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In Which I Am Ashamed to be an American

April 23, 2010

Image via VivrLatino

The Governor of Arizona is about to sign into law a bill that legalizes–and indeed, mandates–ethno/racial profiling of people who “look” like undocumented immigrants.  President Obama has finally managed to say something about how awful this is, but it doesn’t look like this will do any good at the moment.  Meanwhile, proponents of the law maintain that it’s not at all a case of (further) institutionalizing racism by suggesting that highly trained police officers can in fact see illegalness on people:

They will look at the kind of dress you wear, there’s different type of attire, there’s different type of …right down to the shoes, right down to the clothes.

I could comment on how absurd this suggestion is, but frankly, I’m not sure that there’s a point, since this is one of the most transparently racist claims I’ve encountered by a public official in recent memory.  As I (and many others) have written before, there are serious problems with the way the United States views people who are within its borders without the proper documentation; this is only the most recent and terrible manifestation of those problems.  There’s much more to be said here, but I won’t do a better job than the folks at VivrLatino, whose coverage of this issue (and how you can get involved in the movement against the bill) I encourage you to go read as soon as you can.

UPDATE: Elle at elle, PhD also has a good post linking this current legislation with other historical attempts to legalize/legitimize/encourage racial profiling and harassment.

UPDATE 2: It’s a done deal.


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