I’ve been discussing and re-reading my previous post, and realize that I may have left people with the wrong impression of my opinion. So here, in a more reasoned, and calm voice, let me clarify:
- I did not mean to imply that I believed that all white Arizonans are racists. I know many white Arizonans reviled the law and spoke out loudly against it. What I did mean to say was that the supporters of the law are inordinately going to be those who do not feel the burden that it introduces, those who look, nominally, “American”, and therefore while I don’t believe that almost all white Arizonans supported the law, I do assume that almost every Arizonan who supported the law was white.
- I did not mean to presume that I could ascribe motivations to everybody who supports the law – I don’t know them, they don’t know me. However, I do believe that regardless of motivations, support for that law is a prejudiced act. N.B. I am not saying that, a priori, all immigration reform law is prejudiced, just that supporting a law that places on people of dark skin the burden of proving their right to be where they are in a way that no segment of a free society should be is prejudiced.
- Despite not claiming to know all their motivations, based on the public statements of supporters of the law, I feel confident making these claims about their motivations as a group: a.) some percentage of them are openly racist (probably a small number), b.) some percentage of them are implicitly racist (people who think “looking American”, means looking white – probably a larger number), c.) some percentage of them are so removed from being a minority that they don’t realize the burden this puts on people not like them (probably a larger number), and d.) some percentage of them are other. It’s possible there is some “other” category for whom it will make no difference, but for those other lines of reasoning, I believe exposure to the minorities they are hurting can help them get past their wrong-headedness. Unfortunately, AZ Senate 1070 will have the opposite effect (which will delight people people in groups (a) and (b)) because the natural inclination of anybody exposed to this level of hostility will be to avoid it. There is a reason I included the quote from Kris Kobach at the beginning of my post – the important words he didn’t mention are “guilty” or “illegal”. The reality is that if you ratchet up the enforcement on anybody, including the innocent, they will leave. The fact that this law increases enforcement against those who are here legally but who look different doesn’t seem to bother him or other proponents of the law, and so they clearly have no problem with the result that they are driving away law-abiding brown people. I think anybody who thinks that’s okay should be inundated with law abiding brown people. I think that people so far removed from seeing that brown Americans get no worse treatment than any other Americans should maybe meet a few brown Americans.
So in conclusion – brown people, flock to Arizona – don’t flock away. The people there who have no prejudice against you won’t mind. We can only hope that the people there who do will have a little less.