Thursday, July 05, 2012

I don't like Jose Antonio Vargas

Why? I've actually been trying to figure that out myself the more I talk to folks about it. Fact of the matter is that I've had numerous conversations amongst friends in the social justice circles about why I don't like Jose Antonio Vargas. As someone who is also undocumented, most folks assume that I have nothing but praise and adornment for him because he came out publicly about his status for the first time in the New York Times.

On the contrary, when I read that article, the last things that were on my mind were thoughts of him being a hero to the undoc movement and/or brave for deciding to come out so publicly, but there in lies the root of his multifaceted announcement to the world and my own roots in why I don't like him.

My short answer would be that I just don't like the guy. Me cay gordo, but that's not an answer. Thus, my long form answer is just that, long. Like I mentioned earlier, having discussions with friends has helped me pin down my own feelings of why I don't like the guy. I'm sure he's an awesome guy if you get to know him personally, really I do. I've met him once or twice. Seen him give speeches and talks. I've heard and read about the things he does by simply just being himself, another undocumented immigrant. But's that not why I'm hatin'.

On the contrary, I agree that what he is doing is important to the movement. He's taken the conversation about undoc immigrants in the US where most of us could never take it. He's gay and Asian, which all highlight the intersectionalities of the movement because not everyone is from Mexico or heterosexual. His story did take the conversation to another level because of who he is. An award winning journalist who lied about his status so he could make a career for himself, and quite a career it is. He's reached other undoc immigrants and individuals who would have other wise never heard of him or his immigration issue and connected them to the movement.

That's what I say when I'm around folks who mention/talk about him and the movement. But don't get it twisted, while I say those things because they're the truth, I also hold back a lot more criticism of him because it's part of the stupid games that must be played. In order for the movement to work, lies have to be told so folks can get along and work together. But I'm also getting tired of having to do that.

I never liked the fact that when he put out his story, he had a website and a campaign ready to go. Dude was making deal left and right. He was wheeling and dealing. But I'm not hating on that either, he's clever enough to milk his shit for all it's worth and get as much money and publicity as he can to make his shit happen. That I actually understand because I do the same shit. No one is going to pay my bills but me and I'll hustle however I can to make it happen.

And while the more I continue to rant, the more I should like Sam from Green eggs and Ham, it all comes down to Jose being who he is, Jose. My dislike of him doesn't come from his skills as a writer/journalist, his celebrity or any of that stuff. I don't like Jose because he's made out to be the savior of a movement that has been around long before him or I ever came into the picture.

The mother fucker writes one essay about his life and suddenly he's the face of immigration reform? The Dream Act? A working professional that 'breaks' the stereotype about what being an immigrant actually means because America would much rather give him legal status than a house keeper or construction worker who are working 12 hr days to support their family.

Nah, that's not fair to everyone who has worked and contributed to this movement. But this isn't about him being at marches or getting arrested for the movement, it's about others, especially those within the movement, putting him up on a pedestal of sorts and praising him for what he did. Thanking him sort of giving him a fucking blow job.

And I won't front either, parts of me do hate because the guy is all over the place, talking about how we have to change the conversation on immigration reform and all that jazz. Really? Change the conversation? While he was off trying to be a journalist, others were paving the roads that have helped thousands of others like myself go to school and become part of the fight for immigration reform/dream act. They were starting support groups in colleges, creating spaces were undoc students could feel safe and know that they're not alone in their struggles.

No, while he was off making a career for himself, others were putting in the work on what eventually became deferred action. But then again, that's not fair to him is it? To expect someone to be part of the movement just because they're undoc is trifle as shit I don't even do myself. If you wanna be a part of it, you are more than welcome, but if you wanna do you, that's also fine as well.

There's no one simple answer as to why I don't like Jose Antonio Vargas, if anything I was just getting it off my chest because I've been chewing on the idea for this post for a long time. Writing is my process for analyzing and moving forward with things. And with this post, I'll do just that. To waste my energy and time just hatin' on anyone, is redundant. That energy  could be used for something better.

But I just had to make it clear, I don't like Jose Antonio Vargas. Just like I don't like green eggs and ham, Sam I am.