The DREAMers argued that:
But for many that critique was lost in an emotional reaction to:
"Our progressive allies insist in imposing their paternalistic stand to oppose the DREAM Act" (emphasis added)
Sally argued that:
But for DREAMers this challenge to acknowledge privilege was probably lost in an emotional reaction to:
"I wish that, in the aftermath of a collective and hard defeat, they weren’t acting like petulant children." (emphasis added)
Two wrongs don’t make a right, and two P-words don't make a dialogue. But if we can get past the name calling of “paternalistic” on one side and “petulant” on the other side, some real issues emerge.
Too many DOCUMENTED, privileged, often white and often men - do too much of the talking, framing and decision making in the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (which is a fair term and accusation in this current staffer of a non-profit's opinion). Even in my non-profit, ultimate say on what work does and does not happen on the immigrants rights front is not in the hands of a person of color or migrant for that matter.
At the same time, the DREAM movement rasing these concerns is generally led by folks within the migrant community who have a level of privilege that is the exception not the rule for undocumented folks. We are talking about graduates and post-graduate students of schools like UCLA, UC Berkeley, and even a Harvard student or two. Promotional videos, congressional testimony and most things pro-DREAM Act generally reflect this college going or college bound led movement dynamic.
Both of these real critiques, as they relate to the DREAM Act, can be addressed in a meaningful way by going back to the community. Now I’m not talking about propagandizing and talking pointing our folks to sign petitions and support policies that remain illusive. I’m talking about genuine listening and dialogue and sharing of full information about what is being talked about in the halls of washington and non profits. Then listening and making a space for undocumented folks (the majority of whom are not going to a UC or a big private school anytime soon and neither are the majority of their sons and daughters) to lay out what THEIR agenda is and not impose OURS or guilt trip folks into supporting ours.
|Campesino Housing, Rural Oregon- No Soy El Army Tour|
In short, the community prefers CIR that does not include border enforcement approaches and deportations, but if pushed to articulate a DREAM Act vision the community basically describes Dick Durbin's original bill with a community service path to legalization, Financial Aid including pell grants and no military "option" and they reject the current language of the DREAM Act as a de facto military Draft for most undocumented youth. This has been my experience at several gatherings it does not speak for the entire undocumented community but we wont know where they are, unless we hear from them. My guess is their Agenda will continue to reflect these demands.
When we take THAT agenda, the community's AGENDA and fight for it with the community voice in front and us as allies behind. When this agenda becomes the immigrant's rights non-profit agenda and the DREAM Movement agenda, then these real critiques that have emerged will be silenced and we will look more like a people power movement. But in the mean time, Non-profits look too much like political parties detached from their constituencies and the DREAM movement falls into the traps of the very things it critiques of these non-profits, speaking for and not with a community from a position of relative privilege.
Let's DREAM bigger and together!