigration reform bill known as the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” or S. 744 was put to test on the Senate floor. The study, conducted by Lake Research Partners in mid-March 2013, was based on a national sample of 800 African American “likely voters.”
During this briefing and before the briefing, I asked myself: “At the end of the day, does anyone really care what Black Americans think about the immigration reform bill?” The answer is no, though I doubt very seriously if those who held the briefing would agree with me.
It was predicted as far back as the Workforce 2000 study (under President George H.W. Bush’s administration) that America’s workforce will transmute into one of color and Hispanic. Fast forward to 2013: Some 11 million illegal immigrants will become citizens instantly transforming that workforce into mainly Hispanic.
As usual, African Americans thrive on the hope that the right thing will be done by them. But the question is when does ‘hope’ cross the point of becoming a four-letter word? Sort of echoing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “If not now, when?”
Wade Henderson in spite of trying to be politically correct (or perhaps politically polite) had it right at the end of the briefing when he spoke of an observation he’d made whereby the Diversity Visa portion of the old immigration bill was being eliminated in S. 744. He pointed out that this portion of the bill had been used to make sure that Africans and other people of African descent could enter the United States in the same non-discriminatory way as non-Blacks.
I read the 844-page S.744 bill which uses the term “Affirmative Defense” seemingly in lieu of “Affirmative Action” which gives even more credence to Henderson’s observation. After all “Affirmative Action” has a Black connotation—and we mustn’t have that, must we?
Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, gave this reason for being suspicious: “[It] is our view that the Diversity Visas are important elements in immigration reform…the history of our nation’s immigration policy is replete with racial bias and discrimination in determining who should be admitted into the United States…the Diversity Visas were created as one of the few ways to foster pluralism…many in the African American community are deeply troubled by the elimination…”
In addition to Henderson on the briefing panel were Celinda Lake, principal in Lake Research Partners; and Dr. Algernon Austin, director of the Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy program of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
By all means, the study should have been done to put on record that most Blacks are in support of immigration reform. But America’s Black citizens as a whole have never begrudged foreigners becoming citizens. Though not feasible, it would have been nice to have had this poll done with immigrants who seem to come in with the mentality that they are Arkansas and Blacks are Mississippi. We know that joke about Mississippi being ranked 50th in poverty and Arkansas being ranked 49th and Arkansas says, “Thank God for Mississippi!”
To reiterate, the study used a national sample of 800 African American “likely voters” and maybe somewhere it presupposed that these voters were middle-class and more educated and therefore inclined to nod for immigration reform. However, the briefing mainly focused on the perception that it would be the less educated Blacks who would feel their livelihoods threatened by an overwhelming Hispanic workforce.
To reassure less educated Blacks that all is well on the border front, it was the opinion of panelists that if the immigration reform bill were to pass, illegal immigrants would be documented; therefore, employers would have to pay immigrants at least minimum wage if not more; therefore, those employers would no longer have the power to control one minority over another minority. Or in my words: Pit minority against minority. However, all this reassurance that employers will pay immigrants minimum wage will somehow increase the employment of less educated Blacks is—is what? Hopeful? And does such reasoning trump that historical scenario that if a Black and white showed up for the same job who would get hired first? And if you in the 21st Century substitute ‘Hispanic’ for white, who would get hired first? And to add more to African Americans’ detriment, who would get fired first?
The more things change….
Dare I say at risk of being politically incorrect that it will be the less educated Black who might be sitting back with an “I told you so” grin? The less educated Black might be paranoid but that does not mean that they’re not slated for the backdoor of unemployment and that merry-go-round of if you’re black get back; if you’re brown stick around (except brown in this context means what is now called a white Hispanic, the new adjective du jour to differentiate yet again between ‘black’ and ‘white’. (One can presently see this color distinction in the Trayvon Martin case in which George Zimmerman is now described as a ‘white-Hispanic’… but I digress).
Unlike the educated and highly educated Black, the less educated Black has more of a reality check about not being included in the immigration reform dialogue and that this dialogue is a façade for a hidden but primary agenda which is to build up the ranks of Silicon Valley—but I’ll get back to that.
I highly suspect that Wade Henderson’s reason for pushing this study is that he wants African Americans to benefit from any economic goodies that spring forth from passage of reform.
But Henderson is between the usual economic rock and hard place in which Black leaders of his ilk find themselves and that is to be in a state of perpetual hope that the groups (Siliconites and Hispanics) pushing for the reform will do the right thing by African Americans. But hope is heading for the four-letter word category. I say Black leaders of Henderson’s ilk, because this ilk of Black leadership is economic-centric. They regardless of party affiliation have been pushed so far down underneath a traditional socio civil rights leadership that they’re screaming for mercy or to at least be put out of their misery.
