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Ignoring anti-immigrant xenophobia: The last honest man edition

cross post from HatCityBLOG

MB_Hear_See_Speak

Hear no racism, see no racism, refuse to acknowledge racism

Over the last couple months, people who desire that the topic of immigration would go away are trying to claim that Danbury doesn’t have a racial intolerance problem or that the problem has “toned down”.

As indicated by the most recent “reported” hate-crime that made front page news last week, nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, the “reported” crime only vindicates those in the community who have long stated that racial hatred directed at the immigrant community is, for the most part, being ignored by elected-officials who refuse to acknowledge that the problem exist.

And when it comes to ignoring anti-immigrant xenophobia in the city, no one does it better than Danbury’s last honest man who occupies the corner office on the third floor of city hall.

As someone who has followed the assault on the immigrant community from its beginnings, Mayor Mark Boughton’s refusal to properly address the ever rising level of racism in the city (under his watch) has been well documented over the years.

One of the mayor’s most “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” moments happened at a forum on immigration that was held at the library back in February 2006.

Boughton_Forum2006

In the following video clip, Boughton is confronted by a parent who was alarmed with the racial hatred and xenophobia she and her child experienced in their short time in the city. Boughton’s initial response to the mother’s concern spoke volumes that night and has served as a template for the way the mayor has addressed the topic of racism in his city ever since.

As a side note, look at the flippant reaction from anti-immigrant / hate-group leader Elise Marciano and her ilk (a.k.a., the people most responsible for xenophobia in the area that the parent is talking about). They’re marked in blue in the photo above…

PARENT: I’m a newcomer to the community and I moved here because of its diversity. I don’t want to raise my son in a racist community, and I’m deeply concerned at how this immigration debate has this racist overtones. I have worked for 10 years in many different diverse communities; all of them had similar demographics to Danbury. This is the first time I’ve ever encountered such racist remarks towards me and I think you can’t ignore this issue in your community. I think there needs to be some kind of procedure in place to address the racism that’s associated with this debate.

BOUGHTON: Let me thank you for the courage to make those comments, but there is a procedure, if someone makes hateful comments to you, we have hate-crime laws on the books that are clear, you can file a complaint with the police department, we certainly don’t condone that type of activity, but what you’re suggesting I disagree with in the sense of this. You’re suggesting that we can’t have this discussion because it just becomes racist.

PARENT: No I’m not sugg…

BOUGHTON: Okay, so if we start with that premise and say this discussion is not about racism, it’s not about ethnicity, it’s not about the way somebody looks, but it’s about a failed policy that does not work, then we should be able to, a progressive community, a rationale community, and a compassionate community, should be able to have this discussion.

PARENT: That’s what I’m concerned about. Of course you should be able to have a discussion on immigration, what I am concerned about is that the discussion on immigration has led to racist overtones in the community.

Instead of addressing the parent’s concern regarding the racial acts of intimidation she and her child experienced in their brief stay in Danbury, Boughton opts to ignore the point the parent raised as if the problem doesn’t exist.

As you saw in that video clip, the issue the parent raised had nothing to do with illegal immigration (which, the last time I checked, was FEDERAL problem) but rather the increased instances of racism members of the immigrant population are experiencing.

The mayor’s response to the parent’s concern speaks for itself and is just one example of people who would rather turn a blind eye and ignore the real problem of racial hatred towards the immigrant population in Danbury…or even worse, claim that the problem doesn’t exist.

From the most recent hate-crime committed in the city, and the lack of leadership in the days after the racist email scandal, to the quickly forgotten suggestion that a committee be established, which would examine racial tensions in the community (similar to what was done after the race riots in the 1970s), the problem, which Boughton and his political party routinely fail to acknowledge, is the rise in xenophobia among a segment of the population who are openly hostile towards the immigrant community.

…more to come.


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