What in the Sam Hill Is Wrong with Arizona?

arizona kkkLet’s start out by saying that Arizona’s new anti-immigrant law is unconstitutional and cannot stand in any reasonable society. The worst in the nation, the law allows police to stop anyone suspected of being undocumented, and demand proof of citizenship. Those unable to produce documents showing they are “legal” can be arrested, fined $2,500 and locked up for up to 6 months. The law makes it a crime under state law to be in the U.S. illegally, whatever illegal means.

It is a wretched and regressive piece of legislation, to be sure, in a state that will become majority of color in ten to fifteen years, and in a nation that is browning by the day. After all, the reality that a majority of the babies born in this nation will soon be of a darker hue unsettles some people.

No doubt, Gov. Jan Brewer has scored some points among the shrinking base that remains the party faithful, not to mention the anti-immigrant hate groups such as the nativist Minutemen that harass and beat “suspected” immigrants, a.k.a. Latinos. Just looking at it from a purely common sense point of view, it is utter political suicide to spit in the face of a soon-to-be majority of your state, in order to garner the support of an increasingly unhinged, extremist base. And yet, apparently this is what it takes to shine in the GOP these days.

The governor has assured us that there will be no racial profiling permitted under this law. That assertion is utter foolishness. This law is nothing more and nothing less than an expression of hate, a codification of xenophobia and the legalization of racial profiling. Taking it a step further, this is the criminalization of Latinos and presumed Latinos. To take the racial profiling out of a racial profiling law is to accomplish the impossible. That’s like trying to take the racial profiling out of the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, or extract the “unequal” from Jim Crow laws. That’s the whole point of it, after all. You can’t have it both ways when you dabble in racist policies. Someone, apparently a supporter of the new law, decorated the Arizona capitol steps with a swastika made of refried beans. And South Carolina’s lieutenant governor blamed a lazy workforce for allowing illegal immigrants to thrive in his state. That is what you’d expect in this environment. This is what we’re dealing here.

I don’t know what it is exactly about Arizona, but I do know that the state needs to be boycotted like a Montgomery bus. That state must realize that you cannot treat any group of people as lesser than the rest, nor can you disrespect the country’s largest minority group and expect to emerge unscathed. There must be a price to pay this time, and what better place to start than with the Arizona economy? When an Arizona lawmaker wants to boycott his own state, you know how bad it is.

I had to google my brain to retrieve some information on another controversial, racially-tinged episode in Arizona political history. I came up with the 1980s and the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday. In 1987, then-newly elected Arizona Governor Evan Mecham – who defended his use of the term “pickaninnies” for blacks – rescinded the King holiday in Arizona. John McCain, who himself had voted against the holiday in 1983, defended the governor’s decision to rescind the holiday on the grounds that it was an imposition on states’ rights. Not unlike today with his support of the horrid immigration law, McCain was dabbling in racial politics and shoring up his mavericky rightwing bonafides.


I wonder what Dr. King would have said about Arizona’s racial profiling law. Certainly, he would have called it an unjust law, one which is “out of harmony with the moral law,” and “degrades human personality”. As King articulated inLetter from Birmingham Jail, “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’”

And indeed, the Arizona law is an unjust law not even worth the paper on which it was written. Certainly, this is not the first anti-immigration law, and sadly it likely won’t be the last, in this nation with a long history of thriving on both immigrants and jingoism. But we must not participate in the madness, and we must not let the promulgators of such junk think they can get away with it.

David A. Love

This article first appeared in The Black Commentator and is republished with permission.


  1. lou says

    hahahahahaaa- let us (sorry) call a spade a spade. These gringos are afraid of us ethnics, or latinos, or hispanics, or outsiders, the
    darkies from el sur, be it guatemala or zacatecas or greece or ghana. America is scared. and of course all the outsiders get pissed off and start to march…well. latinos LOVE a parade and a fiesta…we may have been complacent in the 20’s and 30’s, but a change started after Sleepy Lagoon-then Chavez came along, and the panthers and Dr King (remember the reception HE got in LA-he was called a rabblerouser and commie and asked to leave…and we know who did the askin’ too.
    maybe AZ has lit a fuse for america to again explode-not with violence, but with dissatisfaction and with a demand for change…
    the more draconian the law, the stronger the response will be from we of the “other” persuasion.maybe we NEED this law to start a cure.

