Arizona’s New Fugitive Slave Law

Posted by Melvin Bray on April 22nd, 2010 filed in Useful Perhaps

I am disgusted with the Arizona legislature’s reprise of fugitive slave laws allowing authorities to harass/detain anyone who looks like s/he might be an undocumented immigrant. I talked about it with my seniors in class today in connection with Doris Lessing’s post-colonial classic, The Grass Is Singing, which we are reading. Even now I am left to wonder how many northern free-born blacks were stolen into southern slavery under the guise that they didn’t have papers proving their birthright. There are estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country and the majority of them may not be Hispanic! In fact the vast majority of those are of European descent (hyperbole?)! Do the authorities in Arizona plan to randomly stop white people on the street at the chance they too might be illegal? Or are we honest enough to admit that the law is racially motivated? And don’t give me that homeland security crap: no suspected terrorist has entered this country by risking his life crossing the Sonoran Desert!

My class and I even talked about the likelihood that many of the immigrants “illegally” migrating to Arizona are only continuing to follow the tribal migratory patterns of their indigenous ancestors for whom our current nation-state boundaries (which are only 150 old) would have no meaning.

We initiated our conversation by watching last night’s “theWord” from Stephen Colbert…

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