Arizona Wannabes

I remember a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to write my fury about Arizona banning ethnic studies from its classrooms. I thought about writing how institutionalized racism has become, how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, life and activism has become perverted to fits some diversity-colorblindness thing. And really, how sad I am about this.

Until. This.

To me what’s depressing is not only do people agree with Arizona’s xenophobic, nativist legislators, but the people that agree have influenced or are the people who run shit.

In times of economic crisis and turmoil, I wonder why the spotlight of hate has it in for immigrants. Why not Wall Street bankers who are still reaping bonuses from when they delivered the American economy to collapse? Why not corporation CEOs that continue to wreak havoc on our environment in the name of ‘green’ capitalism? Why not the governors who consistently ignore the protests against cuts that are slashing young people’s rights to education?

Trying to make sense of this mess means I’m thinking more and more about why this rise in xenophobia remains silent, lurking and deadly.

Like a guy that follows you in the dark and everyone can see him but no one gives you a heads up. (Rude!) I digress.

I think at a certain point these copycat legislation and Arizona wannabes are kept quiet because immigrants may be considered a new “Other,” an unrelatable population, people that the broader public really can’t have an affinity with. I wonder how this came about, what has brought immigrants to this place of un-relatability? So much so, that folks wanna expel them from this avowed “country of immigrants”?

Ok, that’s for the Right in this country. But the left, progressive, social justice folks may also have a hand in this. The immigrant issue is silenced because I think we have a weak analysis of framing it in terms of race and racism. Maybe we don’t want to call it that on national news reports, or write editorials calling it what it is. But why? The institutionalization of immigrant discrimination is only a new modulation of racial segregation, as immigration date becomes the new way in which human worth and value is measured. Instead of measuring blood, we are measuring citizenship. And we should all lambast this as today’s version of racism, and it should be on the television everyday, and people should be furious about it. But why aren’t we doing it?

Maybe the immigrants should turn to the birds too.

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