Music professor quits US for Canada after racist attacks

Robin Attas, assistant professor of music at Elon University, North Carolina, is heading back to Canada after her husband, Nicolás Narváez Soza, was subjected to racist treatment.

‘We feel insecure,’ she says.

She talks about it here.


Photo by Oliver Fischer | ENN

 

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  • Shocking. But not surprising: the new regime in Washington gives racism some sort of justification, however unintentionally (?). And in Europe it is the same problem. A friend of mine, a former refugee from Tadjikistan, is trying for years to find a more or less safe place in the UK for himself and his family, moving every 4 years, which means: again and again trying to find a new job at a new town, and when they are settled, neighbours begin to threaten them, even the children, so that they need police protection. The big city is too expensive for them, so they have to find something where racism is still under the surface, as it was in former times.

    With simple folk, existential anxiety creates scapegoating, and given the insufficient educational systems everywhere, people don’t learn from history, so it is doomed to repeat itself again and again.

  • Most of the cities in North Carolina have seen a considerable increase in their Hispanic populations. Burlington, a relatively small city, saw a 72 percent increase in the Hispanic population between the 2000 and the 2010 censuses, and a 5 percent decrease in the white population. In comparison, the Hispanic population in Durham increased by more than 100 percent in the same time period. These numbers are certainly even higher if one looks at the children being born, and entering the school age population. Not to say that xenophobia (more accurate term than racism) is justified, but that in fact the dominant position of English-speaking whites is certainly threatened.

    • A comment mixing language with race.

      ‘Threat’ to what? if it is cultural identity, this is distinct from race.

      If Spanish-speaking people also speak English, then there should not be any ‘threat’.

      • My comment said nothing at all about race. Being Hispanic or Latino has nothing to do with race, but only with language and culture. In fact, I said in my comment that it is a question of xenophobia (fear of the other).

        • Sure, race is an artificial construct. But the guy has brown skin, and his skin color apparently prompted the attacks (at least, so his wife says, I have no trouble believing it from my experience of the South). If that’s not racism, I don’t know what is.

          • One of the problems with carefully defining “race” is that once you do, the opportunists will find a figleaf in it to claim their hateful and uncivil behavior as being not about race at all, and therefore “not racist”.

            I think it’s fairly clear this problem was not about language or culture. It seems unlikely that the police who were pulling her husband over for fabricated seat belt checks heard him speak Spanish or saw him painting in Central American art styles.

          • Race is not an artificial construct but an observation of physical differences between types of humans. Racism however, is an artificial construct where race is used as an argument to disenfranchize people.

  • Canada is a fine place to return to but if they were to seek a place in the US where Hispanics are not viewed as a dangerous new threat, perhaps the Southwest would work better for them. Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, California….

    Of course it should be possible to be treated decently everywhere and not have the most foolish and selfish inhabitants driving the decision process.

    • Well, she says they are both Canadian, and she also says that she sees racism so deeply entrenched in American society that it’s difficult to imagine it ever going away, and also that they’d like to be somewhere where they can vote and participate in the system… so I’d be surprised if they actually were looking for somewhere else within the US.

      (P.S. there is plenty of racism and anti-Hispanic sentiment available in the southwestern US, even if there are lots of Hispanics.)

  • “Being Hispanic or Latino has nothing to do with race, but only with language and culture.”
    these kind of statements are all about disabusing the Race construct, and for good reason… thus it is perhaps more useful to say that the central problem is skin color.

    • True. People with different skin colors raised in the exact same environment will have profoundly different experiences of what life is like.

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