Charles Barkley Joins Chorus of Black Voices Condemning SB 1070

By Julianne Hing May 06, 2010

Charles Barkley gave his fans another reason to love him yesterday when he took to the radio to talk about Arizona’s SB 1070. Barkley, an Arizona resident, told radio host Dan Patrick:

DP: You’re a resident of Arizona, I’m curious if you think baseball should get involved with the immigration law. Do you like that they’re standing up for their players to say we’re concerned about this law? CB: I think we all need to. As a black person, I’m always against any form of discrimination or racial profiling…I think that we need to do two things. Living in Arizona, I’m disappointed that we came up with the law. But we need to do two things. We need to find a way to get these immigrants their citizenship, that’s the first thing, is to find a way to help them get citizenship. I’m very disappointed in John McCain. He used to be somebody I really admired and respected…Most of those immigrants here are busting their hump, doing a great job, and to go after them every couple years because you want to raise hell doing something to get re-elected, that’s disrespectful and disgusting.

Last week, a joint conference that the National Black Caucus of State Legislators had planned with the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators was moved out of the state, which was going to be held in Scottsdale, Arizona. Organizers of that conference criticized the law as "ill conceived," a "dangerous precedent for basic civil liberties." Last Friday, the Black fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha moved its yearly conference–this year it celebrates its 104th anniversary–out of Phoenix and over to Las Vegas. The board issued a strongly worded statement criticizing SB 1070.

It was the full opinion of the board that we could not host a meeting in a state that has sanctioned a law which we believe will lead to racial profiling and discrimination, and a law that could put the civil rights and the very dignity of our members at risk during their stay in Phoenix Arizona

Of SB 1070’s critics, there have been some unsurprising names–few were surprised see Rev. Al Sharpton or actor Danny Glover standing up next alongside Arizona’s immigrant rights advocates. But SB 1070 has galvanized communities of color; the immigrant rights movement is finding that it has allies across issue and racial lines.