“It’s Not Racism Stupid! You Are Here Illegally!”
Ah, yes, another group in support of SB 1070.
Apparently, I am: 1. stupid for thinking the pending Arizona bill that basically allows racial profiling is a bad idea, and 2. I’m here illegally for thinking that! Alright, creator-of-group, you are on my “To Be Punched” list. Which is actually pretty short.
Let me chat at you from my perspective because that’s what blogs are here for– giving you unwanted opinions.
First of all, I’m mixed-race. I’m the child of a legal Filipino immigrant and an Irish/Italian father who was born in the USA. That makes me a legal citizen. However, it also makes me appear the way I do, which is dark-skinned with dark hair and dark eyes. To the untrained eye*, I look Hispanic.
*I swear the only people who can tell right off the bat that I’m of Filipino descent are either themselves Filipino or Vietnamese.
“But no, no, no! This bill isn’t about racism! It’s about securing our borders.”
Yeah, I get that. I’m not stupid. I’m also not a brain-washed hippie liberal child for not jumping on the “Standing with Arizona” bandwagon.
What I’m getting at is unfair assumptions. If people can automatically assume that I belong to a certain group or whatever, they can also project whatever stereotypes or prejudices they hold about that group onto me. For example, it can be as simple as, “That girl is brown. She doesn’t speak English.” Or, it can conversely be, “I am angry because I believe that you are lying to me when you say you don’t speak Spanish.” (That last one is a story for another time.)
It can also be, “She is brown. There is a chance she was not born in the USA. There is then also a chance that she is not a legal citizen. I should question her on that.” And just like that, the door is open for being annoyingly questioned about my citizenship. Now, while I should have no problem proving that I am the child of legal citizens, was born in the USA, and am a legal citizen myself, I’m still going to be ANNOYED if it happens. EVER.
Hopefully that explains my position well enough. Maybe the bill was designed as a thinly-veiled racist bill, or maybe it was designed with terrible misjudgment of how people of color might feel about wording like “reasonable suspicion.”
Look, I’m not being stupid. I’m for legal citizenship (but I’m also for immigration reform– things have to change; the world isn’t static. But I digress). What I’m not for is allowing “illegal immigration” to be the springboard to socially acceptable racist attitudes. You can think what you want (agree to disagree), but I’ve had my own set of experiences that make me think not everyone who’s “for securing the borders” is “just” for that.
This is why I save these issues for academic research– I have the time and resources to compose an analysis.
But you know what? It’s my blog. And sometimes I feel like people forget that I don’t get to skirt around with white privilege. Sometimes I benefit from the “model minority myth,” I’ll be honest, but that’s another unfair assumption that just because I’m “Asian,” I’m smart and successful. (I like to attribute my gains to being studious with the blessing of inherited intelligence.)
But other times, people are jerks to me because they’re suspicious of brown people. Or they downright hate them.
In other news, I leave Madrid in the morning. Somebody pinch me– I’ve been in Spain for a month?
(Also– I really can’t speak Spanish; I only speak English. It’s so painfully obvious here…)
Edit: Also, if you’re thinking of leaving a rude comment, don’t. I’ll delete it anyway. Take it somewhere else, like your Facebook groups.