“Walking While Brown”: New Racial Profiling

I doubt David would ever get pulled over to present his “papers,” but would his mama, originally from Honduras, have to deal with this if she were to travel through Arizona?

David is astute enough (with the exception of recent tweets earlier this month) to avoid commenting and tweeting on the more controversial issues, like the new Arizona law that allows for the racial profiling of certain people who are suspected of being illegal immigrants.  Thus far, Latino celebrities from Ricky Martin to George Lopez to Perez Hilton to Eva Longoria to Shakira have voiced their outrage against these recent developments, and with good reason.

Whatever you may feel on the subject of immigration (of which every single one of us – unless you’re Native American – is a descendant of immigrants), we cannot overlook the ways that racial profiling is done in such a way as to target certain communities.  Whether we’re talking about “Driving while Black,” “Flying while Arab,” or now, “Walking while Brown,” racial profiling promotes discrimination by suggesting that certain bodies are prone to criminalization or “illegal” status.

Not to mention the stereotypes it promotes.  When we discuss the subject of “immigrants,” we immediately jump to Mexicans, Central and Latin Americans, and conveniently overlook Eastern Europeans and Asians, for example.  Perhaps this is an issue of numbers, but if that is the case, we may have to ask ourselves why certain communities pose a “threat” and to whom is this “threat” posed.

Last year, I posted a blog on how David was redefining Latinidad.  Because of laws and prevailing attitudes, I cannot stress how important public figures like David really are in challenging stereotypes and bigotry.  His Latin pride combined with his “all-American” persona do much to challenge the rationale behind so-called racial profiles.  I doubt David will ever say anything on the issue – as other celebrities have done – but he just needs to be to showcase the irrationality of such laws and attitudes.

Posted on April 30, 2010, in current events. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Since I missed saying this in previous threads, HG congratulations on your one-year anniversary of Soul David. I bow to your sharp mind and writing talent first and foremost. On top of this, you know how to create a beautiful banner!

    And what an interesting topic this is. A lot to mull on. I can imagine David not openly challenging anything controversial until he is a little older. But then again, he’s already surprised many by singing the word “hell” recently. Excellent topic!

  2. I always thought that these problems only happening in my country (Argentina). But I see that evil has spread. All America would have to define our Latin, David is a good example, but not all we look like david. Someday we will look beyond skin color, beyond the facial traits, and only to look at the eyes to listen to each other, like david.
    When David looks at us, all around disappears, so would always have to be the connection between all human beings. When a person makes you feel special, You become special, that’s the only thing that matters.

  3. Wow, look at all this album info that frogcooke kept track of & submitted to David’s ‘official’ web site

    “Here’s what we know so far from David and twitter, regarding the album. This starts from last years writing sessions as well, not just the new writing sessions.”


  4. a tweet from David….he has his book!


    My 1st copy of “Chords of Strength” :)! http://twitpic.com/1jpt1n
    24 minutes ago via TwitPic

  5. Book. Includes photos!!!

  6. This post literally touches home with me. I’m glad that some entertainers are expressing their thoughts on the matter. The issues are very complex but there are numerous other approaches that could be considered. As I recall, a year ago David’s Abuelita provided Fanscene with an Arizona address (PO Box) for those who wished to write her. I’m hoping that David doesn’t tweet his views on Arizona. 🙂

    • I’m sure it’s more complicated than that. But, I’m also sure there is reason for the prevailing outrage and threatened boycotts.

  7. How do they profile people, HG? Is it by surname or colour?

    I don’t think I’ll ever understand how Americans define race. Here it used to be all about skin colour but, thankfully, now we’re reviewing such concepts in terms of ethnicity. Interestingly, to me at least, latinos were pointing out how ‘white’ most singers in the Somos El Mundo video are, as many felt we were being misrepresented. Heh. My skin is white but I have Afro blood in me, most definitely. Good luck profiling illegal Brazilians! 😉

    • Sorry, I thin I meant African blood.

    • Valbraz, from what I understand, if police suspect you are “illegal” on sight, they can grill you. So it sounds more like profiling by “color” more than by surname. And I hadn’t thought of how “white” the singers were in Somos El Mundo. Is that still an issue in the Latin world? (The invisibility or darker, browner, and blacker Latinos)

      • Yes, it is. Ironic, isn’t it? Brazil is the biggest African nation outside Africa and the real ‘melting pot’, for better or worse. I’m an optmist, though. Things have improved a lot over the last decade. We are a young democracy, but we have grown strong. I’ll be happy when our television shows more of the ‘real’ people and not artists shaped to emulate a European ideal.

      • Amazing Brazil is still “colorstruck” like this when they are, as you put it, the “biggest African nation outside Africa.”

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