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The White Rose

It does not take a rocket scientist to deduce that Arizona's law profiles Latinos--the hue of their skin makes them suspect

By Rodolfo F. Acu??a
Published on LatinoLA: April 28, 2010


The White Rose


Linda Greenhouse in the New York Times (April 26, 2010), wrote "I'm glad I've already seen the Grand Canyon. Because I'm not going back to Arizona as long as it remains a police state, which is what the appalling anti-immigrant bill that Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law last week has turned it into." Greenhouse was referring to a state law that requires the police to demand proof of legal residency from any person about whom they have "reasonable suspicion" that "the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States?"

It does not take a rocket scientist to deduce that the law profiles Latinos--the hue of their skin makes them suspect. Those who know history remember the repatriation drives of the Great Depression and numerous historical events where Mexican Americans were discriminated against. The gigantic pro-immigrant marches testify to this awareness.

Representative Ra??l M. Grijalva (D-Arizona) has called on the nation's business community to protest the law by withholding its convention business. While I believe in boycotts and I respect them, I believe we should take our actions to the next level.

Arizona is an easy target ÔÇô it is a small state and small states are always singled out while states like California are ignored. Example, Latinos did not coalesce after the passage of Proposition 187 and other draconian laws targeting Latinos and minorities. Indeed, even Latino elected officials discouraged massive demonstrations fearing that they would hurt the Democratic Party.

Similarly, Texas passed a law in 1975 depriving undocumented immigrant children of a free public education. Fortunately, it was struck down in 1982 by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote. I have no illusions about the present Supreme Court's fairness. The court is composed by a core of ideologues that use the pretext of judicial restraint to deconstruct human rights.

Without a doubt a moral case can be made for a boycott of Arizona. However, time is not our ally. The summer season is already casting its sunlight over the state ÔÇô a time that much of the state goes into hibernation. I remember getting a hotel room in Phoenix half of the going rate.

So what then should people do? We cannot dismiss this blatant attack on the entire race. At the same time, our narrative must be honed. House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates, from Arizona are running scared. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Senator John McCain have joined the racist. Getting elected is more important than decency. They are not unintelligent goons such as Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio. They are scared and have decided to join the lynch mob.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney has compared the law to Nazism. This is not hyperbole. Fear of losing something especially to dark people is irrational, i.e., the anti-immigrant cabal makes millions of dollars annually by stoking this fear. What hope is there that the Democrats will do the right thing? Most elected officials care about one thing, getting elected, i.e., healthcare.

Then what are we supposed to do? Roll over? No. We have to fight. We have to get in the fascists' faces. The demonstrations have to continue but we cannot isolate Arizona. Bigotry is infectious and we should descend on Arizona with cameras, tape recorders and "White Roses" in hand, and then follow the Mexican American leadership in the state ÔÇô encouraging daily marches on racist business establishments.

The White Rose was the symbol of opposition to Adolph Hitler. Those standing up to bigotry believed that it was the duty of a citizen to stand up against an evil regime. As I said, people are afraid, and a lynch mob is not subdued by placating it or isolating it.

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