Saturday, June 02, 2007

The second meaning of coyote is a person who smuggles immigrants into the United States. A new book by Daniel L. Smith-Christopher is titled Jonah, Jesus, and Other Good Coyotes. Last night I looked in the dictionary for some deeper implication of coyote, but it wasn’t there. Abingdon Press (the publisher) must have known I might need help understanding the title. After the online book description they include an “about the title” paragraph: “Coyote in modern parlance refers to human traffickers of illegal aliens and immigrants. Coyote crossings commonly elicit the image of professional mercenary smugglers who prey upon the hopes and dreams of illegal aliens. However, among immigrants themselves, the overwhelming view of Coyotes is positive. Daniel Smith-Christopher uses this paradox, this provocative image, a very biblical paradox, he adds, as the central and effective metaphor in the book. Jonah and Jesus are reviled for the same reason, he says: they crossed boundaries, they met the other, and they brought them over. They thumbed their noses at man-made and fear-based boundaries that exclude rather than embrace.”


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