We are all Arizona/Tod@s somos Arizona: Arizona's SB1070 through a yellow lens (preview to A Yellow Voice Blog on PNN)

Tiny - Posted on 19 February 2011

Noh I.D.entity [aka, joyce umamoto]

Monday, June 7, 2010

The place, Baghdad-by-the-Bay, a term coined by Herb Caen in his weekly column in the paper before the paper was owned by “yellow journalism” pioneer William Randolph Hearst. Back when we thought ourselves to be a city of tolerance, believing in flower power and trying to live up to being the city of St. Francis of Assisi.

But the time is 2010. After the us corporatocracy invaded the real Baghdad and the people of color-du-jour was not the eastern and southeastern yellow people, but western and central yellow people. And after California’s neighbor to the southeast passed a racist/class-ist law. And after the city’s new (of less than 1 year) chief of poLICE is a migrant from said neighbor, Arizona.

That law is Arizona state law SB1070. A law made to terrorize the most vulnerable of our population, thus ensuring an infinite source of cheap/no wage labor. A law legitimizing racial profiling by empowering those who need no more empowerment to use their own “judgment” as to who looks like they belong and who does not look like they belong.

Of course, this kind of law enforcement profiling is nothing new to us yellow folks. As the daughter of a WW2 political prisoner, incarcerated without due process or trial because an entire community did not look like they belonged, racial profiling is a way of life. But sometimes it seems some people forget that. In conversation with one girlfriend, she comments to me about immigration and Asians and how SB1070 isn’t about them. I had to remind her how this issue is greatly affecting theapicommunities but mainstream media (including npr) is not picking it up. Right now in Arizona it is the media that is focusing on the economic refugees coming from countries south of a false border. But I bet you if I were to go there, I would be asked to show my papers (and probably she, as well, given they want BO to show his proof of being born on usa soil in order to run on the state's ticket come re-election time).

Just the other week, Chinatown Community Development Center and others, held a press conference in front of city hall denouncing recent ice raids. I know of a story 2 years ago where a Filipino, who came here in the 60's at age 11, got convicted of murder at age 17, sentenced to 7-to-life, and finally, after leading an “exemplar” prison life, got paroled in 2008 at age 50, where upon he was immediately re-arrested by ice, for overstaying his visa which had expired while he was in prison, for deportation back to the Pilipines! I don’t know the outcome of his case because at the time of the reporting he was appealing. His name is Julius Domantay. During his time in San Quentin, he had come around, turned Christian, and was working with youths in groups like United Playas. [http://www.poormagazine.org/index.cfm?L1=news&category=-1&story=2058&pg=1]

I even have a story. In 2005 I attended a fundraiser for undocumented peoples at Z, one of the hipster watering holes on 11th Street. I was 55 years old. I was with Wayne who was 58. We both had gray hair. There was a line and everyone ahead of me got in no prob, including my partner. My turn, and the guard asked for I.D. When I showed him my passport, under much loud protest, he laughed and tried to shrug it off, jokingly saying I was using my older sister’s I.D.!!! Right!!!! I was not carded. I was DOCUMENTED!

This by no means minimizes the very real targeting of our brown sisters and brothers by SB1070. In talking with 2 classmates here atPOORSkool, I asked them how this law personally affects them. As I look into the angelic face framed by soft, black curls, Gloria Estevan (originally from Mexico), tells me because this other state’s law affects people who look like her, the people in Arizona who are like her—an immigrant. She thinks this law is just one more attack on the very people who create the richness (both figuratively and literally) of this country & of the world that the US exploits. “Es un arma en contra delinmigrante,” [It is a weapon against the immigrant.] so Gloria tells me.

Y mi otro compañero, Julio Chavez, a well-educated young man recently arrived from Guate—only to find here that he can sell only his labor, his power, his youthful strength—says that this law brands people like cattle, treating us like animals. That the people who made such a law live back in history. Don’t they know about Lincoln and how one human being cannot own another human being and treat them like cattle. In his own words he tells me, “Es una marca discriminatoria.” [It is a discriminatory brand.”]

But one thing for sure, this law has galvanized a broad range of groups, igniting a wave of protests from college students on hunger strike to anti-war organization demos. Mike Wong, vice president with Veterans for Peace Chapter 69, says, “Arizona’s SB1070 … is a strategy of divide and conquer in the rich elite’s war against everyone else.” And Frank Lara, organizer with the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), says it all: “Taking direct action is the most important form of protest against injustice. … Just as we vigorously fight to end all wars by the us empire abroad, so to will we continue to fight the racist war on immigrants here at home.”

And so the war at home and abroad continues. And so we must resist. We will resist. We are resisting.

Noh I.D.entity is a novice reporter with PNN and an emerging poet withPOOR Magazine’s “PO’ Poets Project”; and can be reached at [I need to set up an email account.]



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