Thursday, April 23, 2009

JIM CROW RETURNS TO THE SOUTH, WITH LATINOS AS THE NEW BLACKS

Joshua Holland, AlterNet - According to a study by the Southern Poverty Law Center, low-income Latinos in the American South are living in what one participant described as a "war zone."

The report was based on interviews with hundreds of poor Latinos -- U.S. citizens and legal and illegal immigrants alike. It paints a bleak picture of the routine abuses faced by those among a marginalized underclass.

According to the authors, poor Latinos in the South "are routinely cheated out of their earnings and denied basic health and safety protections. They are regularly subjected to racial profiling and harassment by law enforcement. They are victimized by criminals who know they are reluctant to report attacks.". . .

According to the report:

This treatment - which many Latinos liken to the oppressive climate of racial subordination that blacks endured during the Jim Crow era - is encouraged by politicians and media figures who scapegoat immigrants and spread false propaganda. And as a result of relentless vilification in the media, Latinos are targeted for harassment by racist extremist groups, some of which are directly descended from the old guardians of white supremacy.

The authors add, "instead of acting to prohibit and eliminate systematic exploitation and discrimination against Latinos, state and local governments in much of the South have exacerbated the situation" through harsh local policies and over-the-top rhetoric about illegal immigration.

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