Burroughs Adding Machine

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Want to Teach in Arizona? Better Lose the Accent

Joshua Lott for The Wall Street Journal

Okay, trying not to rant about this one. Deep breaths. The craziness in Arizona is isolated, I tell myself, and will be overturned.

The Wall Street Journal reports that teachers with “heavy” or “ungrammatical” accents must learn proper English–or be fired. Arizona’s racist new law discriminates against public school teachers. Outraged yet? Don’t worry: Those with accents will not be fired immediately. They have the option of enrolling in classes to “improve” (i.e. lose their native) accents.

Makes me wonder if this only applies to bilingual Spanish-English speakers, or if the law discriminates equally against those with Southern or Brooklyn accents.

Not only do these teachers need to lose their accents to keep their jobs, they must also face the irony that they were part of a movement to hire more bilingual teachers in the 1990’s, when No Child Left Behind laws required the recruitment of these teachers to secure federal funding.

Irony, and ridiculousness. I am a U.S. citizen. Makes me want to walk the streets of Phoenix or Tucson without my driver’s license. Will I fear police detainment? Legalized harassment?

Still hard for me to believe that the state of Arizona has enacted such shameful, hateful, extremely odious legislation.

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Filed under: immigration, racism, , , , , ,

Racial Profiling is Now Legal in Arizona

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This afternoon, Arizona’s discriminatory anti-immigration law was made official by Republican Governor Jan Brewer. This, even though President Obama condemned the bill, directing the Justice Department to investigate the legality of the legislation. Arizona’s odious new law, of course, allows police to stop and to question anyone if there is reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal immigrant.

Shameful, discriminatory, odious.

It’s reported that Republican Governor Brewer has a tough election race this year, and with polls revealing 70% of the state supports the discriminatory law, her signature was expected. Let’s hope that Arizona citizens don’t find themselves indiscriminately pulled over for “driving while brown.”

Yesterday, Anderson Cooper asked Rep. Kavanaugh–one of the bill’s sponsors: “Can you tell if someone is an illegal immgrant by looking at them?”

Kavanaugh’s response: “Absolutely not.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Interesting to hear Kavanaugh skirt the question of racial profiling. Even Governor Brewer went to great lengths after signing the bill to assure her constituents that racial profiling would not happen. In both Kavanaugh’s and Brewer’s language, there seem to be preemptive arguments against the racial bias that is implicitly, if not explicitly, written into the law.

As a person of color–and one who is often mistaken as Latino instead of Filipino (and I do not think of Latinos as less than; I’m simply acknowledging the fact that Americans of Hispanic origin face extreme, unjust discrimination in border states), I’m thinking twice before visiting the great state of Arizona.

Say I’m in Phoenix. What’s to prevent a police officer from asking me for identification at a sidewalk cafe? What would be our exchange if I forgot my driver’s license (or does the law necessitate I always carry my U.S. passport)? What legal protections would I have in this situation? As a person of color, are my civil liberties–to move freely in this country without fear of harassment, or worse, imprisonment–the same as Americans of any race?

Filed under: immigration, , , , , , , ,

The Odiousness of Arizona’s Immigration Bill

Jim Wallis provides a searing indictment of Arizona’s shameful immigration bill in today’s Huffington Post. The repressive, discriminatory bill has passed both houses of the Arizona legislature and awaits the governor’s signature (she is likely to sign the bill).

Why is this law so discriminatory?

Senate Bill 1070 enables and protects police in racial profiling. The law empowers police with the ability to stop anyone whom the officer believes there is “reasonable suspicion” he or she might be an undocumented immigrant. As Wallis notes:

Those without identification papers, even if they are legal, are subject to arrest; so don’t forget your wallet on your way to work if you are Hispanic in Arizona. You can also be arrested if you are stopped and are simply with people who are undocumented — even if they are your family.

Alfredo Gutierrez, former state senator and founder and editor of La Frontera Times.com, a daily digital newspaper that advocates for undocumented immigrants and immigration reform, stated the issue more pointedly: this is a bill that goes after brown people.

During an episode of On Point yesterday, Gutierrez challenged Rep. John Kavanaugh, the prime sponsor of the Arizona bill. Kavanaugh defended the bill’s tenets, arguing that the issue of illegal immigration was one of geography–not racial profiling. The Republican lawmaker’s reasoning is that illegal immigration is strictly a problem of proximity to Mexico. Don’t worry, Kavanaugh seems to imply: people of all races will be pulled over in Arizona, whether white, black, or brown.

The simple, unfortunate truth is that this new law will legalize racial profiling. As Wallis states in his passionate article:

Arizona’s SB 1070 must be named as a social and racial sin, and should be denounced as such by people of faith and conscience across the nation. This is not just about Arizona, but about all of us, and about what kind of country we want to be. It’s time to stand up to this new strategy of “deportation by attrition,” which I heard for the first time today in Arizona. It is a policy of deliberate political cruelty, and it should be remembered that “attrition” is a term of war.

Filed under: immigration, , , , , , , , , ,

Publications

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
July 2019
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About Me

https://rsiasoco.wordpress.com/about/

About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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