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Monday, December 19, 2011

There Are Slurs and Then There Are Slurs

Reading Sunday's edition of our Merrimack Valley newspaper of record, The [Lowell] Sun, I came across a column authored by Ms Esther Cepeda.  I looked her up on Wikipedia, but the powers that be had made her go away.  That was unhelpful.

I read the column, "Wrong way to fight a slur".  From the headline I was sympathetic to what she might have to say, but I quickly became disenchanted, especially when she suggested I was a "Nativist".  I know about nativism—I am an immigrant to Lowell, or as my fellow blogger, Gerry Nutter, likes to say, a "Blow In".

Ms Cepeda is upset with the term "Anchor Baby", which made it into the latest edition of The American Heritage Dictionary.  She is against it because it is a put-down of some illegal immigrants.  She is also against use of the term because, in law, such a child, born in the US, of the nationals of another nation, actually conveys no legal rights to the parents.  I cede the point, but, the child is a US Citizen, if born in the US.  While the parents have no rights in law, there is a strong perception that such a situation might work to the advantage of the parents, depending upon the judge, and further, at some future time, when the US Congress decides to deal with the 12 million illegal immigrants, a child as a US Citizen may be an advantage.  So, the perception is that this child, who will be a US Citizen, is the anchor for future generations and perhaps for past generations, on a basis to be determined.  Ms Cepeda is not being fully honest with us.

There is the question of those 12 million people in the United States, who are nationals of other nations and don't have permission to be here.  Maybe the number is ten million. Because of their status, no one is sure how many are here.  This site suggests that DHS thought 6.6 million were from Mexico, with over a million more from Central America.  Do you think the 6.6 million are included in the Mexican population of 112.3 million (2010)?  I know that there are zealots who think they can all be deported, but I doubt it.  We can wait for them to die, with their children being US Citizens and no questions asks.  However, will not others follow, to fill up the numbers, as older Mexicans residing in the US die off?  More realistic, as violence escalates in Mexico, due to the drug trade and its attendant violence, will not more seek the relative security of the US?  (In the interest of fairness, the drug trade exists because of lower, middle and upperclass people in the US who use drugs.  Lots of them.)  Will the population of Mexico slowly be depleted, as people move here?  Maybe.  This is why the most important election in 2012 is not in the US, but in Mexico.

What I really resent is that Ms Cepeda thinks I am a Nativist just because I think "Anchor Baby" is a good term for capturing a certain mindset.  If she denies the concept by hiding behind current law, she has her head in the sand.  If she thinks I am a Nativist she doesn't know me and is slurring me.  She is ignoring that my Granddaughter is married to a man from Europe and I have helped him in gaining permanent residence and moving toward citizenship.  She is ignoring that the man who replaced me in my job at work, when I retired, is someone I recommended to the company when he got out of the Dutch Air Force, someone who, two decades before, I helped with a joint spouse assignment regarding his US Air Force wife.  Frankly, Ms Cepeda used a broad brush and harsh words and just served to alienate me.

Oh, and as I sign off I would like to one more time put down that I am against dual citizenship.  You are either with us or you are not.  If you come to this nation, go all in.  Don't hedge.

Regards  —  Cliff

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I won't use a link because I want anyone who reads this post to see the whole unedited bio of Esther Cepeda. Please take note that she is a privileged elite....not some impoverished border jumper fighting for the rights of the oppressed. In fact, I would wager that she has never BEEN to Mexico...or if she was as a guest of a posh resort.

Her opinions are like Michelle Obama speaking authoritatively for crack Mom's in the 'hood.

Esther J. Cepeda is an opinion journalist and expert on the issues of U.S. Hispanics/Latinos. She writes about that and much, much more on and on Twitter: @estherjcepeda

Born and raised on the North Side of Chicago, Esther J. Cepeda started writing before her scribbles adequately conveyed her musings. She attended Lane Technical High School then went on to Southern Illinois University, earning a Bachelor's degree in journalism with minors in music and psychology.

After being awarded a full scholarship to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she studied Integrated Marketing Communications there before going into direct marketing and public relations for a variety of Chicago companies.

In 2002 Ms. Cepeda began teaching as a bilingual teacher in low-income grammar and high schools in the suburbs of Chicago while working toward a Master's degree in Special Education from Roosevelt University.

Before joining the Chicago Sun-Times in 2006, then becoming Chicago's first Latino metro columnist, Ms. Cepeda wrote about national and local politics and social issues for Illinois newspapers and magazines across the country.

Selected as a Columbia University 'Next Generation Project' American Assembly Fellow in 2007, Ms. Cepeda was recently named a National Fellow and in June 2008 convened with over one hundred nationally-selected young leaders at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars to strategize on U.S. Global Policy and the Future of International Institutions.

Ms. Cepeda’s columns from the Sun-Times can be read on, which is indexed and distributed by the Newstex Company, and BlogBurst Media. You can download "600 words" on Amazon's Kindle. Her Huffington Post columns are also posted on but can also be accessed at

Ms.Cepeda started writing three columns weekly for national newspaper syndication through the Washington Post Writers Group in October 2010.

A member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, The Chicago Headline Club, and The Society of Professional Journalists, Ms. Cepeda is also a musician, singer, dancer and an artist. She currently studies the Korean art of sword fighting, and the piano and guitar.