Sunday, May 02, 2010

I Dare You

FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON.

Reasonable suspicion? I wonder what that means. I wonder what an illegal immigrant does or says to cause reasonable suspicion. What are the guidelines that law enforcement would use to determine reasonable suspicion? I suspect that if no guidelines are in place, skin color and income level will provide all the suspicion necessary for potentially harrassing Mexicans, Mexican Americans, Native Americans and other ethnicities who might fit the profile of a Mexican undocumented worker.

Last night when I got home I checked my Facebook and noticed that some of my friends had marched in the huge rally protesting Arizona's recently passed SB1070, a portion of which is shown above. The rally took place in L.A. but I'm in Arizona. I felt useless and frustrated at not being able to march side by side with them but as I set out to walk my dog, an idea came to me. A friend of my husband's, who happens to be a very prominent business owner in Arizona, was complaining about the new immigration law. The businessman, who is of Jewish ancestry, started talking about the similarities between the legitimization that this new law gives to racial profiling and the racial profiling done at the onset of the Nazis' persecution of Jews.

"They might as well pass out stars for people to wear on their clothes," he said. Of course, we don't have to wear stars because I'm sure law enforcement can figure out who is an illegal immigrant just by looking at us, right? I agree with the fellow who said that this law is not anti-immigrant, it's anti-Mexican, because if you have blue eyes and fair skin, you probably ain't getting pulled over by the sheriff; you European immigrants are safe in Arizona.

It must be the former teacher in me but I was all about the yellow stars. What if I were to wear a yellow star that said "Mexican" on my clothes? Would it remind people how dangerous racial profiling can be? Now, I'm not comparing this anti-illegal immigration law to the Holocaust. I certainly do not mean to trivialize the millions who died but I think it honors those whose lives were lost through inaction that we learn from the past. These are the little things that pave the way for tyrants. So, I thought to myself that I had to help people see the connection. I've cut out a star for myself which I plan to wear on my clothing when I go about my daily business.

It says simply: "Profile This."

It may seem like a quiet way to protest but I assure you in my mostly Republican, anti-immigrant community of Phoenix/Scottsdale, it's going to upset the apple cart and will take a lot more guts than walking with my friends in a march. So wish me luck and if you drive through Arizona or live here, feel free to make your own star and wear it on your lapel. I dare you!

6 comments:

NM Illuminati said...

I like that. Go for it!

Anonymous said...

Good post. As usual, you have a very direct approach which will get people thinking. I applaud your bravery.

Matt "Max" Van said...

I basically agree, except for two things- 1. The nazis thought they could tell a jew on sight, as well. It's hard to step into the mind of a racist, but consider that in both cases they're viewing other people as subhuman, and therefore unlike themselves.
2. I can't do it. I lived in AZ for many years, and much of my family stills lives in AZ, but I cannot step foot in that state, again. If you can, you're stronger than me, but I did my time. I lived in AZ for 15 years, all told. It was ever thus. You realize that they held off on becoming a state to keep from granting citizenship to Mexican nationals? You realize that the reservation system is a way of treating people unequally under the law? Arizona is founded on racism, more so than even the rest of the country. I fought that battle, and decided it's better to live free elsewhere than fight to stay on my knees. Now, I just cannot justify going back.

melississippi said...

I want to protest too!

NM Illuminati said...

I am happy you put a Facebook button on your site:)

Now I can spread this stuff around!

Anonymous said...

Fuck yeah!