Home > DACA AND THE “TRAIL OF TEARS” by Jack L. Daniel

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The most recent DACA decision is the latest example of White male-dominated federal government imperatives contributing to various “trails of tears” experienced by their victims, i.e., people of color and women in America.  Recall that “At the beginning of the 1830s, nearly 125,000 Native Americans lived on millions of acres of …land their ancestors had occupied and cultivated for generations. …Working on behalf of White settlers who wanted to grow cotton on the Indians’ land, the federal government forced them to leave their homelands and walk thousands of miles to a specially designated Indian territory across the Mississippi River. This difficult and sometimes deadly journey is known as the Trail of Tears.” http://www.history.com/topics/native-american-history/trail-of-tears

If we are to positively address the current DACA induced “trail of tears,” then we must be crystal clear regarding who did what and why regarding the recent DACA decision.  Neither some nebulous “America,” nor some vague “our country,” or unknown “we” put at risk dreamers such as one who came to America at 5 years-old; never visited her parents’ country of origin; volunteers for a program serving the homeless; is presently enrolled in medical school; and has never committed a crime.   Rather, the most recent DACA decision was a continuation of inhumanity displayed by certain White males with federal government power –not some amorphous “America.” 

As poet Rudyard Kipling wrote, “…Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, lest we forget—lest we forget.”   In the immediate instance, we must not forget that the three branches of American government have been dominated by White males since July 4, 1776, e.g., [1] Forty-three White male Presidents served until Barak Obama was elected in 2009.  [2] Only White males served on the Supreme Court until Thurgood Marshall was appointed in 1967 and Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed the first woman in 1981.  [3] It was not until 1870 that the first Black, Hiram Revels of Mississippi, was elected to the Senate and Joseph Rainey of South Carolina was elected to the House of Representatives.  [4] It took until 1917 for Jeannette Rankin of Montana to become the first woman to serve in the House of Representatives.

               Throughout the centuries of White males controlling the 3 federal branches of government, much of what they did contributed to immigrant-related “trails of tears” as a result of their racist, xenophobic, ethnocentric, sexist decisions.  Lest we forget, it was a White male-dominated federal government that did the following horrendous deeds:

  1.       Decimated the Native Americans and placed the survivors on reservations;
  2.       Enslaved Africans and, for centuries, continued their oppression in America;
  3.       Restricted citizenship to free Whites with the Naturalization Act of 1790;
  4.       In 1878, declared Chinese individuals ineligible for naturalized citizenship; in 1882, prohibited Chinese immigration for 10 years; and not until 1943 was the ban on Chinese Immigration lifted; http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415892940/data/8%20history%20and%20immigration%20timeline.pdf
  5.      Ruled that slaves were merely three-fifths’ of a man for electoral purposes;
  6.      Did not provide women with the right to vote until 1920.
  7.      Passed The Immigration Act of 1924, implementing immigration quotas based on nationality and sharply reduced immigrants from Eastern Europe, and Asia;
  8.     Issued the 1942 Executive Order 9066 which resulted in more than 100,000 Japanese being placed in internment camps;
  9.     Used “intelligence” tests to restrict those they deemed genetically inferior immigrants; and
  10.    Recently restricted immigration of Muslims as well as put approximately 800,000 Dreamers at risk.

Since the birth of America, the White male-dominated federal “powers that be” have never desired to accommodate the “...tired, poor, huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.” No less than Alexander Hamilton warned,  “The influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities.” https://qz.com/904933/a-history-of-american-anti-immigrant-bias-starting-with-benjamin-franklins-hatred-of-the-germans/.   Ben Franklin unapologetically hated German immigrants and opposed them coming to Pennsylvania. 

When it came to the highest office in the country, the “founding fathers” were so xenophobic that they wrote: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

With the recent DACA decision, POTUS 45 and his White male-dominated posse continued the “trails of tears” experienced by the victims of White supremacy.  What they did was so egregious that the only question is whether, during the 2018 and subsequent elections, we the people will act on the following declaration: “…But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security…”  Otherwise, the promise written on the Statue of Liberty will remain a dream deferred.


Jack L. Daniel

Co-founder, Freed Panther Society

Pittsburgh Urban Media Contributor

September 13, 2017



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