Once again politicians are promoting a new initiative to discriminate against and demonize people from immigrant backgrounds. This time it is in Texas and is aimed at immigrants from China, Iran, North Korea and Russia. The Texas Republican Party is putting forward Senate Bill 147, which would ban people and businesses from these countries from purchasing a home or land in Texas.
This idea is outrageous on many levels.
If ordinary people from various countries are going to be held responsible and punished for the crimes of their governments, whatever they may be, then shouldn’t the punishments apply to all people whose governments commit crimes in their names? Why shouldn’t people from the United States be punished by countries for the massive violence inflicted on the peoples of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and more? This is a ridiculous and hypocritical policy.
If there were any real concern about the human rights abuses by the respective governments, how does this proposed legislation hold any of these governments accountable? It doesn’t. In the end, those who suffer the most from these racist policies will be ordinary people who are only guilty of trying to make better lives for themselves and their families.
Asian Americans have already faced a wave of violence and harassment due the nationalist demonization of China since the Covid pandemic began, where roughly two-thirds say violence against them has increased. This proposed bill in Texas just adds further fuel to this racist fire. This bill just helps enflame the threat of violence and harassment against Asian Americans, and also extends it to anyone who someone thinks is Iranian or Russian.
This hatred and division get to the core of why a bill like this is even being proposed. For the ruling class and their political representatives, the real goal of initiatives like this is to redirect the anger that many in the population feel about their declining living standards and problems of their everyday lives towards those who have no responsibility for creating these situations – immigrants. This takes the blame off the ruling class, the media they own, and the politicians who do their bidding, and it ignores the system they maintain, which is the real cause of so much suffering. The main purpose of this sort of racist scapegoating is to drive a wedge between various sections of the population, something right-wing politicians in Texas already do very well. The bill doesn’t even have to pass to do that. Just talk of it by politicians and the media will stoke fear and resentment that will work to divide us.
At the same time, this bill coincides with the demonization of China and Russia we see coming from both Democrats and Republicans. As the ruling class in the U.S. comes into greater conflict with the regimes in China and Russia, this demonization of the people of these countries by the ruling parties and the media in this country will only continue. And as it continues, it becomes even more important to resist it, and to call it out for the racism and divisiveness that it is.
It remains to be seen how successful this racist scapegoating will be. Just because the ruling class sets up nationalist and anti-immigrant traps to divide us, doesn’t mean we have to fall for them.