They have been essentially muted not only by a traditional socio-centric civil rights leadership but by post-Reconstruction Blacks themselves who have yet to complete an as ethnic group the final plank of the Civil Rights agenda which is to acquire a non-consumptive economic base. Blacks have rendered the only economic tool they have, the Vote, as useless, because everyone knows that the Black vote is a 24-hour deal good for Election Day only; whereas the Hispanic vote in the tradition of the Jewish or Irish or Italian vote is good for four years and if the party or candidate they back does not deliver, their asses will see repercussions in the next election. Only Blacks forgive and forget and go back relentlessly to be kicked in the ass. If this were not true, there would not be the same fight election year after election year, decade after decade over any type of voting rights legislation. Until Blacks learn the art of repercussion will they be taken as seriously as other empowered ethnic groups and Siliconites. Voting and/or supporting other groups is about acquiring an intangible power which will translate into tangible assets such as owning their own means of production as other ethnic groups have done, including the immigrants who have come over to establish prosperous businesses from shoe factories to technology companies. This has given them economic clout to hire their own as well as others; this has given them a political voice; this has given their vote substance.
To the credit of Wade Henderson, Black economists and other Blacks who are economic-centric, they at least realize that the economic plank is the last and hardest phase of the Civil Rights Movement. Because, in all fairness, Blacks were not allowed to have the freedom of capitalism; thus, it is incumbent upon Blacks to demand reparations not for slavery as has been advocated but for Segregation which was forced on the Black populace in violation of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. In theory, there never should have been a need for the 1964 Civil Rights bill had the federal government done the ‘right thing’ by its Black citizens. This is a government which had no qualms in paying off Japanese-Americans for their internment during World War II (A matter I shall expound upon with other references in another paper.), but still seems to have an irrational fear when it comes to African Americans in ‘pursuit of their happiness’.
In this briefing, Henderson tried to be optimistic, stating that as soon as the immigration reform bill is passed then the Obama administration can fully focus on job creation and more job creation answering the chant of “jobs, jobs, jobs” in a community which has the highest unemployment rate in America.
Of course, we all know that’s bullshit— speaking of this thing called job creation in the African American community— which is yet another new Trickle Down version of immigration reform benefiting Black capitalism. It is right up there with an inherent practice of always providing ‘training for jobs’ programs for Blacks for jobs that never if seldom materialize once the natives are no longer restless ( that is to march and/or to riot).
I rephrase: “Does anyone of import truthfully care what Blacks think about immigration reform?” Hell no!
And herein lies the economic minefield Blacks find themselves and those leaders like Henderson who are fighting the best they can to provide political support for other groups to get what THEY want on the theory (hope) that these other groups will not forget African Americans who aided and abetted them in getting their American Dream.
The Hispanics like other immigrant groups have learned early on to take care of business—in the literal and figurative sense. The Hispanic community has begun to build an economic infrastructure comprised both of ownership and consumerism. Look at Florida. The Hispanic like the potato-eating Irish, the spaghetti – eating Italian and the sausage eating Polish will become an integral part of America’s capitalism. As stated, Blacks were systematically denied that freedom to capitalize off capitalism (read Tulsa, Oklahoma a.k.a. the Black Wall Street or Rosewood, Florida or Black Tuskegee Airmen who returned home but could not become airline pilots, etc.).
The Hispanics, unlike the Blacks, are putting their feet down on the necks of the Siliconites in that if they do not get what they want then those in Valley will not get what they want either. Quid Pro Quo.
Does this mean that this immigration reform scenario should be a Black vs. Hispanic workforce war? Of course not. Then what should be done?
Simple. E = mc2. As an ethnic group that was known as Negroes who redefined itself as “Colored” and then as “Black”, “Afro-American” and “African American”, it should now redefine itself as “Involuntary Immigrants” to get a piece of the action for some of that Affirmative Defense and learn the art of repercussion (and for the record I am not talking about violence). Blacks should not ask permission to sit at the economic table, but just sit with a penny in pocket. In addition, Blacks should not tolerate a lily white Silicon Valley getting what it wants without the Valley employing and providing “Affirmative Defense” opportunities for Black entrepreneurs and technologists. It is simple: Blacks need to get off ‘de-fense’.
I am going to pause here to go out under the Fiscal Cliff and sip on my Kool-Aid. It’s the new Peach Mango flavor.
Now let’s get back to Susan Cohen, Michael W. Klein, Yahoo! and their November 2012 column headlined “Is U.S. Immigration Policy Holding Back Economic Growth?”.
Unlike Wade Henderson or those on his panel, these two are not talking about a 21st Century workforce of factory workers and grape pickers. (Yes, I do not care that I am being politically incorrect as I sip on my Peach Mango Kool-Aid). This duo knows that true immigration is not wholly about Brown skinned people, Black skinned people or ‘Maria’ being the nouveau maid as opposed to Beulah being the maid or Pedro cutting the lawn as opposed to Leroy cutting it or American patriots putting up kryptonite fences along the border but rather that this is about STEM cells.
