August 5, 2009
Foreigners … it seems like they’re always coming to America, taking our jobs, stealing our women, and forcing us to endure all that multilingual gibberish when we’re on hold. Why can’t they be more like us? Why can’t they be awesome? Why do they have to wear hipster shoes and carry murses? Why are their swimsuits so tiny and tight? Why can’t they play real sports like football and baseball … sports where you use your hands … like a man? Why do they have to talk in those weird accents? Why do they have sex with their tongues? It’s all so strange. And yet, even though certain rednecks and right-wing pundits would have you believe that America is being overrun by foreigners, the truth is, that hasn’t really been the case for more than 100 years. These days, immigration is just a trickle, but in the beginning, America had a serious immigration problem: boatloads of diseased foreigners cutting down trees, killing wildlife, putting up fences … the kind of dickish behavior that deserved a quiver of arrows in the ass rather than a friendly welcome. Within a couple of hundred years, foreigners had swindled and stolen their way across the continent – in the name of Jesus, of course. On the way, they killed all the buffalo, chopped down the forests, polluted the rivers, and penned up the locals on shitty, unarable tracts of land. Now, that is an immigration problem. It’s taken about a century, but credit the homeboys for figuring out how to turn lemons into lemonade with casino gambling. As luck would have it, the immigrants’ treaties, like their environmental management policies, were short-sighted. Of course, it’s not all hot tubs and bonbons with the natives. Their national poverty rate is still twice that of the immigrants, and one in four American Indians is an alcoholic by the age of 17. That might make it seem like American Indians have a predisposition toward alcoholism, but if you’ve ever spent any significant amount of time on a reservation – other than an all night campout at the blackjack table – you would see that figure is surprisingly low, especially for a group of people whose ancestors were slaughtered by foreigners and then forcibly relocated to far less desirable real estate. (Much love, Oklahoma, but in your heart of hearts, you know it’s true.) Given our country’s genocidal history, it should come as no surprise that Americans have a healthy distrust of foreigners. However, in these days of increasing globalization, it might not be a bad idea to follow the lead of the original Americans and embrace our foreign brothers and find some common ground – ideally through something other than alcohol and smallpox. Music might not be a bad place to start. This Friday at the Scoot Inn, you can get a healthy dose of foreigners and music at the Dart Music International We Should Be Dead benefit show. Topping the bill is We Should Be Dead, a four piece pop band from Limerick, Ireland, along with Austin’s own Black Panda and DJ’s Alan B and Freddie E, who will be spinning tracks from Dart Music International Artists. Just by showing up at this show you will be furthering the cause of multiculturalism, which Dart Music International helps promote by providing logistical assistance to lesser known independent bands from around the world. The result is an even more diverse music scene in Austin and the Southwest – and, yes, a few more pale foreign kids in tiny tight swimsuits at Barton Springs.