Ah, sweet juxtaposition

I’m not sure if it shows (and I sure hope it doesn’t, because I really am trying to become a good writer), but my last instruction on literature or the craft of writing came at the hands of my OAC (that’s grade 13) English teacher, Mr. Lowens. By the time I got to his class, I had already been well-schooled on one of my all-time favourite literary techniques at the hands of Ms. Mooney (the ~25 people who read this blog at the time will no doubt remember that she appeared in one of my first posts). That technique, friends, is the fine art of juxtaposition.

Let’s contrast two news stories out of the USA, shall we?

Alabama passes extreme anti-Mexican law

The new legislation, similar to one passed last year in Arizona, requires schools to find out if students are there illegally. The law, which takes effect on 1 September, also make it a crime to give an illegal immigrant a ride in a car…

…in addition, businesses and schools will be required to check the legal status of workers and students, while landlords will be committing a crime if they knowingly rent to illegal immigrants. Republican Governor Robert Bentley, who signed the bill into law Thursday, said: “We have a real problem with illegal immigration in this country.

The actual headline read “Alabama passes tough immigration law”, but that’s too euphemistic for my taste. First, it’s not “tough”, it’s cowardly. It’s refusing to actually deal with the issues your state is facing, and instead choosing to blame them on a poor, brown scapegoat. Second, it isn’t about immigration – it’s about harassing Mexicans. So congratulations, Alabama, you are still the most racist place in the entire United States. Feel proud – you’ve come a long way since Montgomery (in that you haven’t changed at all).

But wait… what’s this other story?

U.S. Border Guards accept bribes from Mexican drug cartels

Mexican drug cartels are increasingly targeting American border guards and customs agents with bribes and sexual favours, a US security official says. Charles Edwards of the US Department of Homeland Security told a Senate committee the cartels were using what he called systematic corruption to smuggle drugs and migrants into the US. He said the cartels were also seeking tip-offs about police investigations.

Ah, those crafty illegal immigrants… sneaking across the borders at the risk of drowning, police dogs, detention centres, and at great personal cost. If only they knew that all you had to do to gain entry into the United States was to give a handjob to an American border guard! Then you can just waltz (salsa?) right across the border and into your new life being legislated against by the reactionary bigots that run the southern states.

Gawrsh, Governor Bentley. Doesn’t it seem as though the problem isn’t that your laws aren’t tough enough, but that the people who are enforcing them are absuing their power? Well, I guess the answer is to give them more power, right? That’ll fix everything! Or maybe, just maybe, this law isn’t about your illegal immigration problem at all, but about your racism and the racism of your state.

We should try deporting all the reactionary xenophobic assholes out of Alabama. See if that helps.

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  1. says

    also make it a crime to give an illegal immigrant a ride in a car…

    I have a sudden urge to drive down to Alabama and just ferry people around, acting like a free taxi.

    But then I remember this would involve actually going to and spending time in Alabama. Been there, done that, it sucked. Their racism, more prevalent than I had thought (though I can’t say I’m particularly surprised), just adds one more gigantic stain to my personal opinion of that state.

    Unasked for advice to Mexicans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, et cetera currently in Alabama: move to Mississippi. That industrial-fart smell fades quickly once you get over that border, and the people in Mississippi were friendlier.

  2. Bill says

    I’m a expatriate of the USA, currently living in the Third World country known as Mississippi, and I am having a hard time imagining Alabama being worse than here. Some examples include the Jackson (state capital) paper doing an editorial which included a line about, “…you [police officers] stare every day into the eyes of the soulless horde of urban residents.” Multiple people were quoted in the paper (within the last two years) saying that Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner “got what they deserved” (death) for “poking their noses in where they didn’t belong” (registering people to vote). It was only last year that the Mississippi legislature repealed a bill from Freedom Summer that made it illegal for blacks to assemble and discuss politics, with penalties for businesses that allowed such discussions. (Yes, the US Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional almost as soon as it was passed, but it was over 40 years before Mississippi got rid of it.) The “educator” that wrote the sex ed module for the capital city was quoted in the paper saying that the real blame for Mississippi being #1 in teen pregnancies rests with rappers and the music industry.

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