Resentment towards foreigners is not warranted

To the editor:

I agree with Whitney Knight’s observation [Pioneer, Oct. 21] that higher education is “a distant dream for many Americans.”

This situation is unfortunate. Also unfortunate is that Ms. Knight focuses on ‘illegals’ in colleges and universities, some of whom ostensibly get college “handed to them on a golden platter.” I would hardly characterize in-state tuition as a “golden platter,” regardless of the citizenship status of the student.

Perhaps Ms. Knight should ask why public school tuition in general is so expensive. Could it be that lawmakers have systematically underfunded public education so they might gift billionaires and corporations with tax cuts? Sadly, Ms. Knight has fallen for one of the oldest tricks in the repertoire of the American Right: conjuring up inveterate resentment toward foreigners and immigrants to distract Americans from the real enemy, who is close to home and looks like “the rest of us.”

It is, in my opinion, a dawning awareness of this fact that drives the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, which, for all its faults, makes a lot more sense than conservatives attacking Perry on “illegals” or cheering the idea of an electrified border fence.

—John C. Ehrhardt

History Professor

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