Friday, April 23, 2010

The Crime of Being Brown

In the 1930's the German government used this symbol (at right) to choose who among their citizens to harass and deport.

In 2010, the Arizona government will use these (below) along with brown skin to choose whom to harass.
Arizona has a long history of its police harassing the third of its population that is Hispanic. Driving While Brown has long been a crime to Arizona law enforcement. Now, being brown with dirty shoes is cause for arrest.

Since before statehood, Arizona whites have hated the Hispanic citizens who were on the land generations before the whites arrived.
  • The Orphan Abduction: In 1904, nuns brought 40 Catholic orphans from New York to place with Catholic families in Clifton. Catholic, in Arizona, meant Mexican-American. Whites in Clifton were outraged and organized vigilante mobs that broke into homes, kidnapped the children, and gave them to white parents.
  • Anti-Alien Ownership Law: In 1913, Arizona passed a law to prevent non-whites from owning property.
  • Traux v. Raich: In 1915, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned an Arizona law requiring businesses to have at least 80% of their employees be "native-born" citizens.
  • The Bisbee Deportation: In 1917, over 1000 striking miners, mostly Mexican-Americans, as well as citizens rounded up because the local sheriff didn't like the looks of the (brown), were loaded onto manure-laden boxcars and shipped across the state border.
  • Segregation: Until 1951, Arizona schools segregated Mexican-American children into substandard schools. The court ruling in the case of Gonzalez v. Sheely set the state for Brown v. Board of Education in 1955.
  • Phelps Dodge: In 1984 Phelps Dodge ordered employees at the Sears in Morenci to stop speaking Spanish. Phelps Dodge, by the way, was the company responsible for the Bisbee Deportation 67 years earlier.
  • Hunting Humans: Arizona vigilantes have used thinly veiled hunting metaphors in their anti-Mexican propaganda. Most recently, militiaman Bill Davis in an television interview called for armed combat veterans with "kill records" to patrol the Arizona border. Davis makes the strange promise that they have his "authorization" to shoot.

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