Exploitation of Race Card Destructive to America

Exploitation of Race Card Destructive to America

The Radionian
By Ashton Pittman, Opinions Editor
May 2010, Volume 86, No. 7

A year and a half after we elected our first non-white President, the race card continues to play a shameful role in American politics. It seems almost impossible to criticize legitimately the President’s decisions without enduring accusations of racism. If anything, racial accusations have become even more prominent than before.

The latest issue to draw racial ire is Arizona’s immigration bill, SB1070. The bill allows law enforcement to verify the status of people reasonably suspected of being illegal immigrants.

Since being signed into law, it has met a firestorm of controversy. Politicians and pundits from across the nation have been quick to inject race into the mix, suggesting that the bill mandates racial profiling.

In a piece entitled “The Arizona of 2010 is the Alabama of 1963,” The Huffington Post’s Robert Creamer argued that the law will result in attacks against Hispanics akin to those perpetrated against civil rights marchers. Others have likened the law to the segregationist Jim Crow laws.

The immediate move to play the race card disregards the facts in favor of brash hysteria. The bill states, “The attorney general or county attorney general shall not investigate complaints that are based solely on race, color or national origin.”

The truth is that illegal immigrants are responsible for a large amount of crime in Arizona, including drug trafficking, theft, violence and even murder. For the protection of its citizens, it was necessary for Arizona to pass a bill that would allow it to enforce its immigration laws.

The law is not about race; despite the fact that 76 percent of illegal aliens are Hispanic, the bill specifically disallows racial profiling. As bill sponsor Russell Pearce said, “Illegal is not a race; it’s a crime.”

Frankly, those who default to the race card anytime their beliefs are challenged represent an appalling form of intellectual cowardice. By marginalizing those with whom they disagree, they divert attention from the actual issue and avoid ever having to qualify the merits of their own position.

They also “divide and conquer” by encouraging people to vote along ethnic and racial lines. Perhaps they are the true modern day segregationists.

Exploitation of race for political gain is destructive. Its anti-intellectual nature undermines healthy debate and births racial animosity that did not exist prior. Most unfortunately, it diminishes the sufferings of all those who have ever truly faced the harsh reality of racism.

Out of respect for common decency, it is incumbent upon Americans of all colors to reject the gross abuse of the race argument, reserving it only for those times when it is plainly warranted. When that day comes, we can begin to engage in a national dialogue that exhibits some semblance of integrity.


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