Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Response of the "Activists" Is Scarier Than the Costume

Let me say from the outset that I'm not really impressed by "activists." If that's something you want to do in your spare time, that's fine, but if you identify yourself to me as an "activist" first and foremost, the first thing I'll ask you is, "What's your real job?" Far too often, activist groups don't seek to honestly debate their pet grievance, they simply want to guarantee that their voices are the loudest in such debates, so that they can get maximum face time on TV and in the newspapers and possibly secure more financial contributions to their groups.

Here's the latest burr under the saddle of one such group: You may have seen the story about the controversial Halloween costume that retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart have been selling online. It consists of an orange prison-like jumpsuit with the words ILLEGAL ALIEN written on the front, along with a space alien mask and a "green card" that actually says that and is, in fact, green.

I think it's clever; it's obviously a play on words, combining a common term for an undocumented immigrant with the typical sci-fi imagery of a "little green man." It doesn't in any way reference any particular ethnic or racial group (unless I've missed seeing a bunch of green-skinned people in our country recently), so how could anyone be offended?

Leave it to an activist who likes to see his name in the paper to do just that. Jesse Diaz, president of the Dallas Chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is "offended" by the costumes, and even though both Target and Wal-Mart have dropped the costume from their websites, he's still asking for the stores to offer apologies as well.

Check out the costume yourself at the link above and tell me what you think. As I said, it doesn't look the least bit Hispanic, so why is Diaz so upset? And why would he identify so strongly with someone who's breaking our laws, just because that person shares his skin color and national origin? And is Diaz forgetting that the last word in his group's name is "citizens," or is he ignoring that in favor of getting his name in the news again?

This isn't the first time that's happened, mind you; If memory serves, Diaz was also at the forefront of the protest marches in Dallas a few years ago, and he even went as far to say that the reason that so many illegals were habitual criminals was because American citizens were corrupting them. Good grief!

(I should mention that Diaz is far from the only one offended by this costume, but they all tend to wear the same hat--"Immigrant advocate" or what have you. And besides, I try to give this blog a local angle whenever possible.)

And this leads me to repeat something that I said when I got the chance to call in to the Ernie and Jay radio show a week ago; the subject was another activist group and another protest, but the sentiment is all the same: People who dwell on our differences, rather than our commonalities, are only hurting the debate, and these so-called activists are a major source of the problem. Sure, the multiculturalists say that we should "celebrate our diversity," and that's fine--to a point. But when it goes far past celebration, to the point where people allow their differences to define them, that's where the wheels fall off. Are you really saying that your difference is the only important thing about you? I find that hard to believe.

I won't be wearing this costume myself, of course; I'll continue the yearly tradition of dressing up like a burrito in order to get free food from Chipotle (I hope Diaz isn't offended by that!). But I really grow tired of these groups that find offense in the smallest things; it ends up being like the kid who cried "Wolf!"--if a true grievance really exists, nobody will listen anymore, because they're tired of being pummeled with all the small stuff.

Sure, there are plenty of problems that need solving. But let's stop all the shouting, attention mongering, and quick-to-take-offense tactics and engage in some real debate for once.

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