While driving through Arizona I was worried about being deported. I had heard of a new law where folks’ IDs would be checked, and since my people come from Wales and Germany I thought they might send me back to Europe. Arizona was Mexico until just a few years ago when the US invaded Mexico City in a war and took it. So I thought maybe it was time for the lighter skinned European types to head back to Europe and leave Arizona to the Hopi, Navajo, and other First Nations who were there first and the Mexicans who had it until it was forcibly conquered by my lighter skinned relatives.
But then I thought, where else could I go? I have a California driver’s license but CA was taken from Mexico by war too so they may also want the lighter skinned folks to leave. I realized my ID cards just show that I shouldn’t be in Arizona, or California, or New Mexico, or Texas since all of these lands were conquered by white people not too long ago. My light skin says, “Why are you in Arizona? How did you get here? Why do you think how you got here is okay?” So I thought the time had come for me to be deported back to Europe.
I thought maybe Arizonans were now going to watch their eastern, northern, and western borders more closely and make sure lighter skinned people didn’t come in any more. And the ones who were already there, that they could identify, they would have move to other states or back to Europe.
My other photo identification shows I was born in Kansas so I guess they could deport me to Kansas. But Kansas was inhabited by Kansa, Osage, Pawnee, and Sioux nations, claimed by Spain and France, and part of Mexico when it won independence from Spain. The US bought it from France, who took it from the Native Americans, and the US set it aside “forever” as “permanent” territory for displaced Native Americans, except that changed for white settlement a few years later. I was born on this land that the US government gave “forever” to the peoples they conquered and from whom they took other land.
It’s illegal to sell stolen goods, and France took land from Native Americans and then sold it to the US. Spain did the same thing, and the US bought stolen land and promised it to the original inhabitants. Then they broke every single treaty they ever made with the Native Americans, which is illegal. So Kansas, where I was born, was illegally purchased from France, conquered from Mexico, and illegally taken from the Kansa, Osage, Pawnee, and Sioux. I was born there illegally.
Lucky for me, people who look like me kept changing the laws after they took other people’s land so that they could legitimize the births of more people who look like me.
But the fact remains that my light skinned people came here illegally, undocumented; they made up the documents after they got here. Or light skinned people in Europe drew them up and said “You can have that land over there, no worries about the folks who already live there. Here’s a piece of paper.” That’s what my photo IDs say and that’s why I was concerned about being deported as I drove through Arizona. I thought the time had come for all of us who came from Europe to head back where we came from illegally.
Or, maybe the good folks around here could let me stay. I work hard, I love my family, I try to be a good friend and neighbor. Perhaps Arizona, and the entire US, could be a place where even someone like me, who is here because of conquest, broken treaties, and illegalities galore, could be welcome.