In the following episode of his regular segment, "The Word," Colbert takes on Arizona's new, draconian, and blatantly racist anti-immigrant law. I appreciate the points that Colbert gets across here to his mainstream audience, but there's one factor in this decades-long immigration "debate" that I wish he'd also covered -- the persistent focus on workers, rather than on those who illegally employ them.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|The Word - No Problemo|
Amidst the laughter he provokes, Colbert makes several excellent points. He also provides a phrase that I think deserves the meme-like status of his earlier linguistic creation (the word "truthiness"). By which I mean: with a great national debate on immigration coming up soon (or maybe not so soon?), I hope the term "Juan Crow" catches on to describe not only Arizona's new law, but also the misguided, vitriolic and commonly white sentiments behind it. Unless, that is, the term perpetuates the stereotype that most Mexican men are named Juan?
However, one important point Colbert leaves out is that discussion of immigration is almost always focused on the workers, instead of on the (mostly white) employers. After all, by hiring these border-crossing workers, aren't they also doing something illegal? If so, why is there so much focus on the workers, and so little on the employers?
As Joe Feagin points out at Racism Review,
One critical part of the “immigration debates” is just how powerful the conservative framing of these issues is. Conservatives frame it as “illegal immigrants” or “illegal aliens,” while even liberals are focusing on “undocumented immigrants” and “immigration problems.” This is yet another example of how we get trapped in deep unreflective frames.
How about reframing the entire debate as about “lawless employers,” “illegal employers,” and “illegal employment”? Mostly white employers are certainly at the center of this national “problem.”
Yes, that's an answer right there, isn't it -- conservatives manage to frame most national debates, thanks in no small part to the ubiquity of corporate media outlets, which naturally promote and enact business-friendly conservative policies. And so, in turn, most Americans, conservative and liberal/progressive alike, tend to play along.
Thank goodness for the Internet, eh? Or maybe . . . not? Are the grassroots possibilities of the online revolution managing to shift the corporate media's framing of such debates? Can anything be done, for instance, to get most people thinking about illegal employers, instead of workers?
At the very least, we can find out online about forms of action we can take that the corporate media fail to mention. Here, for instance, is an online petition you can sign -- "Shame on Arizona" allows you to sign the following pledge to boycott the state: "As long as racial profiling is legal in Arizona, I will do what I can to not visit the state and to avoid spending dollars there."
I've never actually been to Arizona, which I gather is beautiful; needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, supporting the state's (soon-to-be ironically flagging) economy by "paying" a visit no longer interests me.
h/t for the video: Irene's Daughters