April 23, 2010

Arizona on the Edge

Legal immigration is the vehicle that brought many of us to America. My grandfather's grandfather arrived in White County, Indiana from Germany in April 1865, where he reportedly saw Lincoln's funeral train pass.

Illegal immigration is a huge problem for Americans, weighing down our public resources.

But today's edict by the Arizona governor does nothing to advance the cause of fostering legal immigration or decreasing illegal immigration. I believe the law perpetuates the practice of racial profiling in a situation where many legal citizens can be hurt.

I never fully understood racial profiling until I heard about it this way.

A dear friend and I share much in common about our lives. . Our economic circumstances are, by appearance, similar. We live in small cities in the same state. We each have a son. She is African-American and I am Caucasian

Her son, now a college graduate preparing for an advanced degree, was hanging out with friends after midnight at a local miniature golf course. Four of them, typical sixteen year olds, stood around after their games, acting stupid and making noise. Lots of teens hung around that evening. My friend lives in an affluent neighborhood that is mostly white.

When vandals damaged a window, which four boys were immediately blamed?

As my friend tells it, she told her son that night, "Nothing good happens to a black man who is just hanging out after midnight."

While I may not exactly replicate her words, the essence of what she said made an impression on me, a very sad impression. This would not have happened to my son in an identical community.

Behavior, not race, should dictate what happens on the streets of Arizona.