While things like the oil disaster have pushed Arizona’s race war off the news pages, I was sad to hear first off that there’s been a fatality in the wake of the immigration laws. A third generation Latino-American man was shot by his crazy white neighbor who was convinced that he was an illegal immigrant. This is probably not going to be the first of these sort of incidents in Arizona, nor the end of increasing attempts by far right Republicans in the state government to invade citizens’ rights in search of driving off Latino voters through wacko laws and regulations. Randall Amster had a good description of what is going on:
The saddest part of it is that so many people are being fed outright lies which are neither corrected nor apologized for because the people making them up are pseudo-journalists. Media celeb Bill O’Reilly, being an entertainment commentator, never has to actually back up his accusations with facts and for the entire month of May has been making bizarre falsehoods supporting the Arizona immigration law.
He’s so far claimed that:
1) Illegal immigrants number 500,000 in Arizona. (The rate of illegal immigrants has actually dropped.)
2) That Arizona is bankrupt and ridden with crime and that this is due to illegal immigrants. (Scientific research has consistently shown that illegal immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native inhabitants and Arizona is not bankrupt, just dealing with a state deficit like the rest of the country.)
3) That Arizona has turned into the lawless old West with ranchers being slaughtered by illegal immigrants. (As we can see, so far the white people seem to be slaughtering their Latino neighbors.)
4) That Phoenix has almost as much crime as New York City and has become the kidnapping capital of the United States and incredibly dangerous. (Crime rates have dropped 16.6% in Phoenix according to the FBI and needless to say, it is not the kidnapping capital. It’s not even the capital of kidnapping illegal immigrants and making them do slave labor in sweatshops. That would probably still be New York. And far from crying for help, Phoenix is contemplating a lawsuit against the state government over the immigration law, which would cost Phoenix and other Arizona cities a buttload of money to attempt to enforce.)
5) That El Paso is not one of the safest cities in the U.S. (El Paso has consistently been ranked one of the safest cities in the U.S. And recently a study showed that the U.S./Mexico border cities with lots of immigration are some of the safest cities in the country.)
In a race war, propaganda is all, and Arizona legislators’ attempt to paint themselves as re-fighting the Alamo against the dirty Mexicans is being taken up at a national level. I’m not going to be posting about Arizona again — well, unless someone blows a building up or something* — because the problem is much bigger than that one state (which turns out not to be having an apocalypse,) and I’d just be reduced to useless sputtering anyway. As I said before, the kind of campaigns O’Reilly and his bretheren wage against non-whites will be a fascinating period for historians to study one day, but I’m not enjoying living through it.
*Or whitewash a mural of actual children at an elementary school because of a racist councilman and local residents:
Up-date: Steve Blair, the racist radio talk jock/city councilman who went after a bunch of kids over their school mural in Prescott, AZ, has been fired from his radio show. Yes, the forces of political correctness have struck again. Latino kids (or black kids as Blair mistakenly claimed) can be in the foreground of a mural, just like white ones! Even better, the principal of the school and the school superintendent have assured, after protests and national media attention, that they won’t after all be altering the mural to make the non-white kids look whiter “for artistic reasons.”