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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Apartheid comes to America

The regurgitated stench of discrimination and its putrid and vile sibling, racism, has reared its ugly head in the state of Arizona. In the twenty first century, as a black man sits in the White House, we are seeing the clear signs of fortified self-righteousness, infused with a shot of malignant ignorance. Masked as a protectionist/isolationist movement, Arizona - with its myopic and politically inept Governor, Jan Brewer - has established, again, why America's claim to greatness is questioned around the world. One small step for Arizona, one giant step for racism. What next? Tattoos identifying immigrants?

What's scary is that this bill passed through a legislative process that actually requires many hours of debate by educated and informed people. The real fear is not the bill itself, but that there can be such clear hatred and abject idiocy presented to the world in confidence. Many years ago on the Southern tip of Africa, Dutch descendants arrived and in time established one of the most powerful countries in Africa's history. They would soon resort to draconian methods to maintain their power over the indigenous population.

"With the enactment of apartheid laws in 1948, racial discrimination was institutionalized. Race laws touched every aspect of social life, including a prohibition of marriage between non-whites and whites, and the sanctioning of ``white-only'' jobs. In 1950, the Population Registration Act required that all South Africans be racially classified into one of three categories: white, black (African), or colored (of mixed decent). The coloured category included major subgroups of Indians and Asians. Classification into these categories was based on appearance, social acceptance, and descent. For example, a white person was defined as ``in appearance obviously a white person or generally accepted as a white person.'' A person could not be considered white if one of his or her parents were non-white. The determination that a person was ``obviously white'' would take into account ``his habits, education, and speech and deportment and demeanor.'' A black person would be of or accepted as a member of an African tribe or race, and a colored person is one that is not black or white. The Department of Home Affairs (a government bureau) was responsible for the classification of the citizenry. Non-compliance with the race laws were dealt with harshly. All blacks were required to carry ``pass books'' containing fingerprints, photo and information on access to non-black areas." - http://www-cs-students.stanford.edu/~cale/cs201/apartheid.hist.html

The Arizona bill gives local policemen the right to detain people that they suspect are illegal aliens and proceed to verify their legal right to be in the United States with the relevant federal bodies. CNN reports that; when asked what criteria will be used to establish reasonable suspicion of someone's legal status, Brewer (Governor) said, "I don't know. I do not know what an illegal immigrant looks like." Part of the law states, "A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, WITHOUT A WARRANT, MAY ARREST A PERSON IF THE OFFICER HAS PROBABLE CAUSE TO BELIEVE THAT THE PERSON HAS COMMITTED ANY PUBLIC OFFENSE THAT MAKES THE PERSON REMOVABLE FROM THE UNITED STATES." In essence, police now have authority to harass anyone in Arizona, that doesn't fit their mold. Speak with an accent,and you'll probably get detained. "A little too brown there my brother, yes, you too. Hey, you're Asian! You're definitely suspicious."

There is nothing more repugnant than racism when it is disguised by legalism's intelligent language and backed by force. This has been the very reason for freedom and resistance movements from time immemorial. That inner drive that causes men, who seek to feed their families, to leave their homes in search of food, has caused many to venture far beyond their lands looking for opportunity. Walls, waters, hills, deserts have not stopped them. Nothing would have been discovered in this world, no new territories explored if not for that very innate God-inspired drive that mankind was given. Apartheid did not stop millions of African men from jumping on a train (Stimela) and heading down into the dungeons of the gold and diamond mines in South Africa. They knew they were risking their dignity and their self respect, but they would rather feed their children than watch them starve. Willing to risk their very lives, they went anyway.

Historically, it has been clear that when Caucasians chose to do this, they were called explorers and pioneers. When people of other decent follow these same paths, they are aliens. The Arizona bill will require that aliens carry their registration cards at all times, as stated by CNN; "The bill requires immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there is reason to suspect that they're in the United States illegally. It also targets those who hire illegal immigrant day laborers or knowingly transport them." It is clear that myopia is a prevalent disease amongst Arizona politicians but by putting the decision in the hands of policemen who sometimes have difficulty making out the difference between citizens and criminals, we again go back to the, "Where is your passbook?" question that was the moniker of Boer policemen.

There is an irony here as aliens, make laws against other aliens. The generational claim that has been staked here is somewhat convoluted as historically, much of the land once belonged to the very people now being targeted. The natives have been placed on reservations and the descendants of colonizers now stake claim. In the movie the Matrix, agent Smith delivers a poignant monologue about the similarities between humans and a virus. There is an illegal alien problem in Arizona, but it is far from being the Southern neighbors with their brown skin, working in jobs that even released convicts will not accept. The illegal aliens are not the day laborers mowing lawns and doing construction jobs without health insurance.

The real illegal aliens who need to be shipped out and checked for their papers are the politicians who have clearly lost their connection to humanity and human values.
The ones who take isolated incidents and conjure them into a picture that fosters fear and apathy amongst the populace. There has never been any danger from south of the border. I believe fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and not Mexico. I can guarantee you that Saudi Arabia has probably not seen any reduction in its visa quotas. You see, they have oil, a lot of it and America needs it, a lot of it. The illegal aliens who need to be stopped while driving to work are riding around in government vehicles with Arizona tags, on their way to legislative meetings. Those are the ones who need to be arrested when on public or private property for MLWS, making laws while stupid. These very same aliens need to be e-verified through the racism program that sometimes uses water-boarding to confirm responses.

When one visits the Statue of liberty, there is a poem written on an inner pedestal entitled the New Colossus. In his sonnet the author Lazarus states;

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Lady Liberty has always represented what this country stands for, a place where anyone can be anything. A place where its okay to come empty, poor, down-trodden, weak and persecuted. The land of milk and honey where dreams come true. That's what America has always represented. What can't be okay is for us to sit by as we watch Apartheid and borderline Nazism take a public face and erase dreams. How can we sit and dialogue with quiet refrain as Jim Crow laws are refashioned and dressed up. What once was a land where Mother Freedom beckoned to those adrift and disenfranchised, has become the land that is willing to sit by as ethnic hatred wells up and finally, becomes law. No it's time for the illegal aliens to go, starting with Governor Brewer, "Your papers Miss!"

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