I am amazed about how much people are really taking to the issue with Arizona and Senate Bill (SB) 1070. By no means did I come up with the “Do I Look Illegal” tag line nor did I come up with the idea of the picture. I would like to think that I did help spread awareness that racism and it’s laws do exist. So, when May 1st came around I took the above picture which I now have on my Facebook and Twitter profiles. This was my way to show people that we cannot just let things like this happen without a response.
There have been several people that I know who have taken the time to take pictures and create videos about this. One thing that strikes me is the sheer diversity of the pictures. There are people who are as white as can be along with Black and Latino who are joining in on this silent of protests. I will not fail to mention the pictures of children as well.
I used to think that immigration was not my issue. After all, I am a 3rd generation Latino and none of my family deal with issues quite like this. I can also say there was a time in which I thought immigration was more an issue for Mexicans who cross the border or Cubans who try to sneak into this country via boat. But of course in my ignorance of early age, I never thought about this as a Latino issue. I think back to my past and I did not know any illegals. Of course, it wasn’t until recently that an old friend told me that he had been illegal for years.
Clearly there has been a growing sentiment on closing our boarders and curbing the amount of undocumented people in this country. In one hand you have politicians who want to regulate and round up illegals and in the other who some who are try to force Puerto Rico to make a choice about statehood. Where is this all coming from? Clearly it all comes down to the all mighty dollar. Latinos generate money and we can have our own economy if we continue down the road of success. What undocumented people do is work the jobs that none of us would ever want to do. Lets be honest, fruits and vegetables would not nearly be as a affordable if “normal” Americans were picking them. In the case of Puerto Rico, that could be a whole other state that could be paying taxes and adding to the amount that government can use.
For years, we all talked about the idea of “driving while black”. I would joke with my friends and colleagues that I had to be careful of a DWB. I think now this acronym can really stick by changing black to brown. I have had another friend state on my Facebook that the police can not stop anyone without probable cause because if not, that would be a violation of the 4th Amendment. For those who did not study what this is:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
I get that if you know this law then maybe you can protect yourself from being unlawfully stopped by the police in Arizona or anywhere for that matter. But really, all it take is for them to say that your vehicle matches the description of another that they are looking for. In most cases, that is probable cause enough to stop anyone. More importantly what this law does is scare people. How comfortable can any Latino be driving around Phoenix or any other city in Arizona. Let’s not mention those who are perceived to be Mexican, like darker Italians or Native Americans. Almost reminds me of how the TSA is looking for “people of suspicion” in airports.
So when I think about those idiots who have told me that racism does not exist or that not everything is about race, it is time to re-examine your view on life. The people who make racist laws do not have to be racist. Institutional Racism is a system of oppression that was made by those whom had the best of intentions in mind.
2 thoughts on “Do I Look Illegal?”
The immigration issue is not only a Latino issue but an issue that is a part of the whole immmigration population. Unfortunately, we all know that in Arizona the issue is toward the Latino population. It just so happens that my mother was recently visiting friends in D.R. and upon return she (Puerto Rican)was detained for a period of time and was even told that she didn't sound Puerto Rican. I myself have been asked many times if I was Mexican. This is exactly why, the Arizona bill(other state are considering the same or similar bills) is of concern to all of us.
I agree. I think that many of us are just not educated on what all this means. Undocumented people are viewed as pariahs in this country.