Editor's Desk: Backing DACA Is A Moral Duty, To Hell With Economic Pragmatism

If you support DACA and the DREAMers, remember this:

  • Stop equating human worth with college degrees
  • Stop equating human value with incomes and wealth
  • Stop equating human dignity with labor, productivity, entrepreneurialism, heroism, and sacrifice

Human dignity is innate, is something we are all born with, and this can't be stated enough: 

You are worthy no matter who you are or what you do or what America or white America or anyone else says. You are deserving because you are human. 

I don't give a good goddam about Steve Jobs, valedictorians, marriages, homes bought, or some economic indicator. People deserve our care, our concern, our kindness, they deserve open doors, open arms, open hearts, they deserve to rise and fall just like the rest of us, and still be treated like human beings all along that journey.

I don't care if they are poor, uneducated, single with no relatives, have a chronic illness and a mental health condition. There is no bar, no price of admission I can morally set to refuse and deny a person the better opportunity of what America can provide when America is being their best self. Let them in!

If progressives want to win this argument, if they want to demonstrate that they actually value human life and not data points and statistics, if they want to show they support people and people of color, they need to stop this garbage where they implicitly name a "desirable" and "respectable" type of human being based on market ourput.

That is, if you support DACA and the DREAMers.


Chief is the founder and editor-in-chief of EFNIKS. Send comments and feedback to feedback@efniks.com. 

Ending DACA Is White Supremacy, Full Stop

We have friends of EFNIKS who are DREAMers, benefitting from Obama's DACA policy and executive order. But even if they weren't friends, they are human beings, who have done nothing wrong, who are deserving of dignity and care and the thoughtfulness afforded to all human beings. By every measure, this is the wrong decision:

DACA recipients are integrated, law-abiding, and functioning members of society. But their production numbers alone don't warrant DACA's protection. If not their humanity, if not their labor, if not anything else, then what purpose does it serve to end DACA at all? 

We'll let Cristina Jiminez, Executive Director of United We Dream say it for us:

"All the rumors on DACA would give anyone whiplash. Sarah Huckabee Sanders just denied the latest leak from Fox News and clearly, there are divisions between White House advisors who know DACA works and between the white supremacists who want to intimidate, detain and deport immigrants.

“We are escalating our fight to defend DACA and confront white supremacy. But no matter what their decision, our priority will always be to fight for justice and dignity for all immigrant youth and their families.”

It is absolutely white supremacy. And we will fight it, in all its forms. 

More: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/8/31/16226934/daca-trump-dreamers-immigration

Neighborhood Preservation Is Gentrification Code For Keeping Them White

This is effectively something you can replicate beyond the nation's capital. "Stable neighborhoods" is just the zoning and development code for "white neighborhoods". Designate something as "stable" or pretend that the phrase and concept aren't used primarily by white neighborhood residents, and you end up with changes almost exclusively in neighborhoods of color, in working class neighborhoods (side note: notice how "working class" tends to mean white in political discourse when we all know that working class people exist in urban areas and they tend to be of color). It's often times not the case that advocates against development are opposed too all development. Rather, it's that they know development happens where working and middle class people of color live. Multi family dwellings like apartment buildings? Not in the white or upper-income 'hoods. Below market rate housing, government assisted housing, the "projects"? Not in white or upper-income neighborhoods. And that's in part due to concepts like this, where "stable neighborhoods" is the depoliticized, race-neutral trigger that is anything but neutral on race. 

Image: Redlining San Francisco in the 1930s, via Mapping Inequality

More: https://ggwash.org/view/64620/how-dcs-comp-plan-promotes-segregation-and-what-we-can-do-about-it

Another Symbol of White Supremacy Goes Down in Los Angeles

The nation's second largest city voted today to dump Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples' Day, a reminder of the land we are on and the people we owe an incredible debt to for now sharing this land with us. Columbus shouldn't make people particularly proud, despite the calls by some Italians that this is their heritage and... Sound familiar? Because it is. There are many aspects to culture and heritage that don't rely on upholding symbols of destruction and genocide. And that Italians have centuries of other contributions to both American society and to global heritage means that fighting by some to maintain Columbus Day is just fighting to maintain an attachment to a harmful, hurtful symbol to all Indigenous people who first called the continent home. With so many options, why fight that one? With a people hurt for centuries and only asking for a symbol to create awareness, why fight them on it? We know why, and we saw it one August weekend in Charlottesville, VA back in the summer of 2017...

