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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 7, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 19
Entre Hermanos: SB1070
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Entre Hermanos: SB1070

by Lonnie Tristan Renteria - Special to the SGN

Por Lonnie Tirstan Renteria, miembro, Mesa Directiva de Entre Hermanos, Activista de Comunidad y Profesor de Francés y Estudios Culturales.

En 1989 vivía en Francia. Para muchos es una oportunidad de sueño. Me encanta la Francia, pero la realidad engañó. La política francesa estaba involucrada en tensiones debido a la política del gobierno sobre la inmigración y las acciones de la policía que sucedieron enfocados en los inmigrantes de la África del Norte y sus hijos que ya tenían la nacionalidad francesa. En esos tiempos tuve una mata de pelo negro y rizado y llevaba mi piel morena con orgullo. Lo que no sabía es que estas dos características físicas se convertiría en impedimento. Pasé mi vida universitaria en París cerca de casa o encerado. Hasta que su identidad se pone en duda, es demasiado fácil hablar en términos abstractos.

El altercado que toma en cuenta la política de SB1070 sugiere que muchas más preguntas surgirán en vez de resolver problemas o preguntas que todavía no resuelven. Como miembro de la tribu LGBT y siendo también latino, SB1070 me pone ansioso. Si una persona es documentada o no, niveles de vulnerabilidad toman fuerza y nos convertimos en blanco de acoso. En el caso de los trabajadores indocumentados tenemos que considerar cuántos crímenes de odio no se denunciaran por miedo de expulsión y represalias.

Al nivel nacional, los casos y demandas judiciales sobre los perfiles raciales arbitrarios abundan. ¿Qué significa realmente "sospecha razonable"? Muchos afroamericanos y latinos ya pueden dar sus definiciones propias basadas en experiencia. ¿Quién decide y cómo se decide? La "léxica" de la ley SB1070 no es más mágica que las líneas de cruce peatonal. Uno se pregunta si los responsables de esta política sufren amnesia. Ya en el 2006, el Departamento de la Seguridad Pública pasó por una demanda que obligó la reconsideración de las prácticas de discriminación racial.

El reverendo Desmond Tutu, que conoce de primera mano los efectos de un gobierno que ofrece más poderes a la policía durante el Apartheid ha entrado en la conversación. ¿Dónde está la dignidad cuando un grupo étnico visible necesita llevar documentación y la otra no? Este tipo de práctica priva los derechos de las comunidades y dos resultados son inminentes: la falta de participación en el proceso político y la apatía.

La verdadera reforma migratoria no dará luz en echando culpas a los inmigrante indocumentados o controles de inmigración como se hace en Arizona. Reforma sucede cuando las políticas defienden resultados cuantificables, la investigación y la reconciliación de experiencias reales. SB1070 no tiene en cuenta que la persona es la piedra angular de este tema. Normalmente la política tiene como objetivo crear la seguridad humana y no hacer víctimas.

Lamentablemente las empresas de media han hecho una maniobra en donde los resultados de sondeos de opiniones se publica como hechos. Las opiniones no tienen lugar en la política, especialmente cuando ambos estudios e instituciones independientes desacreditan muchos de los discursos de ambos lados del espectro político.

No hace tanto tiempo que la violencia contra las personas LGBT se vio impulsado por la opinión pública y fuimos víctimas a doble porque no teníamos protecciones. El discurso de hoy no es muy diferente. A pesar de que mi historia tiene cerca de 20 años, puede ser adaptada y transportada a nuestra situación contemporánea. A pesar de que llevaba mi Carte de séjour en todas partes, cuando tuve que producir mis documentos que claramente mostraban mi estatus migratorio y mi nacionalidad, tenía que defender a continuación que era Americano. En Los Estados Unidos, en Seattle, todavía lo hago.

Lonnie Tristan Renteria is an Entre Hermanos member, community activist, and college professor in French and Cultural Studies.

In 1989, I lived in France. For many, this is a dream opportunity. I love France, but reality deceived. French politics were mired with tensions due to government policies and subsequent police actions that inadvertently singled out North African immigrants and their children who held French nationality. I had a mop of curly black hair and wore my dark olive skin proudly. What I didn't know was that these two physical features would become a liability. I spent my Parisian college life close to home or indoors. Until your identity is questioned, it is too easy to speak in abstract terms.

The fracas around Arizona's SB1070 policy suggests that many more questions will emerge than issues resolved and questions answered. As a member of the LGBT tribe who happens to be Latino, SB1070 makes me anxious. Whether a person is documented or not, the layers of vulnerability become all the more real, and becoming a target of harassment all the more possible for black and brown people. In the case of undocumented workers, consider how many hate crimes would go unreported for fear of deportation and retaliation.

Nationally, instances and lawsuits around racial profiling abound. What does "reasonable suspicion" really mean? Many African-Americans and Latinos can already tell you their definitions. Who decides and how is it decided? The policy's "language" is no more magical than crosswalk lines. Are Arizona's policy makers suffering amnesia about the Department of Public Safety's class action lawsuit of 2006 that forced reconsideration of racial profiling practices?

The Reverend Desmond Tutu, who understands firsthand the effects of a government that affords its police extra powers, has even weighed in on Arizona's policy. One may ask what black South African was able to walk about town without documents that gave him permission to be where he was during Apartheid. Where is the dignity when a visible ethnic group needs to carry documentation and another doesn't? Such practices disenfranchise communities, and one outcome is non-participation in political process and apathy.

True immigration reform will not happen with political scapegoating or immigration control. Reform happens when policies espouse measurable results, real research, and reconciliation of experiences. SB1070 is about people. Policies normally mean to create human security not to victimize. Sadly, media houses are polling for opinions and publishing results where public opinion is couched as fact. Opinions have no place in policy, especially when both non-partisan think tanks and case studies debunk discourses on both sides of the political aisle.

Not so long ago, violence against LGBT people was fueled by public opinion and we were doubly victimized because we had no real protections. Today's discourse isn't that much different. Although my story is close to 20 years old, it can be transposed and transported to our contemporary situation. Even though I carried my Carte de Séjour everywhere, when asked to produce my documents that clearly stated my immigration status and my nationality, I had to defend then that I was indeed American. In America, in Seattle, I still do.

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