News and views from the award-winning author of the novels The Skinny Years, America Libre, House Divided and Pancho Land

Friday, May 14, 2010

Oppose SB1070 but don’t call its authors racists

Arizona's SB1070 is a despicable law. Coming on the heels of this draconian statute, the proposed ban on ethnic studies in Arizona feels like another slap in the face to most Latinos. That said, some of the protest being raised against these laws accuse their authors of being racist. I believe that’s a mistake.

I don't think the people who crafted these laws will consciously admit the emotions motivating them. For that reason, I think it is counterproductive to accuse those who drafted these bills as being racists. They will simply deny it and continue with their agenda. Name-calling will only beget more of the same.

Instead, we should be focusing on the legal issues these laws raise. While we cannot know what is in the minds of those who created these laws, we can evaluate their effects. There is little doubt SB1070 will be overturned by higher courts. Quite simply, it violates numerous federal civil rights statutes. In other words, the effect of SB1070 will be racial discrimination, regardless of the authors’ intent. That’s where our protests should be focused.

Let's unite in opposing these laws. I support a boycott of Arizona until SB1070 is repealed. But let's oppose these laws without labeling those who created them as "evil." In my mind, they are simply people afraid of an inevitable change in their world. We will do little to win them over if we brand them as bad guys. Most who support these laws are decent people doing the wrong thing out of fear. Let's resist the urge to demonize -- precisely because that is what they are doing to us.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez

1 comment:

Tracy said...

Well said Raul! It's important that we stick to the facts, and stop the name calling. It's so easy to fall into that trap, it's almost human nature to feel the need to hurt, to attack when you feel your rights are being violated, but that only escalates matters! As 'emotional' an issue as this has become, it needs to be dealt with rationally.