Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Rounding Up the Illegal (European) Immigrants

Cops: Racial Profiling Edition.

The provocateurs at Joshonthestreet.com created this mockumentary to arrest illegal immigrants, in what looks like a suburban shopping mall somewhere in southern Cali. Props to these folks, and let’s hope the satire goes viral.

What do you think? Send all the Europeans, who are here illegally, back to their native land?

Filed under: history, immigration, social justice, , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , ,

Police Drop Charges Against Gates

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Latest news: Cambridge police are dropping the charges against African American scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. for “disorderly conduct” after breaking in to his own home.

No doubt more analysis and articles about the repercussions of this event–racial profiling? lackadaisical police training?–will follow.

Filed under: boston, racism, , ,

Racial Profiling in Cambridge

Harvard Scholar DisorderlyYou want to believe it doesn’t happen. You want to believe that it would happen to anyone, regardless of race. You hope it’s just an honest mistake.

Last Thursday, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested outside his own home in Cambridge. A neighbor called police after witnessing “two black males with backpacks on the porch,” with one “wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry.”

Clearly, this could have happened to anyone. A person forgets his keys, climbs in through a back window. It would be neighborly and helpful for a neighbor to call the authorities to check it out.

What is troubling about this case is the extent to which the Cambridge Police officers continued their line of questioning. Once Gates produced his Harvard identification and driver’s license, the officer continued to question him. To a reasonable citizen, proof of identity–much less residence status–would be enough to back off.

Makes you go hmmm.

Filed under: boston, racism, , , , ,

Writing

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

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