The Governor, the President, and the Race Card
By Patrick O’Hannigan:
Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona has people talking about racism. An imaginary conversation that I’ve had with one progressive friend inevitably starts with “Racism? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Arizona Senate Bill 1070, set to take effect July 29, genuinely scares this man. “Next time I’m in Phoenix on business, will I be handcuffed and thrown in jail without any recourse, for six months, because I am dark-skinned?” he asked, before concluding that this was “a very distinct possibility.”
That’s foolishness. “Distinct” is not the adjective wanted here, because the possibility of my friend’s being arrested for “walking while brown” in Phoenix is more theoretical than “distinct.” He is, after all, a law-abiding citizen. Moreover, the bill in question explicitly forbids racial profiling, choosing instead to place emphasis where it should be, on criminal profiling.
But paranoia strikes deep, and Governor Brewer continues to show either political courage or obliviousness to “white privilege,” depending on your point of view.
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