Support Antigone Books

If you’re in the U.S., you’ve probably heard about SB1070, Arizona’s horrible racial-profiling immigration law. (Short form: cops are supposed to stop and demand papers from anybody they think might be in the country illegally. You know, brown people.)

janni posted recently about We Mean Business, a coalition of Arizona-local stores that are publicly declaring their opposition to the law. Being a writer, she specifically tagged Antigone Books as a store worth supporting; they’re part of IndieBound’s network of independent bookstores, and will ship to non-local addresses. Well, I’ve got a list twelve miles long of books I keep meaning to buy, so I moseyed on over to their site and picked one up. And, following Janni’s suggestion, I put a note on my order saying I appreciated their stand against SB1070.

Today I got a reply from the store owner, thanking me for that note — because they’ve been receiving a scary amount of hate mail. She didn’t say whether they’ve lost business because of their stand against SB1070, but if people are sending hate mail, I expect sales have fallen off, too. The question is whether sales from people who appreciate their decision have picked up enough to make the difference. If not, then Antigone Books, and other businesses like it, could be in danger of closing down.

If you’ve got a book you’ve been thinking about picking up, think about ordering it from Antigone. Everything I’ve heard about them says they’re good people, and they can special-order things they don’t have in current stock. I don’t live in Arizona, but I’d like to see stores of this kind stay in business.

0 Responses to “Support Antigone Books”

  1. kernezelda

    From what I can see, that’s not what the bill says. It says that if the cops have already stopped someone for a reason, they can then verify if the person is a legitimate resident or an illegal alien.

    • Marie Brennan

      Do you honestly believe the effect of the law will be other than I have described?

      • kernezelda

        No, but it’s not a new thing, and it doesn’t change anything except to enforce existing Federal law. The pre-existing law needs to be the focus of advocates for change, to render the Arizona law invalid.

        • Marie Brennan

          It adds additional provisions, which may or may not violate the reservation of these matters to federal law. It isn’t clear-cut at all, which is part of why there are lawsuits.

          None of which negates the fact that yes, we need federal-level reform of this issue, too.

  2. unboundscribe

    Small point:

    Short form: cops are supposed to stop and demand papers from anybody they think might be in the country illegally, IF they are already being stopped for some legitimate other legal reason, like speeding.

    I believe that the law could be used for racial profiling, but the truth is, that would be in flagrant disregard of what the law actually states. (Not that we don’t have plenty of that already, but that’s breaking/bending/abusing laws, not the fault of the laws themselves.) And also, we already HAVE this law on the federal books, but the feds don’t enforce it, so one state put the burden on their own state.

    I don’t actually know if I care about the law one way or the other, so not trying to rant or state a political opinion, but did want to point out that the law itself is slightly different than what everyone thinks it’ll be USED for.

    • Marie Brennan

      I suggest you scan through this, which is a reasonably concise rundown of the various legal objections to the act.

      The law does not lay out any clear, non-racially-based criteria for deciding what constitutes “reasonable suspicion” as to who might be an illegal immigrant. The practical result of this is that officers WILL rely on racial criteria. Given that any citizen of Arizona can sue a cop they think isn’t enforcing this energetically enough, there is strong pressure on officers to pursue suspects. The practical result of this is that, when in doubt, officers will err on the side of harassing legal citizens and residents. And given the documented history in this country of officers finding some kind of pretext for stopping a person they think looks “suspicious” — i.e. non-white — we can also expect a practical result of random Hispanic citizens being stopped for driving two mph over the speed limit, or any number of other technical infractions which are normally allowed to pass unremarked. (Not to mention the various other negative consequences the law will have, like discouraging people from contacting the police in emergency situations, for fear of other consequences.)

      I stand by my short form. We have abundant reason to think the law will be used in this fashion — not by every cop, but by enough to make it a problem. And it appalls me to know that a goodly portion of Arizona’s population thinks it would be a positive thing if their law enforcement singled out Hispanics for harassment in this fashion.

    • janni

      The law isn’t even in effect yet and there are reports of racial profiling here in AZ–a trucker detained while his wife had to fetch his birth certificate, a student detained four hours after being pulled over for speeding–in spite of fluent English and his family being here a century.

      What makes people feel “reasonably suspicious” of immigration status around here, maybe everywhere, is race.

      It’s the same reason Border Patrol always waves me through their checkpoints. As a white eastern European, I don’t look suspicious to them, but Hispanic friends and neighbors do.

  3. pentane

    I’ve always found it funny how people get so bent out of shape about immigration. It’s not like they’re not descended from immigrants anyway.

    I found Gangs of New York endlessly amusing for that very reason.

  4. janni

    Thanks for the signal boost!

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