The Hispanic-Dream Act, S.744 immigration reform et al only serve as a cover to bring in what America really needs: STEM. And I don’t mean biological stem cells but Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
What I respect about the audacity of Cohen and Klein and all their Yahooing is that they were looking out for the welfare of Silicon Valley, and, like most of the Siliconites they go after what they need by any means necessary. Now if that means bringing in Pedro and Maria, then so be it, but, by Jove, they’re going to get what Silicon Valley needs out of the deal, too. And they make no apology about it. In fact, one could not find any reference to “Hispanic” anywhere in this particular column. Okay, I laughed throughout this one, but it only hurts when you laugh. Ouch! The truth hurts.
Silicon Valley’s attempt to get the STEM-celled immigrant in is like looking at that Tom Hanks’ movie, “Terminal”.
You see, this is not about the U.S.A. “wanting” immigrants; this is about the U.S.A. “needing” immigrants for its 21st Century Techno Capitalism, which America is losing, because America has produced a level of white student who thinks with his skin cells instead of his STEM cells. In other words many cannot think period other than to think he or she is white; and therefore, ought to be ‘privileged’ on that basis alone; thus, many of their immigrant forefathers are turning over in their graves because these long gone immigrants were hard workers, creative thinkers, and hungry when they took the boat to the Land of Milk and Honey.
Every Developing Nation a.k.a. Third World Nation or every backwater patch of foreign soil now knows how dumb the average American has sunk because, ironically, technology has made the world much closer than the television age. Fortunately, the Siliconites recognize that this country is dying on the vine of repressed technology and of a technology deficiency.
The nature of technology in itself renders it practically obsolete that Yuri and Chen Chen, and Euro-trash Einstein Jr. need to come to America. In other words they may “want” to come to America, but they don’t “need” to come to America to live the American Dream.
They can sit out by the rice paddies, settle back on the mud farms, or attend the Community College of Timbuktu and participate in Techno Capitalism in the confines of their respective nations while building the economies of those nations and Mc-Mansions for themselves. Because, you see, these Third World Nations or Developing Nations started a long time ago to bring in their “young, gifted and poor” to immerse them in math, science, engineering, and now technology. While America was busily demolishing its public school system (‘stemming’ from racism as well as neglecting the ‘poor white trash’ child), the bucket-carriers were learning how to add and subtract and square root grains of rice. They can now write code and create code while America, which now ranks 26th in STEM, has created a STEM void that will take at least a generation to fill. And if this Numero Uno nation doesn’t hurry up Yuri, Chen Chen and Euro-trash Einstein Jr. won’t have reason to go down in the Valley. The Valley so low.
And why would they want to come to a country which has a techno-challenged government which is killing the growth of Techno Capitalism in its infancy? Even though it looks as if technology is advancing, it is not compared to an unrealized potential. It cannot as long as each time it creates millionaires (albeit non-Black), its capitalists are brought before the Grand Inquisitor (Congress). This is not to say that some regulation should not be put into place or it is a Valley of Angels, but the government has chosen especially to clamp down on the Siliconites because it failed to get back the billions it handed out in corporate welfare to Old Guard Wall Street which has essentially told the government and taxpayers to K.M.A. (Kiss. My. Ass.). If this type of thinking by the alleged Powers-That-Be had been in place when the Industrial Revolution was in its infancy, America never would have advanced to Number One and no immigrant would have wanted to come. You can be poor anywhere because the cost of living is breathing. (Of course, the Involuntary Immigrants were already here). Ironically, there would never have even been a need for a Sherman Anti-Trust Act if these idiots had been in charge.
Cohen and Klein cited an incident of how government red tape was tying up and tying down new techno brain cells from coming out of the ‘Terminal’: “…A foreign technology company with a very exciting proprietary software product received three rounds of venture capital funding and was ready to launch a major presence in the U.S…They wanted to spend their new infusion of several million dollars in venture capital in the U.S. market…But before any of this could play out, a U.S. immigration officer denied the visa applications of these talented and eager entrepreneurs…”
Cohen and Klein justifiably bitch on that “Visa scenarios like this one are disturbingly common and out of step with encouraging investment in the U.S…”
(Though one wonders if they can sympathize with Henderson about Diversity Visas).
