The Line Becomes A River Response Ucla Cluster 20 Essay

1854 words - 8 pages

Kylee Conway
Section 1I
Interracial Dynamics
19 February 2019
The Preservation of White Nationalism from The Threat of The “Latinx” Other
The formation of a nation’s border serves to shape a distinct line, not only along property, but the sovereignty and identity of a population who may differ religiously, racially or economically to their neighbors. In America, our northern and southern border are perceived differently in regard to our need for militarization and impenetrability. Americans have little concern for the Canadian border, whereas the Mexican border haunts the collective American mind, as it is the frontier that allows the self-definition of Americans. In Francisco Cantu’s, The Line Becomes A River, his border patrol experiences reveal the violent measures taken by the US to keep migrants outside the border and to perpetuate the criminalization of those who do not belong. Cantu illustrates the convoluted relationship between whiteness and geopolitics through the existence of the southern border regarding American identity and exclusion. In order to ensure the distinction between the white American and “other”, the state intentionally constructs and employs violence along southern borderlands. Cantú reveals that through systematic rhetoric of latinx criminality and dehumanization of the migrant identity, justification of racialized violence is deeply rooted in white nationalism under the disguise of national security.
America’s northern and southern border are regarded drastically different in the American imagination due to who constitutes the population of the land on the other side of the line. The border shared with Canada is seen as “white” meaning the Anglo-Saxon values held by the citizens of Canada resonate with the norms of the ideal American citizen, therefore a label of “whiteness” and safety is applied to our northern neighbor. Whereas, the U.S.-Mexico border is perceived as “brown”, implying a threat to the welfare of the imagined American identity (Ortiz). As being a perceived threat, the southern border is racialized “as a “battleground” that [is] under attack from alien invaders who [hold] a time bomb [that could] destroy American culture and values” (Massey). The intense militarization of the southern border reveals the insecurity of the state towards the latinx and native populations, employing 20,000 border patrol agents and deporting 400,000 undocumented migrants per year based on 2013, data (Massey). Through this data, the idea that violence and hostility in borderlands is not organic but rather intentionally designed through national policy to maintain the exclusion of the “other”. The state has implemented a policy of crimmigration- the convergence of immigration law and criminal law- which functions as the main engine of racial subordination and membership exclusion from American citizenship (Vega). The workings of crimmigration allow the mass labeling of migrants as potentially harmful members...


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