TheGrio Daily

Migrants on the Move

Episode 61

“What are you going to do when the people loading you onto the bus got guns?” Migrants being bused from Texas and Florida to other states has become common practice in recent months. Michael Harriot believes the U.S. government is human trafficking these people who are seeking asylum. He explains his theory and discusses past instances of these same practices being used in Black communities.

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 Michael Harriot [00:00:05] I know y’all heard about it, right? Have you all heard about that big child trafficking case? Yeah, man. Like, I don’t know if you heard about it because it’s been on the news a little bit, but it’s like the governor of Florida and the governor of Texas, they were human trafficking. Yeah, man. They took a bunch of people and loaded them into buses and then moved them across the country. And, you know, we’ve been calling it like, you know, moving migrants or whatever. But what this is, is human trafficking. So we’re going to talk about this today on this episode of theGrio Daily, the only podcast that tells you to move Black people get out the way. I’m Michael Harriot is world famous wypipologist and this is theGrio Daily. Yeah, man, I don’t know if y’all heard about this, man, but it’s a it was a big story a few weeks ago. The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, who, you know, has one of those jaw lines like, you know, he reads with his mouth open and the governor of Texas, who is just pure bred, racist, what they did was they took some immigrants and they just loaded them into busses and planes and then shipped them to places what they call sanctuary cities. What they really mean is places that are disproportionately nonwhite, blue states. And a lot of people call that a political stunt. But what this really was, was human trafficking. 

Domingo Garcia [00:01:45] And they were just literally dumped like human garbage in front of the vice president’s house. That’s unchristian, un-Texan, un-American. 

Michael Harriot [00:01:53] Although a lot of people were outraged. I wasn’t because see, I have actually read a couple of history books and I know people have done this all of the time, right. Like this kind of human trafficking actually happened a lot of times in American history. So we’re going to talk about a couple of those instances today. Right. So one of the craziest instances of this was and, you know, people have been actually talking about this was, you know, right during the civil rights era when, you know, we were striking down Jim Crow laws and there were states and cities around America who just paid Black people to move. And I know you’re thinking, well, you know, is it forced migration if you pay people to move? Yeah, kind of. Right. Because when they say pay people to move, that means that they first forcefully disenfranchize those people. And then after they disenfranchized them, they passed the Jim Crow laws that forced Black people to be caged in certain areas and to adhere to certain racist laws. And then when they said, well, you can’t go to school with white people, you can’t work around white people and you can’t live around white people. Well, we’ll give you money to move. So it wasn’t the money that made it for us. It was all of the stuff before. They gave the Black people some money. It’s like if you gays, you know, you attracted a child to your car by offering them a lollipop and then said, well, I didn’t kidnaper. They got into my car willingly. Nah, bruh, we know what you were doing. 

Michael Harriot [00:03:47] And in this case, these forced migrations in the fifties and the sixties, they paid Black families and Black people to basically get out of their states, which is really a form of ethnic cleansing. And it worked right. In these southern states, Mississippi and Georgia, who did this. They took the same tactic as Ron DeSantis and in Abbott in Texas they said, well, look, they did it willingly, but was it of their free will if you have enacted every kind of legislation and social policy that made it so that these people will have to move in order to live? What’s the difference between that and explicitly holding a gun up to their head? But again, they don’t call that force, and this has happened in other places a number of times. You know that place that they call Central Park, that was actually a forced migration of people who were living in that area of Manhattan. It was majority Black. It was a thriving Black community. And they said, nah we want a park here. And they just forced the people out of the place called Seneca Village to move elsewhere because white people wanted the space. We have a concept in America called eminent domain, which means that, like the government can actually confiscate or say that they own your property and this has happened a number of times in America. 

Michael Harriot [00:05:35] One of the interesting ways that they do it is to benefit white people with water. Right. So I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Lake Lanier in Georgia. Is this place right outside of Atlanta that has this manmade lake? Well, that manmade lake is actually built over a thriving Black town. And like and when I say they built it over the town. That doesn’t mean that they destroy the town now. They just flooded it. They just literally put water over there. And if you go in Lake Lanier right now, they’re still rooftops and homes and a Black racing track. They’re still down here underwater where this Black community used to live that they made they forced the people to exit. What happened was that there was a white woman who says she was raped and then they just said, we’re going to kill the Black people unless they move and then in a matter of two weeks the population of the town dwindled. This also happened in Indiana and this also happened in Kentucky. This also happened in Oklahoma. This also happened in many states and cities around the country. There are stories of, oh, wait, wait, y’all don’t even know about Whitecapping, right? Like when in Indiana, the Ku Klux Klan or the White League would just go around and purge the communities of Black people by whitecapping them. And a lot of times this was to take their land. Sometimes it was just to ensure that, you know, they couldn’t disenfranchize the Black people, so they would ensure that they would win the next election by just getting rid of the Black voters out of the place. 

