One hot summer’s day in Georgia I was standing on the sidewalk in front of Fort Benning’s Infantry Officer Candidate School Headquarters talking to a white classmate of mine about a racial flare up of some sort that had happened the previous day down in Texas. Unapologetically he said, “My Pappy back in Tennessee taught me that the reason you Negroes have to ride on the back of busses is because you are inferior.”
With my training it would have taken me less than a minute to permanently take him out, but I would have ended up in prison. And while the thought of vengeance was sweet, the penalty was so bitter that I just clenched my teeth, shut my mouth and walked away from him.
Three weeks later I stood on that same sidewalk and watched a bus pull away within that same white classmate on it; he waved to me and I waved back. He had been kicked out of the school for academic deficiencies. I stayed on, graduated, and rose through the ranks to Major General before retiring.
As a black American, back in the days before civil rights laws were passed and before Obama was even born, the least of my problems was “Racial Profiling.” In fact, I would have welcomed a little racial profiling in place of many of the indignities my family and I had to suffer. So please forgive me if I don’t seem overly sympathetic about “suspected” illegal immigrants in Arizona having to show identification papers if they commit a crime. Immigrants must adjust and conform to the society of their host country. The country is not required to adjust and conform to the values, traditions, religion and customs of the immigrant.
Supposedly being asked to show legal identification papers strikes fear into the heart of the immigrant community. The immigrants I know, including those from Europe, are made of sterner “stuff” than that, though. Throughout Europe legal citizens are asked to show identification for all sorts of things, and few take offense at the requirement. I know because my family and I lived in Europe for more than a decade.
The President of the United States and the nation’s governors are expected to protect America’s citizens. That’s what the state Arizona state legislature was doing when it passed a law requiring suspected “illegals” to prove that their presence in the state is legal. And that’s what Governor Jan Brewer was doing when she signed that bill into law.
Unfortunately if the U.S. Congress and President Obama were doing their jobs properly they would have addressed and solved the problem of illegal immigration — since it is a federal problem — and the state of Arizona would not have been forced to do what they’re doing now.
No doubt many who are asked to show identification papers will turn out to be legal residents of the state of Arizona — but so what? If a highway patrolman stops one of us for speeding, we show our driver’s license and car registration and think nothing of it, unless it is to thank God that someone is checking “illegals.”
If showing papers to establish legality in the nation or state offends or angers someone, then so be it. That’s far safer than a suspicious person who was never stopped because the Highway Patrolman didn’t want to give offense, later going on to detonate a car bomb in downtown Phoenix.
I agree with Clarence W. Dupnik the sheriff of Pima County Tucson, Arizona, “What we need is assistance from the federal government in the form of effective strategies to secure the border. Additionally, the federal government must take up this issue in the form of comprehensive immigration reform policy.” To put it bluntly, our southern border is out of control and our President refuses to help us get it back under control.
It’s time for President Obama and the U.S. Congress to show some real leadership by getting control of our borders and the illegal immigrant problem. The fear of offending illegal immigrants by racial profiling at the expense of America’s security is grossly misplaced political correctness. And it is dangerous.
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