And the following is the best example of the “Bold & the Brains” soap drama which the duo cites: The cumulative effect of this increasingly hostile attitude towards foreign entrepreneurs and businesses is significant. According to a recent study published by The Kauffman Foundation, immigrant-led businesses have generated $63 billion in sales and have generated a whopping 560,000 jobs since 2006. But the study goes on to say that immigrant-run high tech companies are no longer growing. Since 2006, the proportion of new companies founded by foreign-born entrepreneurs has begun to decline, after two decades of consistent growth. Silicon Valley experienced an especially steep decrease. Some of the most exciting new high tech companies are now launching their operations abroad. We are missing out on all of the economic gains that we would have enjoyed had we opened our doors to these companies…”
I can see Cohen and Klein in the tradition of the movie “Network” (a.k.a. the Internet in this case) yelling on behalf of Siliconites: “We’re mad and we’re not going to take it anymore!”
Even Facebook founder Mark “Baby Face” Zuckerberg in late March 2013 brought in reinforcement by forming a lobby-advocacy group to get STEM visas moving. That’s one way of getting “Affirmative Defense”, and if that means taking to the mattress to break codes to get what America needs, then so be it!
Whew! Again, I am going to pause and go out by the Fiscal Cliff and drink my Peach Mango Kool-Aid.
Now upon returning I can now call out that other valley which resides inside Silicon Valley and that is Siliklan Valley, and I shall refer to it as that as I conclude this politically incorrect dissertation (which I am sure some of you having been patient enough to read thus far would be grateful for the word ‘conclude’ but as any preacher would know, the word ‘conclude’ doesn’t mean it’s going to end quickly…)
Since African Americans are heading toward economic extinction because its economic infrastructure is based on consumption (consumerism), they should be allowed to set up factories to make white sheets for Siliklan Valley. This is a valley where elitism reeks with pseudo intellectualism because it has decided that Blacks are incapable of being Techno Capitalists, because as everyone knows Blacks do not have the brains to be scientists, mathematicians, engineers and technologists. Or so we’ve been told and sold.
To my knowledge, Microsoft has been the only technology company which seemingly somewhat has no problem in recognizing that Blacks can think in terms of STEM.
Some years back I interviewed an African American Microsoft employee and wrote about a 'Blacks in Microsoft' organization within the company. Later I was invited to an event Microsoft was sponsoring in conjunction with the iconic Black Enterprise Magazine. So, it seems practically at its beginning Microsoft has in some positive way recognized that Blacks can be part of Techno Capitalism. (Either that or I had a good banquet meal and wore a brand new cocktail hat, but I would like to think it was sincere or trying to be).
A couple of years back, I received an advance screening copy of Soledad O’Brien and CNN’s “A New Promised Land—Silicon Valley” documentary which followed the trek of several African American techno entrepreneurs as they tried to get residence in the Valley. It also depicted the Jim Crow unwritten techno code that African Americans are not welcome in the Valley; thus, giving new meaning to techno lynching. It is a documentary each and every honcho in Siliklan Valley should view along with whatever alleged Human Resource Department they have. I am sure CNN will provide them with back copies.
This nation cannot continue to leave out its African American human resources; and African Americans cannot continue to make its demands ‘after’ other groups such as the Siliconites and Hispanics get what THEY want.
Furthermore, African Americans must form their own Silicon Valley as leverage as African markets emerge. Traditional civil rights organizations and the new African American economic-centric organizations should join forces and demand that these Siliklan Valley companies recognize and hire Black talent—and I don’t mean as janitors or vice president of their human resource departments.
Black brain STEM cells exist and are crying to be set free and be a part of 21st Century Techno Capitalism.
To reiterate, Techno Capitalism in its infancy is seeking out new markets, and outside of the continent of Asia, it is the continent of Africa which will provide these new lucrative markets. Jungle Jim Siliconite is on his way!
Yes, as African markets emerge, not only is Silicon Valley very capable of Techno Capitalism, but it is very capable of Techno Colonialism if Blacks do not involve themselves and let it be known to African nations and African political groups what the Valley truly thinks of Black-skinned people. The Valley has exhibited time after time that it wants nothing to do with African Americans, so how could it possibly have any sincere regard for Africans other than to cannibalize them as consumers? It is a question that begs to be answered.
August 2013 marks the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington where he delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech. For every American to have this Dream, it is incumbent upon this country to invest in its human resources regardless of race, color, or creed. It is incumbent upon America to invest in every child when it comes to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and not continue this perception and practice that Black children, Hispanic children, Native American children and poor White children cannot THINK; therefore, have no place in the Valley. It is incumbent upon America to search with the same zeal as a sports scout to find the best, brightest and hungriest who want to be part of this new land of Milk and Honey.
These are babies so full of gifts, but they cannot open them to share with the world’s greatest country not because of any stigma God placed on them but because of the stigma arrogance placed on them.
The words, “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, free at last” have yet to be fully realized because the American Dream has yet to be to be fulfilled by those who promised to fulfill it as far back as the Constitution.
It is time for America to say to every Black child, every White child, every Yellow child, every Brown child, every Red Child give us your gifts, give us your talent, give us your yearning in making America greater than it has ever been!