Friday, November 12, 2010

Tennesseans repulsed by "rat" imagery in legislature

"The Fool Pied Piper"
Editorial cartoon, Puck magazine, 1909
If your family was in the U.S. a century ago, perhaps they were the intended targets of the cartoon above, which appeared in Puck magazine to caricature immigrants as criminally minded rats following the tune of Uncle Sam's "lax immigration laws."  You would certainly hope that your American ancestors weren't the ones drawing or supporting this vile image.

Fast-forward 101 years, and State Representative Curry Todd reveals that the same kind of sentiment is alive and well in the people's house - our Tennessee legislature. Caricaturing pregnant women as rats from his seat on the Fiscal Review Committee, Todd figuratively produced the Puck cartoon from his coat pocket, drew a woman's face on one of the rodents, added in a pregnant belly, and stuck in her mouth a piece of paper marked, "CoverKids application."

Tennesseans are repulsed by the filthy sentiment.

Here is an excerpt of what Renata Soto e-mailed to Conexion Americas' mailing list:
Rep. Curry has not had the decency to offer a genuine apology for his statement. Instead, he says that he wished he had used another "more palatable" term to describe these unborn children - "anchor babies."  More palatable to whom? Not to me or anyone who cares about treating people with dignity.
Here is an excerpt of what Diana Holland wrote to Rep. Todd:
Oh, and when and if we meet, I can also share with you information and my experience with illegal American immigrants in Argentina, where living as “undocumented immigrants” has become an American, ex-patriate sport over the last 10 years – oh, and no worries, we don’t refer to them as rats or any other kind of critter; we just call them (and you) “gringos”. I hope this is not offensive…
Read Soto's full response here and Holland's full response here.

Last night in Memphis, representatives of the Tennessee Equality Project, Latino Memphis, the NAACP, Workers Interfaith Network, the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, and the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center gathered to call for apology and accountability (see TEP blog post here and Commercial Appeal article here).

Soto's response also has a list of suggestions for concerned citizens who want to contact Rep. Todd.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...