Last week, during his kickoff speech at the first National
Teabagger Tea Party Convention, former congressman Tom Tancredo called for voters to take civics literacy tests and suggested President Obama only got elected because the U.S. doesn’t require them.
“People who could not even spell the word ‘vote,’ or say it in English, put a committed socialist idealogue in the White House, name is Barack Hussein Obama,” Tancredo said.
Tancredo, a one-note anti-immigration advocate, got a partner-in-hysteria this week when Yeh Ling-Ling, executive director of the creepy-sounding Alliance for a Sustainable USA–a non-profit that champions an outright immigration moratorium and couches its anti-immigration agenda in more palatable terms such as “environmentalism” and being for “social coherence”–came out in support of the idea.
Ms. Yeh, wouldn’t you know, is herself an immigrant several times over. From a 2004 Sierra magazine–as in The Sierra Club–profile:
Yeh comes to the immigration debate by a circuitous route. She was born in Vietnam to Chinese immigrants who fled when fighting broke out between the French colonialists and her country. The family of 11 went to Cambodia, where she lived until 1970-when the United States invaded, looking for Viet Cong. Yeh left her family to study in Taiwan, but after the coup d’etat by Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge, she stopped hearing from them. She thinks her parents and youngest sister as well as many of her cousins, aunts, and uncles were later killed by the Khmer Rouge.
From Taipei, it was on to Paris, but when France refused to give her permanent-resident status, she followed a sister to the United States.
The irony of being at once an immigrant and an immigrant-hater isn’t lost on Ms. Yeh. In the Sierra article, it mentions how in her personal life, Yeh goes by her adopted English first name and her married surname: Suzanne Feinberg. But professionally, she’s Yeh Ling-Ling, last name first in keeping with Asian tradition, even after 30 years in this country and while being vociferous about the need for language assimilation. It’s as though she realizes that keeping her immigranty-ness front and center is her greatest weapon. In one published article after another, Ms. Yeh seems barely able to contain her contempt for people not all that different from herself, and she gets away with saying some pretty outrageous–okay, racist–things about these people because, Hey! She’s an immigrant, too!
“Go to Costco. Look at those immigrants. What are they buying? Boom boxes, hi-fis, televisions. They drive SUVs. Did they have those goods in their home countries? I doubt it.”
“I also believe that the so-called ‘bilingual’ education should be eliminated because it is wasteful and divisive: I am multi-lingual and I did not receive ‘bilingual’ education.”
And then there’s the 2009 op-ed, “New Year’s Wish for Asian American Immigration Advocates,” that Yeh wrote for Asian Week, where she not-so-subtly pits one race group against another:
According to Census data, Hispanics are the largest minority group and have the highest growth rates. If demographic trends continue, it is only a matter of time before Hispanics will become the majority group in the United States. Racial violence will certainly escalate, especially during this recession when over 10 million Americans, including Chinese legal immigrants, are out of work: Competition for jobs and other resources will only strain race relations with 3 million more people added to the United States every year.
Eventually, Yeh’s aggressive over-assertion of “fact” veers into unabashed fearmongering:
Mexican separatists have publicly claimed that the American Southwest is stolen land. Euro Americans have been told, “go back to Europe.” Some African American students in a high school in Los Angeles were reportedly told by their Latino peers, “go back to Africa.” Will Asian Americans be told one day to “go back to Asia”?
“Will Asian Americans be told one day to ‘go back to Asia’”?
ONE DAY? As in, we-haven’t-been-hearing-that-for-the-last-150-years-”one day”? As in, we-haven’t-been-hearing-that-FOREVA-from-immigrant-haters-such-as-yourself-”one day”? As in, Latinos-didn’t-make-up-that-shit-bitch-please-”one day”?
Oh, Yeh Ling-Ling. You may be an immigrant, and you may be milking it for all its worth, but you’re not that fresh off the boat.
[Media Matters: At tea party convention, Tancredo says Obama elected due to lack of "civics literacy test" requirement for voting]
[Think Progress: Tancredo’s Literacy Test Idea Receives Endorsement From Right-Wing Immigration Activist ]
[Alliance for a Sustainable USA]
Filed under: Anti-Immigration, Beans and Ricism, Civics Literacy Test, Conservatards, Haters, Immigrant Haters, Immigrants, Immigration Reform, National Tea Party Convention, Ricism, Tea Party Conventions, Tom Tancredo
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