I'm talking about the Arizona immigration law, SB 1070, signed by Gov. Jan Brewer.
The law is the strictest immigration law in the country, and even before it was signed into law, the proposal received heat from critics about its potential impacts. According the The New York Times:
The law, which proponents and critics alike said was the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Opponents have called it an open invitation for harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship status.
Well, in further news about why Arizona fails, read here (Arizona legislators try to pass bill that says Obama must prove citizenship), here (Arizona grades experienced teachers on fluency), and here (legislators take issue with ethnic studies programs). Feel free to debate these topics thoughtfully and carefully in comments. I'll be moderating the thread pretty closely.
I have had people debate with me about whether or not this law and its implications are racist. They have all been debates with white people. For example, on May 1 I posted a status on my Facebook account that read: "Do I look 'illegal'?" and quickly I had a white friend of mine respond. I debated with him for a time, and eventually he said, "Also, as cliche as this may be... STEREOTYPES EXIST FOR A REASON!"
To put it briefly, it was his justification for racial profiling. And it disgusted me. He has always held problematic, racist beliefs, but generally he keeps them to himself. It was as if he took this status of mine as an opportunity to let loose all of his hatred.
For this reason, the Arizona law, at the very least, is prompting racist individuals to be loud and proud about their bigotry in a new, heightened manner. As an Hispanic American (born in the states) whose father was born in Mexico, and an individual who is deeply against racism directed at any people, this disturbs me deeply. Go ahead and argue the legality of the law. What can't be denied is that this has prompted a fresh wave of attacks against a group of people based on their legal status as related to their skin color.
And that's called racism.
EDIT 4:17 pm, 5/4/10: via Feministing, "The Far-Right Movement Behind Arizona Copycat Bills"
EDIT 5/5/10: I'm going to put a trigger warning in effect for the comments. I had moderation off and some got through before I was able to get back at my computer. They will stay up because people have responded to them.