The bitter taste of xenophobia and racism (Alabama, June 2011-….)

Dear Readers,

I had a recipe-related post ready for you today, but I’m providing a link instead. It’s to this week’s podcast from This American Life, which deals in part with the consequences of [ HB 56 ], the immigration reform bill passed by the state of Alabama, my home state, in June 2011. Supporters and opponents of this bill have debated its effect on jobs and the economy, but what’s really at stake are civil liberties: the bill essentially makes racial profiling mandatory for employees of the state and strongly encourages it elsewhere. Most of you have probably heard about the bill in the news. After hearing this broadcast I decided to post it instead of the usual food-talk, because I think they did a good job presenting the issues.

Here is the link

It was depressing, although not entirely surprising, to hear that some Alabamians who have no reason to enforce the law actually feel compelled to do so out of personal motivation. People suspected to be immigrants have been ID’d at places such as the grocery store and Walmart. Moreover, while Alabama has demonstrated with the “success” of this bill that some of its residents are especially prone to xenophobia and racism, such attitudes are clearly alive and well elsewhere. The bill itself was crafted by Kris Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas, whose recent endorsement of Mitt Romney was proudly acknowledged by Romney’s campaign. (See also the SPLC’s report on him.) If attitudes don’t change, we will undoubtedly see more flawed and hateful legislation like this in the near future. It is a shameful time to be an American, indeed.

That is all for now.

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