Rant. Muse. Eat. Sleep. Recycle.
Friday, January 12, 2007
BTW, People? 'Minnesota Nice' is a Sarcastic Phrase
Imagine for a moment that you are a single mother; having managed to escape an abusive marriage, homelessness with two small children and now must endure an endless series of confrontations with your abusive ex-husband. Add to that image the fact that you are also a recent immigrant to the United States lured here by the promise of love, security and a better life by a man who, as it turned out, was interested only in turning you into his slave.
He found you via one of many allegedly reputable internet dating services set up specifically to connect U.S. males with women from countries around the world. You responded but were familiar only with the image of the United States as a land of opportunity and promise. You believed his promises and descriptions of himself as a religious, highly moral and lonely individual seeking a wife with whom to share his material fortunes. Your understanding of English was not good enough to allow you to analyze the promises and make an informed decision.
Now, forced to run and hide in a difficult economic environment with two small children and your self image smashed you muster the courage to improve your understanding of the language, identify educational opportunities and economic support for yourself and your children. As you do, however, you continually look over your shoulder because your ex is obsessed with taking the children away from you as his only remaining weapon of punishment for your disobedience.
Having abandoned your home during the holidays and taken up refuge in a motel in order to provide your children with some small measure of a holiday adventure you are startled by someone pounding on your motel room door. No one is supposed to know where you are. You open the door and come face to face with a policeman who demands that you turn over your children to him immediately. He intends to deliver them to your ex-husband. Your ex has tracked you down with the help of not one but two local police departments. His skill at manipulating and deceiving the authorities into believing he is the victim has destroyed your holiday and wrenched your children from you.
You want to explain to the police that whatever papers he has used to get them to intervene on his behalf are not valid but you still do not have sufficient command of the language to do so. The police are unwilling to explore your side of the story or even to tell you where your children are, where they will be or when they will be returned to you. You are immediately tossed back into the abyss of his control and are certain that the laws are designed to serve only him.
Your children are gone. You sit there in that motel room with your guts feeling as if they have been drawn and quartered. You are drenched in tears and have little hope that you will ever be in control of your life as long as you have to live in this country.
This is a true horror story. The image is reality for this woman. The place of this horror story is right here in “liberal” Minnesota. It happened here where the myth of “Minnesota Nice” enjoys great prominence. What does this true story tell us about the oft expressed view of the immigrant as exploiter of our welfare system and opportunities? What does it say about the way we deploy our so-called overworked police force? What does it suggest about our commitment to children and equality?
link | posted by Jae at 9:55 AM |
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