Here’s part of an open letter to Arizona state officials about their immigration policies and other actions towards minorities in that state.
“Some people say that as Arizona’s top leaders, you are actively engaged in an unprecedented ethnic cleansing campaign against the red-brown peoples of this state.
No doubt you not only disagree, but you take umbrage because you perhaps consider yourself part of a movement that is concerned primarily with national security, with sealing the porous U.S./Mexico border, with mounting campaigns against illegal immigration, and lastly, with promoting the virtues of U.S. culture, a culture that you fear is being eroded daily by invading and uncontrolled hordes from south of the border.”
. . . . And yet, I’m sure you are aware that on Dec 31, one of you, outgoing state schools superintendant of schools, Tom Horne, is set to declare Tucson’s K-12 Mexican American Studies program to be out of compliance with HB 2281, Arizona’s anti-ethnic studies law that goes into effect the very next day.
Despite this, you cannot see how this can be interpreted as being part of an ethnic cleansing campaign? planation. . . .
Part of the problem in debating these issues is that we utilize different vocabularies and we also live different realities. Yet the problem is actually beyond language. You need to walk in our shoes or you need to have the experience of being singled out because of our red-brown skin to be able to understand why we view the world differently and why we interpret your movement to be inimical to our very existence.
Let me offer alternative terminology for what you are doing. I would argue that what you are engaged in is not so much ethnic cleansing, but a continuation of the colonial policies of reducciones – a project carried out by the Spanish empire in the Americas during the 1500s-1800s. This included the region that is today called the U.S. Southwest.
Never heard of it? They were akin to this nation’s Indian Removal policies of the 19th century. Tied to them were the Indian Boarding Schools. Indian Removal either constituted outright genocide or forced migrations. This resulted in land loss and the de-rooting of peoples that had been living in what is today the United States for many thousands of years. The philosophical foundation for the boarding schools was: “kill the Indian, save the man.” . . .
So when you enact laws that require us to prove our citizenship, when you enact laws that forbid us from learning our thousands-of-year cultures from this very continent, then you give us but one clear message: the need to once again prove our humanity. You also send out another message: not welcome. But you seem not content with sending that message either. Next is the Arizona nullification of birthright citizenship and the 14th amendment. And subsequently, you now want children to also turn in their own parents.
Read the entire piece at Column of the Americas.