Racism is skin-color based. Although Hispanics tend to be darker-skinned, Latinos belong to the “white,” or Caucasoid “race”. I use “race” in quotes because there is much controversy as to how many human “races” there are. I was taught that there were three “races” and that evolved into five “races” the further I went in school. I tend to lean towards the belief that there is one “race” of humans. But things get more complicated when people mix culture, ethnicity and race to define people.

Much of the segmentation of people by skin color – whether “race,” or ethnicity – came about because of colonialism, which created the idea that there was “us” versus “them” as a group of people subjugated others because of religion (Catholicism) or cultural values (Pilgrims). The “savages” needed to be taught our way of life was the leading cry as the Americas and other parts of the world were brought into the expanding realms.

Much of the idea of “savages” remains today. It is easily found in the language used to debate immigration. “Savages” are tagged to MS-13 gang members, the idea that immigrants are “illegal” furthers the narrative that Hispanics are law breakers, as well as the idea that the “wall” will keep Americans safe. It is a language used to demonize those of a different ethnicity (language), culture (Hispanic) or race (skin color).

The latest example is the latest narrative about the Hispanics, along the U.S.-México border, who are being denied U.S. passports because their citizenship is being questioned. The truth of the matter is that the issue of fraudulent midwives issuing birth certificates around the border has existed for generations. It is not new.

It is true that midwives can easily and fraudulently issue birth certificates to Mexicans because the process is hardly foolproof. It is something that anyone on the border – both sides – has known about for decades.

That this is the leading headline today demonstrates the language of hate.

Previous U.S. administrations and Texas governments have dealt with these phenomena for decades. Yet, the narrative, today, is that Donald Trump is targeting Hispanic U.S. citizens.

He may well be. But let’s look a little deeper into the issue.

The discussion is about American citizens, the fundamental and sacrosanct right enshrined in the United States Constitution and the identity that separates the Americans from the rest of us.

Add to that the idea that Americans enjoy the “right” to keep oppressive government agents at bay and the presumption of innocence of any crime.

Now take away skin color, ethnicity, race and all the other labels and focus on the concept of citizenship for the moment.

How many American citizens would be outraged today if the government questioned their right to be citizens?

Take it a little further, how many of you, who are U.S. citizens, be outraged if the government told you you’re not getting a passport because you are not a citizen?

If you are honest with yourself then you will understand how outrageous it is for someone who knows himself to be a citizen to have to suddenly prove their citizenship to some bureaucrat simply for being born along the U.S.-México border.

At that moment you will understand the language of hate.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...