Arizona Law Is About All Of Us

Who's next?

It’s easy to think that the new Arizona anti-immigrant law (and that’s what it really is, even though they claim it’s about crime and illegal immigrants) is only about Mexicans coming over the border.

It’s not.

That law is really about all of us. This is probably one of the very best examples of that old MLK saying, “Injustice anywhere, threatens justice everywhere.” When a law says that people can be questioned, and have to prove they belong here, just based on the suspicion of a crime, that really opens the door to  a whole lot of legal ethnic profiling, not just of Mexicans and Mexican Americans, but also anybody who looks like other, or for that matter, anyone who simply looks “suspicious,” which means a whole lot of different things to different people.

Frankly, I can’t help but think part of this is just the outgrowth of right wing anger at Barack Obama. If they can’t touch him, they’re going to try to make life miserable for anybody else who is “other.” I’m not surprised that this law came about during this time when there is so much contempt from the right about Obama and the face of our country looking a bit different these days than it has for its entire existence up to now.

But whatever the reason, all of us need to stand with the most obviously targeted group, Hispanics, on this one. Because if they can succeed with this kind of initiative for one group, they will most definitely find other ways to make issues with others that don’t fit the old mold. This isn’t an affront to Hispanics, it is really an affront to all of us. And we are all at risk.

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4 thoughts on “Arizona Law Is About All Of Us

  1. Hi, I want to comment but I don’t know how to word it. There’s a ‘politically correct’ test to pass on both sides of the arguments. My partner was a black african and I’m a white french woman. Our son is ‘metis’ and my granddaughter is… dark and beautiful! That’s for one. But on the other side of the argument, a nation is not just a shopping mall. You have to have rules about who can live there or not. It is not to be mixed with the colour issue. It has nothing to do with it. But if I say that out loud, I’ll be labelled a racist… Thanks for your articles.

    • Earnest Harris says:

      Hi Frankie. Thanks for your comment. I get what you are saying. And there is certainly truth to it. It just seems to me that this latest reaction and law is not about legal roads to citizenship but really about Mexicans and discrimination against them. This seems to be be proven by the fact that they are the only group these laws focus on. These tough policies aren’t popping up in relation to too many Canadians crossing the border or too many undocumented people from Europe. It’s just too coincidental that they only pop up in areas with large Mexican immigrant populations. And they certainly only have become the legal issue of the day for those who opposed Barack Obama.

  2. frankie says:

    I see your point. However looking for prejudice everywhere defeats the purpose. I’ve just uploaded a post in my own blog on this issue
    Hoping you won’t find it too agressive. Let me know.

  3. Earnest Harris says:

    Hi Frankie. Nice piece. I’ll comment on your blog. But for those reading our discussion here, let me also say a couple of quick things.

    You are right that we must be careful to not use the label of racism or racist lightly. And I for one have fought on that issue most of my life, to the ire of people who wished I would label people as such when I have disagreed. But we must also not be afraid to to call it when we see it either.

    This country has a long history of opening its doors to legal and even illegal immigrants when it suits the political mood and economy. But when the mood shifts we also quickly use those folks, often brown-skinned, as a wedge and political tool. I wish it weren’t true and I wish it were my imagination, but our history, sadly proves it to be very real.

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