26 April, 2010@5:31 pm
If you haven’t been following the actual news lately, the state of Arizona just passed a World War II era anti-immigration law that allows police to stop people of Hispanic origin at any time and for any reason, and demand to see their “papers”. This is what Ann Coulter would refer to as “the description of a suspect”, and what the rational mind sees as “racial profiling”. Public Enemy’s Chuck D recently opened up and spoke on the issue, in an article on The Huffington Post. He writes:
The Arizona immigration bill — which Governor Jan Brewer has decided to sign into law — is racist, deceitful, and reflects some of the most mean-spirited politics against immigrants that the country has ever seen. The power that this law gives to police to detain people that they suspect to be undocumented brings racial profiling to a new low. Brewer’s actions and those of Joe Arpaio, Russell Pearce, the Arizona State Senate are despicable, inexcusable, and endorse the all-out hate campaign that Joe Arpaio, Russell Pearce, and others have perpetrated upon immigrants for years. The people of Arizona who voted for this bill, as well as those who crafted it, demonstrate no regard for the humanity or contributions of Latino people. And for all of those who have chosen not to speak up, shame on you for silently endorsing this legislated hate.
In 1991 Public Enemy wrote a song criticizing Arizona officials (including John McCain and Fife Symington) for rejecting the federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The same politics written about in “By the Time I Get to Arizona” are alive and well in Arizona today, but this time the target is Brown people.
These actions must stop. We are issuing a call to action, urging fellow musicians, artists, athletes, performers, academics and production companies to refuse to work in Arizona until officials not only overturn this bill, but recognize the human rights of immigrants. This should include the NBA playoffs, revisiting the actions of the NFL in 1993, when they moved the Superbowl to Pasadena in protest against Arizona’s refusal to recognize Dr. King. We all need to speak up in defense of our brothers and sisters being victimized in Arizona, because things are only getting worse. What they’re doing to immigrants is appalling, but it will be even more damning if we remain silent.
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