Donald Anthonyson and Families for Freedom
WHATS IN THE BOX WITH HANNAH BLACK
Turns out a box can hold the entire world or at least a map of it. Of course, maps are never the things-in-themselves. They’re ideological portraits, displaying the world as we (or those in power) wish to see it, not as it “actually” “is.” Among many of the artificial distinctions and fictions projected on these worlds in miniature are borders. The increasing fanaticism of global right-wingers in praise of these territorial impositions reveals the borders’ unescapable and ever-increasing porousness despite any attempts at walls or fences. Still, these ideological sites are also physical sites of continued violence and the attempts in the United States to regulate these national boundaries are attempts to regulate the national composition in the service of white supremacy.
Donald Anthonyson, Executive Director of the human rights organization Families for Freedom, comes on the show clad in a t-shirt reading “Deportee” to talk immigration and activism with Hannah.
While immigration and race in the U.S. has long been defined by quotas and camps, Anthonyson cites, in particular, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, which made it such that immigration enforcement could deport long-term residents for minor infractions that may have taken place decades ago. ICE was founded seven years later and with executive order after executive order things have ramped up, bringing us to the particularly grim situation we are in nearly 13 years later: Children are dying in freezing holding cells while the government remains shuttered for failing to entirely give into the fascistic demands for a wall by Donald Trump.
Anthonyson is also a snake conservationist who has worked to restore populations of the indigenous racers of Antigua. Predatory rats came along to the islands with colonizers and enslavers, however, they ate out the roots of the sugar cane grown on the plantations. The colonizers then decided to introduce another predator to attempt, stolen from India, to control the rats, the mongoose. Instead, it went for the indigenous racers while the hungry rats bred and bred. As this story goes to show, much like rats, colonizers know no borders until they serve them. Once the rarest snake in the world, racer numbers have rebounded after intervention by conservationists like Anthonyson, a hopeful metaphor for this bleak moment.