Not all Arizonians are racists, but a lot are.

Posted in Uncategorized by macktivist on May 20, 2010

I live in Arizona. I have lived here for the past six years, and will probably live here for at least three more; totaling near a decade of life in Arizona. Since the (elected Democrat) Janet Napolitano left to be Director of Homeland Security and was replaced with the (unelected Republican) Jan Brewer, the Republicans in the Legislature have been running amok making horrible bill after horrible bill, sure that she as a good Republican lapdog will rubber stamp anything they hand to her

The most recent Republican blunders are SB1070, a draconian measure that lets police *legally* harass anyone “suspected of being in the country illegally”, and HB 2281, which refers to teaching non-white ethnic-centered classes as promoting anti-American sentiment and treason.

Last Friday, I was at the graduation ceremony for Primus’s college’s graduation at the University of Arizona. He is in the College of Social and Behavior Sciences, which encompasses Judaic, La Raza, Africana, Middle Eastern and Gender and Women’s Studies. The professor who was the speaker at the graduation was associate professor Dr. Soto, who teaches in both the Gender and Women’s studies and the La Raza studies. I personally have had the pleasure of being in one of her Gender and Women’s Studies class. She brought up a very relevant topic by talking about SB1070 and HB2281 as many people fear that Republicans in the Legislature will attack ethnic studies at the University level next.

The people who screamed at Professor Soto that she was “politicizing their graduation” are white people who frankly, need to shut the hell up. Their is a very large latin@ population at the school. Bills like SB1070 are outright politicizing their bodies and they will never get to escape from that. Bills like HB2281 are politicizing their culture and heritage, and treating them like criminals for wanting to transmit that culture. The white people who are complaining have never experienced the politicizing of their bodies or culture, as their color protects them and makes them “normal”.

These white people who boo are so threatened by latin@s and latin@ culture that they aren’t even listening to what Professor Soto is advocating, a clear an open dialog free of fear-mongering. I also think that the conservatives in the crowd were reacting to fact that Professor Soto herself is a latina, and as they believe that the other is always politicized because of their bodies, whenever a latina woman talks about bills directed at latin@s, she will always be considered “extreme” and “radical” if she does anything but meekly accept it.

As a spectator, I do want to say that there were an equal amount of people cheering her on, and at one point it looked like the two sides where going to duke it out in the stands.

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  1. mrsfeminist said, on May 20, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    I was born in Arizona, I live in North Carolina now. Since these two bills passed, I’ve taken to giving a disclaimer as in, “I’m from Arizona but I don’t hate brown people!” It seems like most of the state has lost its mind!

    Something else that is interesting about the crowd and this speech: since it was a graduation ceremony, presumably there were a lot of out-of-town folks there as well. That would mean that the crowd didn’t necessarily represent the local area at all.

    Anyway, if there is anything to be pleased about in all of this it is that it has brought forward so many articulate, passionate and amazing people, like Prof. Soto, who are standing strong against these injustices. Keep writing about it! Keep up the fight!

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