LatinaLista -- A recent headline trumpeting Arizona Boycotts Could Backfire on Latinos illustrated just how much non-Latinos don't get the issue of SB 1070.
It shouldn't be surprising. A new study released this month in the journal Current Biology revealed that when it comes to pain empathy, people of different races have less empathy for one another's pain unless they're particularly sensitive or have experienced the same kind of pain. But for the vast majority, they just don't get it.
That hypothesis is further bolstered in the debate over the AZ immigration law by a press release issued today by The League of Arizona Cities and Towns which basically asked people and businesses to stop boycotting the state.
Immigration is a federal issue with long-standing debate that has been given new life via the action of Arizona's state leadership. It is our hope that further discussion and intergovernmental collaboration will address all aspects of immigration policy: border security, public safety, commerce, community services and American culture. However, to isolate Arizona's constituency via boycott tactics is an unacceptable, misdirected response, given that this issue will continue to evolve and re-form into the future.
We respectfully ask you to refrain from implementing boycott resolutions, as they are an assault on local government and residents with unintended socioeconomic consequences.
No one knows better than the state's Latino community just how harmful are these boycotts. It's well known that when national conferences or events are taken and held somewhere else, rather than Arizona, the trickle down effect of lost income hurts Latino workers the most.
Yet, as concerned as The League of Arizona Cities and Towns is for the impact of these boycotts on the state's businesses, where were they when Latino-owned businesses began shuttering in the weeks after SB 1070 was signed into law due to their clientele being too afraid to come out in public or were already leaving the state?
Not one single recommendation of restraint or caution was issued by The League of Arizona Cities and Towns to the state's legislators or any press release issuing support for the Latino business community, as I could see from their press release archives.
It's understood that boycotts hurt the most vulnerable that can least afford it. Some Latino organizations are working to help minimize the boycott impact on Latino businesses, but in this case, while most Latinos don't like that it's happening, they like less the idea that in their own state, for many their birth state, they are subject to random inquisitions by law enforcement officers who will question their right to be in this country.
With talk of other states emulating this law, it's clearly a situation that calls for drastic measures since non-Latinos just don't get why it's such an offensive act to put into practice.
If ever there was a time to walk in someone else's shoes, this is it. Then maybe, there would be more understanding and less condemnation.
A good place to start that walk is tomorrow when people answering the call for a "National Convergence to Stop the Hate" descend on Phoenix in a five-mile Human Rights march to show state legislators how disgustingly insulting this law is to Latinos everywhere.
Chances are opponents of the marchers won't feel the necessary empathy to call for a repeal of SB 1070, so that leaves only boycotts to underscore how unfair this law is for the Latino community.
And from what we've seen, people get that.