Sunday, April 29, 2007
Rose Mills (1926-2007)
I buried my mom yesterday.
The only thing I want to say about it here pertains to the mood of anti-immigrationism arisen in America… and people like this who gnash their teeth about non-white immigrants.
My mom spent the last 15 years of her life in a nursing home. Her daily care in recent years was provided by young black women from places like Sierra Leone and Guyana.
I never interrogated any of them regarding their legal status. I don’t regret that. What I regret is, I so rarely thanked them for spoon-feeding my mother.
If you’ve got loved ones in nursing homes, chances are they’re being kept clean by non-white immigrants.
When my mother took a turn for the worse four weeks ago, most of the doctors who treated her were South Asians with names like “Singh.”
And, sure, my first impulse was to wonder about this glut of foreigners – “What is this, a hospital, or the fucking Concert for Bangladesh?” – but the fact is there’s a doctor shortage looming in the United States. I’m sure India needs them more, but we got ’em, so let’s be grateful.
Last week, I found myself outside a shopping mall in Silver Spring, Md. Plenty of immigrants in Silver Spring these days. A little brown-skinned boy toddled up to the mall and pointed. “That’s where Santa lives,” he said, his voice vaguely accented. Behind him, his mother said, “Huh?” And the little boy said: “This is where Santa lives.”
You’re telling me that kid ain’t American?