More: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-indigenous-peoples-day-20170829-story.html

California Curriculum Says Goodbye To Problematic 4th Grade Mission Project

Students in California have long completed their paper, sugar-cube, and lego-crafted models of the state's 21 Spanish-era missions as part of the public ed curriculum on California history. The problem, you might already be able to see in this, is that the project offered almost no real value in the way of learning about the state's Spanish past. Building a mission involves a lot of names, listing materials, and cataloguing the daily life of the religious leaders in each settlement of the Spanish occupation. But that negated the horrors of history: it involved no perspectives of Native American people and way of life, and erased almost entirely the involvement of Asians and other non-Indigenous people in the state's past. The stated purpose of the mission project belied its function as a means of whitewashing history and making it falsely appear benevolent and idyllic, a notion of a California where we all lived in white stucco pueblos amid livestock and drought-tolerant flowers and dresses and music, tended to by happy and docile Natives aiming to please. That's not unlike a romanticized notion of Medieval Europe that puts us in castles and drinking pints over banquets, when in reality most of us would have lived Hobbes' "Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short" lives. This change is welcome, indeed. 

More: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/California-public-schools-mission-project-model-11953722.php

Illinois Is Now The 2nd (SECOND) State To Ban The "Gay Panic" Defense

You ride the bus or train, you pay the clerk, your food is served, your records are kept, your finances are handled, your technology is maintained, your country defended. All things that you do without a care as to whether a gay or trans person is on the other end of that interaction with food, tech, or living in society. Yet some do worry about it, so much so that in 2017 we have to ask why is it that only 2 states in the country ban the "gay panic" or "trans panic" defense for violent crime? Why is it possible to use the defense, "He was gay and flirting so" or "I found out they were trans and" as excuses for violent behavior? The defense is only valid if you see LGBTQ people as a menace, as lying in secret waiting to prey on cis hetero people and assault them. It's a homophobic and transphobic bit of nonsense to accuse us of being particularly threatening, and therefor worthy of assault, for courts to say "I understand" when it comes to panic and violent behavior toward us. And it's also a joke.

Federal Prisons Finally Acknowledge How Some Women's Bodies Work

Gender inequality runs through society, even to the point of placing undue burdens on women in the prison system. Why was a basic human function not adequately supplied for? Why were women forced to pay extra for things they needed just as an act of living? Because anything that does not fit a man's narrow experience is considered "excess" and therefore shouldn't be a "burden" on men (budgets, awareness, learning, sharing society, etc). This is how we end up with headlines like this, where providing a basic product like a tampon is considered an innovation in policies for women. 

More: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/08/29/health/federal-prisons-free-tampons-pads/index.html

The Times Op-Ed Defending Appropriation Is Garbage

Appropriation isn't "borrowing" from another culture, nor is it about respecting a culture, honoring a culture, any artistic homage to a culture. This is why appropriation is problematic: it is stealing and passing off culture as one's own; it is profiting off another culture, giving little or nothing to that culture or its people; it is wearing, selling, and owning with no sense of understanding and little regard for a people and its culture as anything more than a cheap good to buy, sell, and throw away; it's pretending to know a culture because you visited once, saw it on Netflix once, got a tattoo once; it is the way the culture isn't considered valid or normal until a white person does it; it is the way culture is seen as non-existent until a white person does it or "discovers it". 

But the author merges all things into one, pretending that appropriation and liking a burrito (yes, that's actually in there) are one and the same. It disregards power structures, context, and history entirely. It's the same "Becky and the n-word are both racist terms!" attempt at depoliticized justification for causing harm to people of color that we always see. 

And from a Becky, no less. 

