Arizona: Papers Please/Papeles Por Favor

(2PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

Please add the following update to your travel guides about visiting Arizona. It may be of assistance in avoiding unwanted, undesirable discussions with Arizona law enforcement, arrest and detention, and police harassment. If you already live in Arizona, something I wish on no one today, you already know everything I am about to write.  I am writing this so that others may reflect on your situation.

This is a bus stop in Tucson, Arizona.  I know it doesn’t look like a bus stop in New York, or Chicago, or New Orleans.  This is an Arizona bus stop:

tucson bus stop

There are some things that are very important if you are waiting for the bus at such a stop in Arizona.  

These are not listed in order of importance.  One of them is not to wear shoes that look like Huaraches.  This is a huarache:


If you wear this kind of foot gear, foot gear that was worn in Arizona and Mexico before 1500, police might think they should approach you.

Another thing not to do is wear a guayabera.  This is a guayabera:


Guayaberas are incredibly comfortable and stylish wear in warm places.  Like Arizona.  Guayaberas probably come originally from Cuba, but they are popular throughout Central America.  And Mexico.  And some people think they originated in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.  If you wear this kind of shirt, a shirt that has been worn throughout this hemisphere for more than 100 years, and was worn in Arizona before it became a state, police might think they should approach you.

Another thing not to do is read newspapers in Spanish.  This is what a Spanish language newspaper looks like:

el diario

Spanish language newspapers are really helpful if you’re trying to learn Spanish, a language which will soon be spoken by more than half of the people in the US.  Some Spanish language newspapers have wonderful local coverage and fantastic sports coverage.  If you want that information, you can read the paper.  And of course, there are a lot of people who find it easier to read a Spanish language paper than an English one.  Because Spanish is their original language. Nevertheless, if you read this kind of newspaper while you’re waiting for a bus, the police might think they should approach you.

A burrito is a flour tortilla  wrapped or folded around a filling.  The important part of the burrito is that it is made with a tortilla, and it looks like this:


If you are eating Tortillas in any form– burrito, tacos, enchiladas, totopos–  while waiting for a bus, the police might think they should approach you.

There is one other thing more than anything else that will probably make the police think they should approach you.  This is probably the most important, though some Arizona officials deny it.  You probably know what this is.  If you are brown skinned, or the police think you appear to be stereotypically Mexican, the police might think they should approach you.  It does not matter to them that you are a US citizen and that your family has been in Arizona for 350 years, or that you are a US citizen who was naturalized more recently, or that you are legally in the US, or that you are a Sephardic Jew, or Pakistani or Indian or an Arab or a Native of America.  It doesn’t matter to them whether you are part of the vast Mestizo race that lives in North America from Vancouver to Panama City.  They will think they can approach you and ask you for proof that you are legally waiting for the bus.

Of course, the chances if you are illegally in the US from China, Canada, or England, or Ireland, or Sweden, that you will be asked to show your papers is incredibly small.

The key salient factor is skin tone.  Please mark you travel guide accordingly.  

simulposted at The Dream Antilles


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  1. I recommend boycotting Arizona companies and conventions to the extent you can.  And donations to Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, who are committed to fighting this heinous legislation in Court.

    Thanks for reading.

    • Edger on April 25, 2010 at 20:06

    You can wear next to nothing here and nobody will bother you. It’s one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world. And everybody gets along fine.

  2. And to think I almost moved to Arizona a few years ago. I would have to move again now.

    That sob sheriff Arpaio was on some talk show this am and I was thinking someone should ask him for his papers cause his name sure does not sound english/white to me.

    I grew up in Germany and everybody has to have a picture Id with then at all times from the time they’re 14 yo. I don’t have a problem with this per se, but this AZ law is wrong since it leaves a lot of room for abuse. And knowing AZ cops abuse will happen and people will get hurt.  

  3. fucking up a country/contintent so bad it’s inhabitants seek life elsewhere.  On this continent the cause is NAFTA and in Europe it’s Islamic “relocation”.  Above all being anti-profiling in this world of tazer me bro and VMAD the G20 crowd is just about as good as Guam capsizing and falling into the ocean.

  4. of a real “progressive” movement.

    What do I mean?  Well, you know, the Teabaggers have their thing, the hate symbols, signs, language, you name it.

    I think it’s time to start wearing “black armbands” on a regular basis.  No words, no signs, just “black armbands” — to be worn daily (we can get a movement going in this way).  Easy to do.  Buy a small piece of black felt, measure the girth of your upper arm muscle, cut a piece of felt about 3″ by your arm measurement girth and add an inch or so.  Add Velco, and voila, you have a black armband.  Wear it daily — wear it proudly! When people ask you why you are wearing this black armband, you respond, “I’m mourning the death of America.”

    I really think something like this would really work — no rhetoric, no hatred, just a silent expression, with a terrific response, if asked why the black armband!  Yes?

  5. … provided you have a bushy bushy blond hairdo, a surfboard, and an ocean.

    If everybody had an ocean

    Across the U.S.A.

    Then everybody’d be surfin’

    Like Californ-i-a

    You’d see ’em wearin’ their baggies

    Huarache sandals, too

    A bushy bushy blond hairdo

    Surfin’ U.S.A.

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