Saturday, 1 May 2010

walking while brown

via a friend on facebook, i wanted to share this piece on the new immigration laws in arizona:

Many are calling this law racist and calling the people who authorized it and support it racist as well. Debates under the theme “is it racist or not” are spreading like wildfire all over the nation. Debating racist intent is a waste of time and puts the focus in the wrong place. Am I disturbed that there are racist lawmakers, political leaders, and lobbyists? Do I wish we could be rid of all racist individuals in power? Of course. However, it does not really matter if the authors and supporters of this law are racist; it doesn’t matter if their intent was racist or not. Focusing attention there is a distraction to the issue and a no-win strategy. There is no way anyone can prove that these lawmakers are racist; engaging in that debate only polarizes communities and distracts us from the real issues of concern with this law and limit our strategies to successfully intervene.

What matters most is not the intent of this law or the intentions of the lawmakers, but the impact it will have. Our focus and our attention should be on the impact. Our debates, analysis, and decisions as to whether or not to support such a law should be based on impact. When focusing here, there is no doubt in my mind that the impact of this law will be racial profiling of brown people and the violation of civil and constitutional rights. Just ask any black man about the existence of racial profiling and you will know that “driving while black” is real, meaning all a black man has to do to get pulled over by the police is drive. Now, at least in Arizona, we will have not only driving while brown but also standing while brown, nodding while brown, and walking while brown.

read the rest of the whole piece to find out why.

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