More (but, like, don't): https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/opinion/cultural-appropriation.html 

No, General Mattis Didn't Freeze Trump's Transphobic Policy

It's being reported that General Mattis, as Secretary of Defense, has put Trump's transphobic policy on hold pending a study on implementation and readiness of the US military. That might fit a narrative that places Mattis as an "adult" and a "responsible" member of Trump's regime, but it isn't wholly true. While Trump's July tweet may have put a full ban into play, the military actually responded at the time that tweets are not policy. The actual memo outlining implementation was released just this past Friday (nearly a month after the tweet), and it directs Mattis to study the issue. So, effectively and actually, Mattis is just doing what he was told to do and isn't some kind of hero. A good Marine following orders, but this isn't a reprieve as much as it is just the course of process even in the Age of Trump. As some noted on Twitter, the interesting question goes back to the issue of whether statements, tweets, memos or otherwise constitute actual policy, and if so, which do the military have to abide by. Oh, 2017...

More: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/08/29/mattis-orders-pentagon-allow-transgender-troops-continue-serving-pending-study/614711001/

Full Memo Text: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trumps-memo-on-transgender-troops-full-text/article/2632632

#Harvey: List of Resources for PoC and Marginalized Communities (via Colorlines)

This is a valuable resource and we urge to to repost. While not everyone has the resources or time to research every charity, and every local charity, to give to, we are glad that folks have been sharing their links and organizations in the wake of Harvey's historic flooding. We're not going to get into the business of shaming people for giving to non-profits and other groups with problematic efforts in their histories--we get that not everyone knows what to do. Instead, we'll try to share things like this, to help rather than chastise those who want to do anything to assist. While the link does specifically say "people of color", the list provided also has a number of ways to help other marginalized communities. 

More: http://www.colorlines.com/articles/how-donate-money-and-other-aid-communities-color-houston

The "Nashville Statement": Homophobic Church Leaders Are Homophobic

150 conservative Christian leaders pen a statement that homosexuality and transgender people are not compatible with God or Christianity. This is nothing new, of course. But they go as far as to say we are sinners, that anyone who "approves" of us is a sinner, and even differ on the matter of marriage equality or our love being compatible at all with a Christian God's vision. Don't forget that if 2017 is the year that overt white supremacy feels empowered and compelled to speak up and show out, it's also a year where homophobia and transphobia are resurgent in statements like this. So as QTPoC, we face a social fight for equality and acceptance on multiple fronts, but what else is new? Stand together, fam. 

More: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/08/29/evangelical-manifesto-human-sexuality/614201001/

The Statement: https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement

7th Circuit Finds Gender Identity For Transgender Students Is Protected

This news broke yesterday and it is fantastic. From the Transgender Law Center:

"With this decision, the Seventh Circuit (which covers Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana) is the first federal appeals court to find conclusively that a transgender student has the right to be treated in accordance with the student’s gender identity at school under both Title IX and the Constitution. Notably, it is also the first decision to reach that conclusion without reliance on the Obama Administration’s guidance on schools’ Title IX obligations to transgender students, which the Trump Administration rescinded in February."


Read more:


Social Welfare Isn't About "I Paid My Share"

This is important. Though the post focuses on social security, you really have to consider it across the entire social safety net. That's because "welfare" is a dirty word, but "social security" is somehow the honor and the privilege of "hard-working Americans". If you're even on these pages, you should know where this is going--those who think they are deserving of honored categories of government payments see "welfare" as something for Black folks and people of color. The entire culture of the modern welfare state is geared toward this kind of thinking, such that you can't call student grants, subsidized loans, the mortgage interest deduction, 401(k) pre tax deductions, employer provided health benefits credits, government contracts and funding, and and and... For some reason none of that is called welfare but is considered deserved  for being a productive member of society. Nevermind that societies take all types, that economic cycles govern production, that racism and sexism affect access to productivity; nevermind that human life has intrinsic worth and should be valued for the sake of itself. But like the article says, once we sell these social welfare schemes as deserved rewards, it makes all the rest of it easier when you don't "pay into" the kind of welfare they think only PoC receive. 


Read more: 


ICE Continues To Harass Latinx People, Even Citizens

It's almost as though the entire agency exists to traumatize brown people, as though the agents are sadisticly imposing their values of a "white America for white Americans" onto anyone with brown skin. Humanity and decency are lost on them. Look at the the link, look at this woman, and how the hell do you find her a threat?! That could be an auntie, a tia, an ate to any one of us. Enter ICE. 


Read more: