Feeling good by doing practically nothing for refugees (otherwise known as, I can’t be racist because I like that one black guy)

I’ve been on the fence about whether or not to make an effort to take this blog/diary/lunatic ranting more public. My thoughts today make me want to keep it more on the private side. Mostly because what’s got me riled up this morning is about people close to me, and how sad they make me sometimes. I know they mean well, but it’s amazingly frustrating to watch them do what they do, and support what they support all at the same time. So I’ll probably keep things private for a while, at least until this gets buried enough that they’d have to read so much to get to it, making it unlikely that it will ever come to light. This is about refugees. More below the fold.

President Trump announced that today will be a day for changes in national security policy. One of the things that he is reported to be rolling out is a fulfillment of his campaign promise to block immigration from countries with predominantly Muslim populations. Reuters reported that people familiar with the executive order that’s expected later today say it will prevent refugees from Syria and six other Middle Eastern and African countries. The article indicated that a separate executive order is expected to block visas from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, which might also be the list of countries blocked in the refugee prevention order also. The overlap of the lists isn’t clear right now, but we will know more soon.

I can’t see this as anything other than pure heartlessness. Refugees are people who lost their homes. Who left everything behind in a desperate act to stay alive. They often get moved around from refugee camp to refugee camp and have no say in where they will end up finding a home. Many of them come to Buffalo, NY, my hometown, and after being “in the system” for almost a decade they find a home here and create a new life. If anybody thinks that this is a way to sneak people into the country, I hope they go to work for folks who are trying to hurt us, because it has to be the most inefficient and unlikely way possible to get somebody where you want them to be.

And this brings us to what’s got me going this morning (and has festered for a while). There are people in my life, who will remain nameless, who have recently been doing work within a club they belong to, to buy stuff for a family of refugees. A family of people, like the other 10,000 refugees that have settled in Buffalo, who came from hardship, leaving everything behind, and eventually being resettled in Buffalo and becoming part of a vibrant refugee community that is a source of pride for our region. This particular family, like many other families I’ve met, have nothing. But these people I know (and love) and the group they belong to, have been buying stuff for the family. Clothing, toys, books, food…things you can imagine a family with nothing would need.

I love that they are doing this. It is an act of kindness and generosity. But I find myself biting my tongue and wanting to scream whenever they talk about it. These are people who voted for Trump, and who very early on praised things he’s talking about, particularly about immigrants and terrorists. So I watch them do this one thing, for this one family, and it makes them feel good about themselves, while they support an administration that is going to hurt tens of thousands, if not more, with their anti-refugee policies. It almost feels like the person who can convince themselves that they aren’t racist because they like Michael Jordan, because they like Ben Carson. Not almost. It feels exactly that way. And it makes me sad. And I bite my tongue, and I say nothing, and I vent about it here.

 

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