Tag: Charles Barkley

And Another Thing…

I recently found out that I have distant in-laws who live in Ferguson. They are my wife’s extended family, and I met them once in passing about a decade ago. That is my only personal connection to the city that has joined the short list of places whose very name signifies tragedy and/or disaster (e.g., Newtown, Chernobyl, etc).

In any case, there is not much I can add to the national debate over police brutality and systemic racism. I have never claimed to speak for all Hispanics, and I certainly can’t claim to speak on behalf of blacks. Maybe Charles Barkley can handle that.


But I just want to reiterate a couple of points that many people seem to have forgotten during all the chaos in Ferguson and the outrage over Eric Gardner’s death.

First, claiming that Brown, Gardner, et al were no angels is irrelevant. It only implies that you think cops have the right to execute people in public, without a trail or even a charge. You should rethink this position. Really.

Second, changing the subject to black-on-black crime is also irrelevant. There’s also more white-on-white crime than interracial crime. What does any of that have to do with whether cops are out of control or not?

Third, claiming that racism doesn’t exist is just idiotic and/or self-serving. Similarly, claiming that you don’t see color is either a lie or a tremendous delusion. It’s been scientifically proven that you do see color, so just drop the above-it-all attitude.

Fourth, stop insisting that if ethnic minorities just behaved, they would not have issues with cops. This is not only insulting and condescending, but laughably naïve. There is a whole trending item about how the police perceive white people differently. Check it out.

Lastly, go ahead and condemn violence and the looters. But don’t let that distract you from the real issues here. And those issues are legion.


Backlash Blues

Thanks, as always, to Macon D and Ankhesen Mie for their support. And thanks to all of you who checked out my new gig at Change.org (although, as Ankhesen can attest to, there is more serious crazy among readers of that site than I assumed there would be).

In any case, let’s talk about our favorite people: the architects of Arizona’s anti-immigration law.

The law’s backers believed that their get-tough approach to illegal immigration would garner them nationwide praise and respect. Indeed, many states have proposed enacting a similar version of the law, proof of its effectiveness at riling up conservatives.

However, the law’s supporters must have thought that the only individuals who would object were illegal immigrants themselves and a few bleeding hearts. That hasn’t been the case.

First, the initial public outcry has already been effective in changing the most odious portion of the law. Under the revision, police cannot stop people for the sole reason of questioning their immigration status (in theory at least). The fact that the law’s backers thought everybody would be fine with a cop frisking people at random shows how invincible they believed their position to be.

However, that revision hasn’t prevented further protest. We’ve seen tens of thousands gather from Los Angeles to New York to demonstrate against the law.

More important, talk of boycotting Arizona and/or its corporations has intensified and cannot be dismissed as empty threats. About thirty organizations, and untold thousands of individuals, have pledged to avoid the state. In addition, more than twenty conventions, conferences, and meetings have relocated out of Arizona because of the law.

To get that many people to flee the area, one usually has to announce something truly horrific, like “We start filming Battlefield Earth 2 here tomorrow.” But all that it’s taken is one misguided law.

Recently, St. Paul jumped to the front of what might prove to be a long line of cities banning official travel to the state of Arizona.” Those crazy lefty towns of Los Angeles and San Francisco have also decided to skip sending anyone to Arizona for the foreseeable future.

The cities of Tucson and Flagstaff won’t be on that list (considering its rather difficult to boycott their own state) but their respective city councils plan to sue to get the law changed. Elsewhere in Arizona, people are starting to worry that Major League Baseball will pull the 2011 All-Star Game from Phoenix, as pressure increases on MLB to hold the game somewhere else. Commissioner Bud Selig has insisted that the game will take place in Arizona.

But speaking of the sports world, the Phoenix Suns recently played some games in jerseys altered to read Los Suns to, as player Amare Stoudemire put it, “let the Latin community know that we’re behind them 100 percent.”

Multiple MVP Steve Nash has endorsed the idea, as has former basketball great Charles Barkley. In fact, Barkley says that pro sports teams should actively boycott Arizona (and he lives there).

The funny thing is that Barkley is a well-known Republican. In rethinking his allegence to conservatives, Barkley is not alone. Apparently, even some Republicans don’t think the law is such a great idea.

This feeling is especially strong among conservative Latinos “who have become an increasingly important Republican constituency in a number of Southwestern states [and] are considering bucking their party.” It’s as if Republicans actively wanted to drive Latinos out of the GOP, and thereby verify the allegation that they care only about the well-being of Southern white people.

To be sure, most Americans – and certainly most Arizonians – favor the law. But if the law’s backers thought that only meek objections would greet their decision, they were seriously mistaken.

When you’ve managed to anger the country’s largest minority group, entire municipalities, members of your own political party, and a major sports franchise, you’ve really underestimated the opposition.

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