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Lawn Sign Liberalism

Seeing "No Matter Where You're From" signs in liberal-leaning towns makes me both smile and cringe. Why? Because I know the tolerant message belies the real feelings many have towards neighbors, not from other countries, but "other" neighborhoods.
April 13, 2017, 8am PDT | Keli_NHI
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If you live anywhere with a substantial resistance to the current administration's attacks on immigrants, you may have seen the lawn/window signs–they say, in Spanish, English, and Arabic, “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.” (There’s also a variant in Hebrew, English, and Arabic.)

In an atmosphere of demagoguery and baseless hysteria about foreigners and immigrants, this kind of gesture is important (not sufficient, but important). I intend to get one.

But their popularity also makes me a little uncomfortable, and I imagine anyone else who pays attention to fair housing might feel similarly.

No Matter Where?

When I was on a work visit recently to Montclair, New Jersey, where Shelterforce's office is located, I saw these signs all over the place—on churches, lawns, and business windows. This is not surprising. Montclair is an epicenter for liberalism, well-known as a haven for (upper class) interracial couples, and the home of multiple former Obama administration officials, New York Times higher ups, foundation officials, and the like.

Seeing those signs everywhere made me smile. And it also made me cringe.

Because while the makers of the sign meant “what country you’re from,” what the sign says is “no matter where you're from,” and I know that for most of these folks, that actually isn’t true. They'll swear it is, but their actions will show otherwise.

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Published on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 in Shelterforce/Rooflines
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