Fox: Racism Dictating U.S. Policies

By Terry Keleher Oct 10, 2007

In an interview with the Associated Press this week, former Mexico President Vincente Fox charged the U.S. with allowing racism to dictate its policies, especially on matters of immigration. "The xenophobics, the racists, those who feel they are a superior race … they are deciding the future of this nation," he said. Fox, promoting his new book, Revolution of Hope,” praised President Bush for his supporting proposals to allow more Mexicans to legally work in the U.S. But he criticized Bush for failing to pass the promised reform due to political reasons. "There was always a reason for why it couldn’t be done,” he asserted. “It is not possible because of the elections.” "To be so repressive isn’t democratic or free … to be putting up fences, chasing Mexicans, that isn’t right," Fox said. "The U.S. needs better answers than repression, weapons and violence." Fox, who served as president of Mexico up until last year, represented the conservative National Action Party and formerly served as President of Coca-Cola in Mexico. But he fell out of favor with Bush, not only over immigration policy but also because of his refusal to back the U.S. in the Iraq war. If a conservative can call out the racism in U.S. policy, it sure would be nice if more progressives could do the same. In policy debates over immigration policy, too often progressives duck the issue of racism and get too caught up in the conservative frame of legal v. illegal status. Anti-immigrant sentiments and policies, often justified in the name of law and order, may not be based upon racist intentions, but regardless of intent, have significant racist impacts because they disproportionately harm people of color and contribute to a climate of racism. Xenophobic hostilities and punitive measures directed at undocumented immigrants compound the dynamics of systemic racism because the harms are not only experienced by undocumented immigrants, but often generalized to all immigrants, whether legal or not, and all people of color, whether immigrant or not, who are more likely to be subject to discriminatory treatment based simply upon how one looks, talks or dresses. When you hear vitriolic anti-immigrant sentiment coming from elected officials or minuteman-type vigilantes, we need to call this out as racism. Even though they’ll claim that their intents are not racist, the impacts of their actions and deeds have devastating and deadly consequences for people of color – and that’s the definition and kind of racism that matters most.