Saturday, May 01, 2010

9500 Liberty comes to Arizona

Unfortunately, the theater was almost empty when I saw it at Gateway Pavilions today. The film shows that many people supporting anti-immigrant legislation are indeed motivated by racism, and that the economic impact of this sort of legislation can be devastating. Everyone who thinks that SB 1070 and bills like it are a good idea should watch this film. I have a link to the youtube video of it here.


Anonymous said...

If the motivations of an unpleasant minority alone were to justify not passing a bill, health care reform would be dead in the water. I guarantee that for pretty much any bill of consequence one wants to pass, you can find some jackasses supporting it for the wrong reasons.

As for the economic impact, not only is that debatable (again, shades of the health care debate here), but economic considerations are not the end-all, be-all of policy concerns. It's why some states and towns ban gambling.

Anonymous said...

Calling people racists has lost its firepower. If you want to regain the power of the word, name names, and debate those named. Instead its all third-hand accusations of people not involved with writing the legislation.

M. C. Evers said...

(Part I)

Sorry it took me so long to get a response, but I wanted to take some time to think about how I wanted to put this.

The issue of sweeping generalizations by those on the hardline side of any issue is something that very, VERY deeply bothers me. I even started my own blog because I saw that tactic used against Christians time and time again: people who opposed religion using the most embarrassing specimens of extremist behavior, or the most embarrassing misconceptions to try and invalidate the entire idea of Christianity. Heck, I've even been told by some atheists that people such as myself (who are moderate) simply CANNOT exist, that either we are deluding ourselves or are so insignificant as to not matter (implication being that I am only moderate in spite of being Christian, rather than from a sound faith that is indeed based on the Word of God).

The reason I say all of that is because with all due respect, I feel that you are using the very same tactic here against those who want immigration laws passed, in order to marginalize those who hold a different opinion. I see no acknowledgment in your post of the idea that perhaps people's concerns could come from something else.

What I specifically take issue with is the nebulous and unqualified description of "many," which can be taken, whether you intended it or not, to suggest that a large number or even a majority want immigration legislation because they are racists. This is the same sort of tactic, as I said, that I have seen used against Christians in an attempt to humiliate them and shut down the debate.

Based on what I have seen of you, on your blog, I do not believe you would deliberately do such a thing. I do, however, think that you may be letting the emotion from your prior post on the immigration topic affect the way you are communicating, and you risk driving people away instead of engaging them in substantive debate.

M. C. Evers said...

(Part II)

Consider, for instance, the stance that I have already voiced: I think that something had to be done...I just think this particular piece of legislation has a problem with it. I do not feel the need to brand anyone who wrote that legislation as racist--I simply believe that they did not think through the implications of the way they worded it, and the burden they would be placing upon law enforcement officers by giving them a piece of legislation with such flawed guidance. The simple solution would be to simply ask everyone for proof of evidence if there was reasonable suspicion of another illegal treat it the same as asking for license, registration, and insurance if you are involved in a car accident. Everyone who is involved in a wreck is asked these things; it can't be argued this is an undue burden on the police to do it.

If someone could not provide proof of residence, there are many ways that could be handled from there, since anyone who left their identification at home would potentially incur extra scrutiny--but at least the way of arriving at that point would be legitimate. (I would THINK there would have to be some way of verifying who someone is even if they left their driver's license at home. Of course, if they left their green card, that would be a different situation since the law states it must be on your person any time you go out, but I would think there'd be a way to check to find out whether the offense is leaving the green card, or actually being illegal.)

I do not think the fact that I want to see illegal immigration should EVER be taken by anyone to suggest that I must be a racist. I mean, good Lord...I spent 8 years studying Spanish. I respect the language and the culture. What I want is simple...for people entering this country to obey the law. If there are problems with the way LEGAL immigration is working, fine--fix that system concurrently with tightening up on the illegal kind. But for my support of some kind of border control should never, EVER be construed as racism.

Again, I know you didn't mean it against me personally, and I suspect you may have written what you did in the heat of the moment. Most of the time when you blog I agree with you or at least understand where you're coming from. But this time, I just think it was poorly chosen and is the sort of rhetoric that shuts down debate rather than going anywhere productive.

