Here’s a thing I wrote last year around Latvian Independence Day. Today Latvians in my city are celebrating Draudzīgais Aicinājums (“The Friendly Invitation”), a Latvian tradition where we celebrate and support schools. I can’t fathom how wholly unfair it is that my refugee community is fortunate enough to celebrate our traditions in the peaceful safety of America, while other refugee cultures are being barred from doing the same. So today, in honor of Draudzīgais Aicinājums, I’m about to head to the White House to express my support for those hurt by the Muslim Ban. It may seem like our backgrounds are complete opposites, but the truth is, we are the same.
Commenter: There is a history of the Baltic people being referenced as the perfect refugee; white, well educated and easily assimilated. If we don’t recognize that we have benefitted from this, we can’t extend our honest support. We have to be willing to support people that are browner than we are. That are Muslim. That are different from us. I’m sorry if the above sounds salty, but I’m about tired of people dancing around this issue, especially in a community where we pride ourselves on our history and our survival through autocratic regimes.
Me: Nope, I’m with you 100% on this. There is virtually no difference between our people and the current refugees, except for skin color and religion. Tough to claim we’re not racist as hell if we do whatever mental gymnastics we need to do to not see that.