From The Grio — Sometimes you find the greatest wisdom from the most unlikely sources. Years ago, I was getting my hair cut by a barber who considered himself to be the expert on all things socio-political. His sensitivity to the issues became especially heightened when I came in for a visit, since he knew that I had a bit of a platform to share my ideas. On the topic of immigration, he cited the manner by which many Americans describe immigrants, especially undocumented residents from Mexico. Many Americans, in jokes and emails, describe Hispanic immigrants as uncivilized, odd, and even less than human. The barber summed it up nicely when he said, “They’ve become the new niggers of America.”

I agreed with his wisdom, especially since he cut my hair for free. What is sadly true in America is that our nation’s reaction to those who are different from our selves is one that is laced with fear, snobbery and malevolent intent. That is the foundation of the new immigration law in Arizona.

By now making it legal to racially profile black and brown people, the state of Arizona has continued its quest to be officially known as the most racist state in America. They are the same state that for years refused to acknowledge Martin Luther King’s birthday as a national holiday, they systemically violate human rights of prison inmates, Arizona State University insulted Barack Obama by failing to offer him an honorary degree when he became president of the United States, and Arizona government is now going to require the president to prove his citizenship before running for office in 2012. Therefore, the outrageous legislation on immigration reform is right on time from a state that has proven itself to be increasingly obtuse in its thinking.

With that said, let’s talk honestly about the immigration mess in America. The decision of a relatively racist state to do something that is probably illegal and clearly unethical does not imply that there may not be a reasonable explanation for their overreaction. Phoenix, Arizona has become the kidnapping capital of the world, with more kidnapping incidents than any place on earth, other than Mexico City. Much of this violence is related to drug cartels and illegal immigration. That’s one of the reasons that over 70 percent of the people in Arizona support this legislation. By failing to protect our borders, the United States government has put states in a position where they have no choice but to protect themselves. Those states having the least concern about being politically correct are going to do whatever is necessary to fix the problem. (Continue Reading @ The Grio)

Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter
  • Growing up in San Antonio, Texas and befriending many Hispanics, I was quick to jump into this fight. However, knowing my Black history makes me want to fight harder. It’s odd that some Black people cannot see the connection. To be pulled over because you look a certain way is ridiculous even if you are an American. If you’re just on a Sunday evening drive and get stopped and can’t explain where you’re coming from and where you’re going, that somehow makes you suspicious as a Black man. Does that (or did that) not make you upset or angry? You’re an innocent person, he maybe even let you go, but you question why you had to be stopped in the first place. Why does something like that have to happen in a country like this?

    I look at many migrant workers in my city and think about how, if this was enacted in Texas, they would have to carry around their visas. I know we want to find ways to find illegal immigrants (which by the way, isn’t limited to Mexicans only) but this is totally misguided. I hope that many Black people in Arizona can rally the troops for this cause. We’ve seen it before with our own people and we know we can overcome it. It’s time we come together.

  • lexi

    Being raised by a mother who identified as black and having a father who gave me a nice chunk of Latino heritage I am a bit torn about this issue. Growing up and going to a Latino hair salon, you would hear talk about black people that at times made the KKK look like angels, Afro-Latino children are told to identify as only Latino even though some of them look pure African. The only exception is if being black is going to get you some scholarship money. There is a running joke in New York, if you want to start a fight with a Dominican girl call her black. This bill just might be a bit of karma.
    Not to mention that illegal immigration is the issue and not all illegal immigrants come from Latin America. Plus, with the border drug war spilling over; as horrible as this sounds it makes more than a little bit of sense.
    However, racism in any form is WRONG!