This past weekend I took my family to a nice restaurant downtown. Having had a wonderful dinner, it soon came time to pay the check. It was then that I discovered I had left my wallet on the dresser, back at home. This was not really a big deal, I was not trying to buy alcoholic drinks and my wife had a credit card in her purse. I had not even done the driving!
I had nothing to worry about my current situation. I did, however, start thinking about what might have happened to me if I were resident of the state of Arizona.
Fortunately for me, I am as white as a white gets. No one who looks at me for even a moment will doubt whether or not I am a white person. But what if that were not so? What if I were a second or third generation American citizen, who just happened to be of Hispanic descent? Who just happen to leave his wallet home that day?
And what if, on the day I forgot my wallet, it had not been the arrival of a dinner bill but a regular traffic stop that had alerted me to the fact that my wallet was left behind along with my ID? Would I and my family have been sent to a bus and carted off to a FEMA camp to rot in obscurity beneath the burning Arizona Sun until we died (or someone of some importance noticed that we were missing)?
One can readily see that it will be all too easy for this very situation to occur, if it has not already occurred or is not already occurring, in Arizona today, tomorrow, and sporadically for the foreseeable future. Sometimes people forget their wallets and purses. Placing the entire populace of America under the threat of incarceration simply for the fact of being forgetful and not white is a ridiculous situation.
Let there be no doubt that the pending "papers please" law in Arizona is an invitation to disaster for everyone living in that state, be they black, white, brown or yellow. The paranoid state of "them vs. us" inevitably leads to fear, and fear leads to hatred, and hatred inevitably leads to violence.
I was able to leave the restaurant without my wallet and without fear.
I do not live in Arizona.
I am not brown.
If you live in Arizona, no matter what your skin tone, I suggest you change your surroundings.