Advocate says offensive border coin ‘a testament of how embedded anti-Black racism is’

Advocate says offensive border coin ‘a testament of how embedded anti-Black racism is’

June 22, 2022 0 By Ellen Novack

“It’s strictly a business for me,” he said in the report. He said there have been enough deplorables out there that he’s been able to inflate the costs of one coin to nearly $500. Who made the coins is still a mystery. How Christiansen obtained the coins is … certainly a story.

Christiansen “runs a business in Utah that buys at auction items that were lost or damaged during shipping by FedEx or the U.S. Postal Service,” the report said. He said the offensive items were among a number of coins he bought during one of these auctions, claiming “he was unaware of the meaning of what was depicted on the coins.”

“It’s not that I’m trying to be indifferent. I’m uneducated on that situation. And for me to say anything would be foolish,” Christiansen continued to NPR, claiming he’s not really political. Okay. But now that he does know about the meaning behind the coins, does it change anything for him? No, telling NPR that while he initially took down a posting after Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it would be investigating the coins’ origins, he’s heard nothing.

He has about 20 coins left that he now intends to sell. Just as a reminder, here’s what the coins roughly look like:

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Miami Herald had previously reported that the CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility planned to investigate the coins’ origins. Luis Miranda, CBP assistant commissioner, said government attorneys also planned to “send a cease-and-desist letter to any vendor who produces unauthorized challenge coins using one of CBP’s trademarked brands,” the report continued.

“The images depicted on this coin are offensive, insensitive, and run counter to the core values of CBP,” Miranda said in the report. “This is not an official CBP coin.”

Oh, it may not be an official coin, but anti-Blackness is unofficially an official immigration policy. How else do you explain the disparate treatment of Ukrainian and Haitian families? While the Department of Homeland Security told U.S. border officials that they had discretion to exempt Ukrainians from the anti-asylum Title 42 policy, the same kind of considerations haven’t been given to Haitians.

The Los Angeles Times reported on a similar coin with a different backing that read “Haitian invasion.” It’s not clear where that coin came from either. What is clear is that this racist “invasion” rhetoric has been used by mass killers and elected Republican officials alike. The innocents from the racist mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, had not even been laid to rest when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz defiantly echoed the same rhetoric used by the racist killer, first on a right-wing radio show, then on his personal Twitter account. 

“I think this is a testament of how embedded anti-Black racism is in the very fabric of the system of our country,” Haitian Bridge Alliance President Guerline Jozef told The Los Angeles Times. “For people who might be associated with CBP to feel emboldened enough to engrave the likeness of a human being abused or mistreated as a symbol of what the department stands for … We see these coins as an endorsement of what happened, and those responsible must be held accountable.”

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DHS inspector general declines to probe Haitian border abuses, refers matter back to CBP office

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