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Document Type

Campus Access

Degree Program

Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded

2013

Month Degree Awarded

September

Keywords

Latinos, racism, color-blind discourse, anti-immigrant racism, white injury ideology

Abstract

By 2010, forty-six years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and two years after the election of the nation's first Black president, Barack Obama, the U.S. had seemingly become a post-racial society. However, in 2010, Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 was under fire and challenged as racially discriminatory. While the bill was popular among white Arizonians, critics charged that SB1070 could facilitate the racial profiling of all Latinos in state law enforcement officers' efforts to check the legal status of those they suspect are undocumented. Analyzing 70 recordings from the Arizona house floor, press conferences, and television interviews during 2009-2012, I investigate how elected and public officials discuss their support for this contested legislation. Proponents of the bill largely used color-blind maneuvers in response to questions concerning racial profiling and Latinos, but simultaneously constructed racialized undocumented immigrants as criminals and economic burdens. Consequently, political supporters of SB 1070 engaged in a racial discourse evoking an implicit white injury ideology that positioned whites as injured by the presence of racialized immigrants, while all Latinos were discursively constructed as immigrants irrespective of their citizenship status, and therefore constructed as outside the (white injured) citizenry.

First Advisor

Enobong Hannah Branch

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