Victor Reppert said...

MC: Racism exists in many forms, and some of it is subtle. I grew up in a school where kids did the "eeny meeny miney moe" with "catch a n***** by the toe."
And that was in Phoenix, Arizona.
I suspect most of us outgrew our prejudice once we began interacting with African-Americans.

I do object strongly to the suggestion I saw on one site, that any complaining against "racism" is nothing more than evidence of liberalism. Blacks and other minorities have not achieved racial equality in America, even after Obama was elected.

If you have an influx of lower-class Hispanics who act like lower-class Hispanics, this generates resentment on the part of middle-class whites. There are people who would like to see such people "go back where they came from" whether they are illegal or not. That was what the movie showed. It showed a presumption that people who act like lower-class Hispanics are here illegally, with insufficient evidence for thinking that way.

There are legitimate concerns, related to the rule of law, or to threats to American jobs, etc., that would motivate legislation like 1070. There is also the desire to ethnically cleanse our communities. Of course, we wouldn't describe it like that, and would not express it blatantly, but that doesn't mean we are free of this kind of motivation.

M. C. Evers said...

The problem I continue to have with your rhetoric is that it still makes it seems as though that the majority or even a sizable portion--a lot more than a fringe--harbor such racist attitudes and use them as their excuse for such legislation, and that the legitimate concerns are of secondary importance. And if we hold that it is wrong to generalize towards large demographic groups, that should be wrong to do towards any large demographic group. Like I said, for me, it's rule of law. I want people to follow proper procedure, and for those who want to break it to be prevented from doing so. Period. And that's why I think this law should be tweaked so that everyone is subject to it every time.

We run the risk of inviting another expression of racism into our society. I do NOT say "reverse racism" because the reverse of racism is acceptance, not a change in targets...the dictionary does not specify who does it to who.

This is why I have a serious problem with is people assuming that taking legitimate political positions must be a racist stance. Racism is not a conservative thing. It is not a liberal thing. And I have a problem with it when people act as though it's restricted to one side of the aisle or the other. Just as you took umbrage at the suggestion that complaining about racism must mean liberalism--which if it was generalized that way wherever you read it, is wrong--I have a problem with people assuming that conservative ideology can only arise from racism or that a large portion of conservatives are that way.

I DO believe people use racism accusations to shut down debates or to sink people they don't like. And what makes it particularly horrible is that it takes away from keeping the public's eye on true instances of racism. It diverts attention and it saps the public of its commitment to make things better.

Maybe in your growing up, you experienced that variety of racism, and only that variety, but you cannot infer that experience onto mine. MY growing-up is one of racism cutting both directions. I have seen white-on-black discrimination and in my previous job had to take a customer to the proverbial woodshed for saying some very ugly things towards one of our employees--I was FURIOUS! In that same job I also had a customer attack me in a very public and humiliating manner because of the color of my skin. And from that I KNOW what it is to be accused, to not be taken seriously, and to feel that hurt. It was the only time that a customer ever made me's a very painful, vulnerable feeling, one that makes you feel about two inches tall and very alone.

Taking that as an excuse to hate, though, would be wrong. Rather, it gives me empathy and it makes me see JUST how deep the problem in this country really runs. Because of what happened, I can truly imagine what it would be like to experience that in anyone else's shoes. I actually think that when it comes to racism in America, most people stop at the surface and fail to recognize just how much we are suffering--we do not recognize how we are sharing in that suffering. Jointly and severally we are being hurt by it.

As far as I am concerned, NO ONE has achieved equality in America. If you look at economic status, you will see one thing--and that is the level you stop at. However, if you look at our spiritual health, the entire country--the full demographic spread--is deeply wounded. Each person in this country, in someone else's eyes, is subject to being mistreated on basis of some uncontrollable characteristic, and until we really do learn to look at each other as individuals, then we are not going to make any sort of progress.

Sorry for going on so long...but I am very passionate about wanting things to get better, and when I see things that I think might get in the way of that, it bothers me. :-(