Saturday, February 2, 2013

Legal Immigrants Love to be Racially Profiled

I am in the midst of taking a mandatory Diversity class for my social work degree this semester and although before I started the class, I thought I wouldn't get much out of it, I have really have enjoyed every class so far.  The professor is quite knowledgeable and offers interesting questions for us to ponder and discuss the hour that we meet online each week.  However, as usual with most of my classes, I have to really bite my tongue with classmates who seem to be, well... ignorant.

Last week we were discussing the new immigration reform that President Obama is pushing through Congress and how we felt about the Arizona SB 1070 (The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act), which is one of the strictest anti-illegal immigration measures in the United States.  I have my own opinion on it, which I will get to in a minute, but what I want to share was the opinion of one of my classmates.  Apparently she believes that legal immigrants should love to be racially profiled.  Here were her thoughts in a nutshell:

"I know if it were me being stopped, I would be so happy to show my citizenship papers.  It would be like if I had just received my bachelor's degree and people would want to see it.  I would be so proud to show them.  That's how I think they should feel; They received their papers and should be proud to show them at any time they were asked." 

Wait...  What?!?!

Because we are on web cams, I could see my professor's reaction and it was less than pretty.  I was shocked to see about three others in the class who eagerly agreed with this notion.  Wow.  And these are future social workers who are supposed to be advocating for social justice.  Interesting, for the lack of a better word.

Unfortunately, there isn't enough time in the class for me to speak *MY* mind about the topic, but after mulling over this for a few days, I was trying to put myself in the shoes of a legal immigrant essentially being harassed about showing their registration documents upon request.  I thought about just one small scenario.

I'm a mom.  I've got two children.  My one child is extremely sick.  He was throwing up all night.  I had to get him to the doctor the next morning.  I'm exhausted, but manage to get an appointment.  I take him to the doctor's office where I wait for two hours.  The doctor says my son has the flu, prescribes medicine and I leave to go get the prescription, but on the way to the pharmacy, my other child needs a diaper change.  I have to pull over somewhere to do this, while the sick child is crying because they just want to go home.  I am still exhausted, but need to get his medicine.  We go to the pharmacy, both are crying now... we wait 20 minutes for the prescription, then we are finally home bound.  I am finally feeling some relief because I know I can finally get him to bed, get the baby fed and put to bed for a nap, but I'm still upset and just want to get home.  I'm at a red light and because I "look" suspicious because I am frantic, exhausted and both of my children are crying, I am pulled over by a police officer, asking me for my registration documents.  Not only that, he's a dick and harassing me about it.  And, this is the fourth time this month this has happened, JUST because I *LOOK* suspicious, and maybe probably because I am Hispanic.

I am not saying I know what it feels like to be a legal immigrant.  I am definitely not saying that there are no problems with illegal immigration in the United States.  What I am saying, flat out, is that I think this Arizona SB 1070 is nothing less than RACIAL PROFILING.

I am not Hispanic and again, not an immigrant, but I know what discrimination is.  I am not writing this for social workers only, but for those who may not be able to see outside the box.  I think empathy is something Americans have lost along the way and it is sad.  I have learned a lot over the last few years.  I only hope I can help others to learn, too.  I do not claim to know anything about what it means to be a social worker, but I am starting to get the idea.  It's going to be a long road.







12 comments:

  1. good one! i love the way republicans like two-faced mccain are now jumping on obama's immigration reforms, only because they know they can't win the presidency while losing a clear majority of the hispanic vote. even extreme right-wing rubio is now calling "illegals" human beings, can you imagine all those working at slave labour jobs and wages never having the opportunity to vote or become citizens actually being real people with real dreams and lives? what is happening in america? racial profiling is something the cops have to work on for sure, as difficult as it may be, and the arizona law only helps to reaffirm that degrading practice.

    wow, you're showing signs of almost becoming a "liberal" wtf? ;)

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    1. I'll take that as a compliment, thank you. Not all cops think that the SB 1070 is a good thing. It deters those from calling and reporting crimes in fear of being harassed and asked for documentation. Although, I tend to think more cops get off on it than not.

      Of course I took notice to the bandwagon jumping by Repukes. They are pathetic and they know it. I think (and hope) it will be a long time before they gain any trust back. They've got a lot of damage control to do. We can only hope that our President keeps doing what he's doing and has a successor just as great as he is. Although, that would be merely impossible.

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    2. true. i'm a canuck and not eligible.

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  2. VERY well said! First of all, wow about the comment the girl in your online class said...wow. Second of all, the example you gave is enough proof to show me that your ability to put yourself in other's shoes as much as possible has already made you an amazing person, so you will be an amazing social worker. Rock on!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! Coming from you and all that you do every day in your job makes me very happy to hear you say that. It gives me hope that I might just be able to do this career! :)

      And yes, that girl was whack. I think it will be a fun semester taunting her a bit. tee hee. I doubt I'll be able to help doing it at least once or twice. Not very nice of me, I know... but some people just need to be schooled my way.

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  3. I saw your comment on my most recent post and that you noted that you're a future social worker. I am an MSW student. Small world!! I loved this post. I am very passionate about these things. You're right in saying that empathy is something that is getting lost with us Americans but hopefully people like us can change that!!

    ~Keith

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  4. Honestly? WTF was that girl thinking that she would be "proud" to show it off. Guess what, its none of their fucking business. She is probably the kind that will show off her tits because she is proud. She missed the point anyway....its not about proving you are a legal American, its about being harassed enough to feel like you HAVE to prove it. Harassed solely based on how you look.

    I agree, you do have the heart and mind to be a wonderful social worker. Putting people first and being compassionate is what it's all about.

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    1. I can't say I've never shown off my .... never mind. You are correct and of course I agree with you. Thanks for your comments, Ms. Jokeyhaha.

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  5. Replies
    1. Luckily my diversity class last night gave me a new writing prompt today. If it weren't for the ignorance of my classmates, who knows when I would have written another!

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