LatinaLista -- A disgusting story has emerged from Paris, Texas. It seems at a company called Turner Industries it was "open season" on black workers. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found evidence that black workers were harassed with Confederate flags, nooses and death threats by some white employees.
"I've been called colored boy, coon, monkey," said Dontrail Mathis, 33, a painter's helper at the plant in Paris who began highlighting racist conditions in December 2006. "When Obama won, they went off. My superiors said 'If he ain't white, it ain't right.'
What makes this story even more unbelievable is that those white employees who didn't go along with the harassment -- were fired.
Jason Milligan, who is white, said he was fired from Turner in August after he refused to sign a false affidavit that claimed one of the employees who had complained about the company was stealing at work.
"Not all the employees there were bad," said Milligan, a 37-year-old father of three. He said that since he was fired, he has had to take a job out of state to support his family. "As a company, they need to stop living in the 1950s," he said. "These people all have families, and it doesn't matter what color they are.
"Enough is enough," he said.
Obviously, if it hadn't been for the implied support of the management of this Paris, Texas facility none of the participating white workers would have felt empowered to act out these hate crimes. When the authority supports abuse like this, it doesn't just violate a person's civil rights, it endangers their well-being.
This story has a lot of parallels with a developing story from Arizona. Come Friday, the biggest example yet of an authority entity giving the green light to single out a minority group may be Arizona -- if the governor signs into law a bill that in essence is declaring "open season" on the state's Latinos.
The unfortunate reality is that unlike these black workers, the Latinos impacted by this law would have no legal route to take to defend themselves.
The Arizona bill is known as Senate Bill 1070 and it would require:
Anyone whom police suspect of being in the country illegally to produce "an alien registration document," such as a green card, or be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor and pay a minimum $500 fine.
An act that immediately criminalizes an undocumented immigrant and impacts their chances of ever returning to the United States. This is problematic since many undocumented have lived in the country for years and their families are of mixed-status.
Makes it illegal to seek work from a road or sidewalk if doing so slows traffic. It also makes it a crime to pick up someone if a driver "knows or recklessly disregards the fact that the alien is here illegally."
Basically, like Oklahoma, the other state that wants to terrorize people from helping the undocumented, giving someone a lift to the hospital, school, store, etc. and the driver knows they are undocumented criminalizes the citizen being a Good Samaritan.
A law enforcement officer, without a warrant, may arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States.
While no one would like to believe police officers would abuse their positions, unfortunately that's not the case, especially in Arizona which is home to the infamous Sheriff Arpaio.
This section of the law could be abused in going after Latino citizens. If a warrant is not needed that gives the officer the first excuse of getting his foot in the door to look for other signs of, real or imagined, violations of the law.
A law enforcement agency may securely transport an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States and who is in the agency's custody to a federal facility in this state or to any other point of transfer into federal custody that is outside the jurisdiction of the law enforcement agency.
Basically, this allows for the "disappearance" of undocumented immigrants. Since these immigrants are not afforded the opportunity to contact family members to let them know what has happened to them, this "transport" to facilities outside the region and/or state is a cruel act to perpetuate on a family worried to death about where their husband, wife, mother or child is.
A person may bring an action in Superior Court to challenge any official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state that adopts or implements a policy that limits or restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law. If there is a judicial finding that an entity has violated this section, the court shall order any of the following...
This section may actually be one of those things that comes and bites the state of Arizona in the ass. It allows for everyday citizens -- in addition to the Minuteman, Tea Party and other racist extremists -- to bring to court any law enforcement agency or city official deemed not enforcing the full extent of the immigration law.
For those people who are so prejudicial that any Latino is one too many, they would now have recourse to legally exhibit their discrimination -- without fear. The way the bill reads on about what would happen to the person who brings the charges is that they would be rewarded by having their court costs and attorney fees covered.
It goes on to say how the "entity" would be punished for not complying with the law if it was found to be guilty but nothing would be done to the person for bringing the charges, other than they would have to pay the court costs and attorney fees.
It's a blatant attempt to encourage citizens to turn against their neighbor and their local city and law enforcement officials -- and it serves to not only destabilize the social fabric of Arizona but make it such an unfriendly place by empowering the person on the street to challenge law enforcement that this bill redefines what the Wild West is in the 21st Century.
Petitions have been set up by such organizations as the National Council of La Raza and the United Farm Workers urging Arizona Gov. Brewer to not sign into law a bill that has the potential to harm both citizen and non-citizen Latinos in the state.