Legalizing Racism


I found an article on NPR’s website that caught my eye this morning. It talked about Arizona’s new law that not only permits but enforces racism for officials and agencies at state and local levels. The law requires police to interrogate any person if you have “reasonable suspicion” that they are undocumented. Moreover, it requires all immigrants to carry their papers with them in case their status is ever questioned. Failure to do so would mean that such a person is committing a crime of trespassing. (I think this is also the state that says it’s OK to shoot a trespasser on private property). Sure, this goes for all immigrants—but we know those who are white and English-speaking do not have to worry about this so much since they may not look “reasonably suspicious”. For a comical example of this, watch Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.

This goes back to my theory that the word “immigrant” has now come to have a string of assumptions: Mexican, illegal, criminal. “Reasonably suspicious” of course targets those of darker skin, Spanish speaking people. Racism always finds a new demographic to hate. The focus is now more on Latinos than I think it has ever been—possibly even more hatred is brewing for the Hispanic community than that currently exists for the African American.

What is the sudden deal with immigrants—particularly those of Hispanic origin? Doesn’t everyone know we are all (except Native Americans) product of immigration, and in that case, most likely illegal immigration? Our white forefathers and mothers came the same way as the Latinos have been coming in the recent decades. Nothing at all has changed—just the American attitude and conception of what is “American”. I get that we want immigration control—but we need to be careful on what our motives are and profiling actually means.

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