Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Apartheid, Arizona Style: To The Left, To The Left

To the left, to the left
All the brown people in the line to the left
We’re the government of Arizona
We’ll violate your rights when we wanna

To the left, to the left,
All the brown people in the line to the left
Show an SSN card or a valid DL
Or you’re going to an Arizona jail . . .

You must not know ‘bout AZ
You must not know ‘bout AZ
We’ll detain brown people in a minute
If there’s any empty cell, they’ll be in it
Baybeee . . .

You must not know ‘bout AZ
You must not know ‘bout AZ
Don’t you ever for a second git to thinkin’
You’re brown and free in AZ . .

-- With apologies to Beyonce

Yours truly has been busier than a two dollar hooker. But with Arizona losing its collective mind, I had to put down what I was doing and speak (or write) my mind.

Isn’t this the same state whose public university refused to give President Obama an honorary degree? The same state that dragged its feet adopting a Dr. King holiday – hell, do they even have a Dr. King holiday yet?

Mind you, I have nothing against the citizens of Arizona. Having lived in Colorado and traveled home to California numerous times while living there, I traveled through Arizona many times and had no bad experiences. Even my late dog loved Arizona for the dog-friendly hotels.

But I cannot in good conscience spend my tourism dollars – what little I have – in a state that blesses an unabashedly racist law in the guise of immigration reform. What Arizona has passed is nothing short of apartheid, Arizona style: Carry your papers or get arrested and detained.

First, immigration, and the control thereof, is not within the rights of the states. Arizona is now the poster child for why that is.

Second, the people who promulgated this law probably think that America’s illegal immigration problem stems from porous southern borders and the lure of low-paying jobs where immigration status verification is lax. Not so. Lots of people in corporate America and in all tiers of American society are here illegally, and they didn’t come across the Arizona-Mexico border with the assistance of some coyote. No sirree Bob, these folks came here legally – with student visas, tourist visas, work visas, from countries where our government doesn’t even require a visa to come here -- and they stayed. And stayed. And stayed. And they’re not all brown. Some are whiter than Conan O’Brien.

So how, pray tell, will those poor Arizona law enforcement folks be able to tell which folks are here legally and which are not?

Easy. Racial profiling.

To the left, to the left . . .