    california, arizona, new mexico, texas-under the heel of the king-
    appointed governors, “back in the day” welcomed everyone with open arms, unless, of course, one was a heretic (inquisition never took off here, too bad.)mexico needed people then. then the war came, and
    when the polk war was settled, the treaty of guadalupe-hidalgo GUARANTEEEED equal rights to all, and, to enforce the concept, that treaty was written in both spanish AND english side by side.
    the era of equality, of course, was short lived as greed and los gab
    achos figured out legal methods to reallocate the lands deeded by the kings…and to dispossess them pesky rancheros.well. ain’t been a treaty yet the American government ain’t broke with the people on this land.
    arizona is one of our more overtly racist neighborhoods, (i dont like dining in flagstaff or page or williams when i drive thru, and have taken to packing my own food and eating in CA, then in NM where the Navajo say naught, they don’t care for ANY of us)

    but their open hostility seems a slight contrast to the attitudes of most of the
    rest of our nation.
    i am a latino who feels unwelcome in LA or Philly or Lauderdale or
    Las Vegas, SF, or NYC’s “white” or “black” areas…
    i thought it was just me till i started sharing my feelings with other americans.
    we pay lip service to american ideals, even have a dark face in the white house…but we live in fear and mistrust and trepidation when we have to share space with each other.
    what have we become, and are we teaching this to our kids???
    my middle-school kids tease each other-and live and play together. and in hi school that begins to disintegrate(sorry) and by the time i get to the college, i see adults who studiously (sorry) ignore each other…andthen i see their families-a blend of all colors…i don’t get it. When i ask, iam told “WE know each other. strangers put us off!!”
    we live in fear of each other. what have we become??? how do we change?? one on one we are generous and kind…in groups, we become the torch lit mobs chasing monsters…and we don’t see the monsters are us.
    thank you for lighting up a dark day.

    • SK says

      Nonsense. People who support this law, or “these gringos,” as you insultingly call them, are against illegal immigration from any country. Of course racism exists, but the impetus behind deporting illegal aliens who also commit other crimes is to reduce the financial impact on American workers and taxpayers. Arizona has borne the brunt of the cost of illegal aliens for too long. Now they’ve taken the step to force the federal government to responsibly deal with criminals who are also illegal aliens by codifying already existing federal law.

      In reality, our country prioritizes Mexicans over all other potential immigrants, which actually reflects a pro-Hispanic bias, not a fear of Latinos.

  2. Brian Knowles says

    Arizona has voted to enforce laws written by FDR administration. The constitution was written to define society in the United States, and it’s extension to illegal aliens seems like a pretty dubious extension of the law, to me.


    • Marshall says

      Knowles has it right. The Arizona law uses the same words as the federal law. Their pre-perceptions cause the “henney pennies” of the world to want a weapon to beat those which with they disagree over the head. This is it. Unlike Europe, where a policeman can just ask for your papers, the person must first break at least a small law so that the policeman can ask questions. If you have no papers, can not converse with the policeman, he may then question if you are here illegally. If I rum a stop sign, they can ask for my papers, no one is allowed to drive without papers.

      As for Winslow, go to his site, he has written four million words on his idea to annex Mexico and still lacks details. The only good part is on the south Mexico boarder, a wall could be built 100 feet deep and 100 feet high to keep the south Americans from sneaking accross the new southern US boarder.

      As for Love, he recycles his frozen perceptions over and over again.

  3. says

    Yes, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights are the greatest protection for the individual ever devised. Too bad, whether the Arizona “papers please” law proves constitutional or not, both the Republicans and Democrats need to realize that the 2K-mi. U.S.-Mexico border is unsealable, hence locking Mexicans up after they cross the border only to release them and watch them return is just an expensive merry-go-round. Instead of wasting time on all the little mice, it’s time both parties woke up and noticed the elephant, the ever-corrupt Mexican govt. that created the conditions causing them to cross the border in the first place despite all obstacles, and work to dissolve it, expanding the coverage of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights to the oceans, where the border can finally be effectively controlled. Learn about the Megamerge Dissolution Solution at http://go.to/megamerge

    • SK says

      Megamerge is a silly idea. The illegal alien problem is actually caused and exacerbated by agreements with Mexico like NAFTA that allow the rich to benefit off the backs of the poor in Mexico and the middle class in America. Poor and uneducated Mexican Catholics will continue to overpopulate any area they live in, and instead of having to pay for the health care costs of just those who come across the border, we’d be responsible for all of Mexico’s poor. Not that there’s anything wrong with helping those less fortunate than ourselves, but creating one country would force US taxpayers to carry a burden we can’t afford.

      Megamerge, if it could even be done, would result in American workers getting paid less and being taxed more. It would be a step toward forcing our country into economic third world status.

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