Let’s jump right in, shall we?
Last year someone sent this bitch a link to a powerful post on racial profiling. (Update - found it! http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2009_06_09_archive.html Thanks!)... trust a bitch that this was one of the best posts I’ve read on the topic.
The author wrote of driving through a western state, being pulled over and asked a series of leading questions about where she was coming from and where she was going and then being allowed to continue with a warning about speeding even though she hadn’t been speeding when she was pulled over. She wondered if the unwarranted traffic-stop was an attempt by the local police to harass visibly brown people and create an unwelcoming climate for undocumented people in the border state. What made the post powerful for me was that the author also wrote about how her people had lived in the same region for generations...from a time when it was part of Mexico until the present. I tried and failed to imagine what it must be like to have those kind of roots in a region and then have some asshole harass you as if you don't belong there.
I sure as shit thought of that when I heard of Arizona’s new immigration law.
And I’m calling bullshit on anyone who tries to say that the Arizona law won’t lead to profiling.
As a matter of fact, supporters of the law should be outraged that the Governor of Arizona claims that profiling won’t be a part of the law. The only way this kind of law “works” is if it is applied based on visible difference. Usually paper laws mandate that only the other...the undesirables…are required to have their documentation on them at all times. But Arizona has Americanized that shit…everyone is assumed to have some sort of government issued identification or easily produced proof of legal status, so supporters of the law can make the false claim that anyone who raises suspicion that they may not be American could be asked to produce documentation or face the consequences of having to prove that they are in the country legally. Yeah, that’s American as a motherfucker…kind of reminds me of the impossible to pass voting tests members of my family had to take in Mississippi back in the day that were only given to black people trying to vote.
The thing is, Arizona could have passed the law with equal oppression for all.
Legislators could have drafted it to mandate that all residents of Arizona, regardless of age, have state issued documentation and that all interactions with law enforcement include producing that documentation. That would have left the problem of how to deal with visitors to the state…but Arizona legislators could have mandated that any non-resident of the state who has any interaction with law enforcement who cannot produce a passport or legal identification issued by another state or the federal government be detained until their status can be determined.
But Arizona didn’t do any of that…Gawd forbid they subject everyone to what they so callously want to subject people of color to.
A bitch supports the idea of a boycott mostly because I think people should be warned that their family trip could turn into an apartheid experience quicker than flies gather on shit.
Better to avoid Arizona altogether…and that’s a damn shame, since I’ve been there and found it to be a beautiful state. But natural beauty and stunning sunsets aren’t enough to overcome the now legal and oh so public threat of being treated like a suspect simply because you are a person of color.
And this is also one of those things that those who are not subject to profiling usually fuck up on and "don’t get".
Right now there is someone writing a comment to this post who is going to try to make the case that people who aren’t in the country “illegally” shouldn’t get upset over being asked to prove that we aren’t in the country “illegally” because we can just show our papers and then go on about our bitness so what's the big deal and why do you always have to play the race card.
Oh precious privilege, that those who enjoy you are gracious enough to tell the rest of us what should or should not be offensive…what is or is not insulting and wrong and the very definition of unequal treatment under law.
But a bitch is gonna be a witness...the only race card on the table is this mandate of unequal treatment under law that is the new Arizona law.
The race card that says people of color, people with accents, people who wear "different" clothing or people who are conversing in a foreign language get to experience one kind of American while the rest of y'all get to expereince the other kind of America where your ass isn't asked to prove your legal status when you're pulled over for failing to yeild.
Somebody ought to be 'shamed, but that'd be too much like right.