Michael Harriot [00:07:28] If you Google most of the racial massacres in America, what you’ll find is that they didn’t just kill a whole bunch of Black people. As a matter of fact, the number of Black people that they forced out of towns and cities and states is far more than the people that they just kill, because the killing was just a tool to force Black people to migrate out of their cities or towns. And that’s what we know in history. We euphemize that as the first great migration after the Civil War, when Black people moved up north and began populating majority Black cities. We like to euphemize that by saying that these people move for opportunities or, you know, to get jobs. But what that was in a lot of instances was the result of racial terrorism, that migration, and some of it was because of unequal laws, because of Jim Crow laws. They had constructed a society that Black people certainly couldn’t live in, couldn’t work and couldn’t survive in and so they had to move. It was a forced migration and it was kind of like what Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott did in their whole state. Well, they did it again, right? Like right after Jim Crow or during the era of Jim Crow. You know, we think of some of these cities as being majority Black or some of the areas in cities is being majority Black because of Jim Crow laws. Nah. Some of those places, they just forced the Black people to different parts of the city. 

Michael Harriot [00:09:24] Take Chicago, for instance. Right. So, you know, we think of Chicago as having these gangs, but those Black gangs were actually created because of white gangs. So the reason the Democratic Party is so strong in Chicago is because the Democratic, what they call the Democratic machine, was actually just a bunch of white gangs. Many of the gang leaders eventually became big politicians in the state, and those white gangs would terrorize Black people when they move into their neighborhoods and they controlled territory. There were gang wars, right? So in the 1940s, the city of Chicago had the real estate board passed laws that basically moved 75% of the Black people in Chicago out of their neighborhoods and hoarded them into these buildings that were built by the federal government using government months money that we call projects, housing projects, Cabrini-Green. Those projects were built with federal money. Well, they didn’t just say, hey, Black people want to go from this nice home into these projects with all the other poor Black people. Nah, what they did is the political apparatus, which was run by gangs, Reagan holds, Reagan’s Colts, which is the origin of the Indianapolis Colts. We’ll get into that later. These gangs basically forced Black people out of their neighborhoods. And once these Black people were hoarded into these housing projects. What were they going to do? They were going to respond to this terrorism by protecting themselves, by creating their own version of these gangs modeled after the white gangs. And that’s how gangs in Chicago became so prevalent. It was a response to white gangs and forced migration and all over America. 

Michael Harriot [00:11:48] This is true. Like, you know, we like to think of Jim Crow laws as, you know, something that had to be overturned or some piece of legislation. But in most places, these were just unwritten rules that were enforced by violence and terrorism against Black people. To not just disenfranchize them. Not just to scare them, but to make them migrate into these places where they could offer themselves protection. And that is how America forced migration of nonwhite people for years before DeSantis came up with this brilliant idea to human traffic migrants, to New York, into Martha’s Vineyard, and to D.C.. And the interesting thing about this, just like the Black people from the fifties and the 1860s and the 1920s, and, you know, every 50 years or so is that those Black people weren’t illegal, just like these migrants were not legal. That’s one thing you have to know about the current narrative is that United States law allows for people to seek asylum by just crossing the border and telling, you know, immigration officials, I come here to seek asylum, whether it’s political asylum, whether they’re being being hunted by gangs, whether they just want to be safe. They can actually seek asylum by crossing the border and saying, I seek asylum. It’s not illegal immigration. It is the prescribed legal way to apply for asylum in America. And that’s who DeSantis and Abbott was human trafficking, not illegal aliens, as they would like to say. Not undocumented immigrants, as they would like to say. 

Michael Harriot [00:13:51] These people came into the country legally. Kind of like the Santas people did. And then they were human trafficked across the country and it was kind of by their consent. But what are you going to do when the people loading you onto the bus got guns? Get the full authority of the state. And has the American government backing their every action and history on their side. Well, you do the only thing that you can do. You move. You get out the way. And that’s why you need to download the real app. That’s why you need to subscribe to this podcast on whichever platform you listen to. And that’s why we leave you every week with the famous Black saying. And today’s Black saying is, “it ain’t illegal. If they got a gun, it’s just American.” We’ll see you next time on theGrio Daily. If you like what you heard, please give us a five star review. Download theGrio app, subscribe to the show and share it with everyone you know. Please email all questions, suggestions and compliments to podcasts at the 

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