For the last couple of years or so I have been readying myself for a long adventurous motorbike ride through the US southwest.
I got the idea a few years ago when I drove across the US from New York via Arizona and up through Nevada to Oregon.
Arizona captured my riding imagination. I wanted to escape the cage (car) and ride free through what is one of the most beautiful states in the US.
I have fond memories of long stretches of road and hot sands that bathe majestic cacti alongside the greatest Canyon this side of the Fish River Canyon in Namibia.
Sadly, I will have to scratch Arizona off my riding plans for June/July this year.
You see Arizona has just passed a law called the "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Act" (SB1070).
Ostensibly this law allows the police to stop and arrest anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant.
Day workers are particularly singled out making it a crime to look for work on the streets.
Bullsh*t aside, this law means brown folk who look Mexican/'Hispanic' and, of course, Muslim will be racially profiled.
Defenders on the right will be quick to point out that this law is not aimed at legal citizens of any color.
Anyone even remotely familiar with race politics in the US knows that this law is not seeking to root our illegal immigrants from Canada or France for that matter.
White folk need not stress. Ride Arizona all you want.
This law is aimed at brown folk. They even built a wall between Arizona and Mexico to keep out brown folk.
If this law reminds you of the Influx Control laws of apartheid then you are on the right track.
Remember the "Pass Laws"?
Black folk were terrorized to prove their belonging at a drop of a suspicious hat.
Influx control was oppressive and not aimed at 'safety and order'. That pretense under apartheid was not even postured.
In Arizona and now Utah too, the pretense of 'safety and order' is meant to dispel the real suspicion that the law is about white safety (privilege) and white order (and all that this implies).
These same impulses were directed at Japanese/Asian-Americans after Pearl Harbor. Japanese Americans, many of them US citizens, were rounded up, stripped of their assets, and put into what amounted to nothing more than concentration camps.
These law abiding folk were dehumanized!
Where will it all end?
Will President Obama step in and have his party propose federal legislation that would declare the Arizona law null and void?
Will other right-minded Americans recall the manner that the Nazis forced Jews to wear the Star of David as part of their 'safety and order campaigns?
I am still gonna ride the US this summer. But I will give Arizona, and most of the states south of the Mason Dixon line, a big miss.
It will be safer for my brown Muslim ass.
See my good friend Dade Cariaga's excellent post on the subject entitled "No enemies on the Right".
See also Terrorizing Immigrants by Stephen Lendman; Arizona the Hate State by Mary Shaw and; Rise in Unity to Resist Arizona’s Racist Law! by Dennis Rahkonen.
Route 66 Image Credit
Whites Only Image Credit