Is Phoenix Latino-friendly?
October 28, 2010 8:43 PM   Subscribe

Considering moving to Arizona. Difficulty: Hispanic wife.

I recently got a job in Phoenix, and am currently living by myself while my wife and daughter stay in Texas. I really like the place; the people seem very friendly. In fact, I'm considering flying my family here to live. Considering the immigration law here, would my Mexican-American wife get the same courteous attitude I'm encountering from the general public, or am I just seeing things through white-colored glasses?
posted by Bernt Pancreas to Society & Culture (9 answers total)
You'll be fine. I have Hispanic friends there who say nothing has changed. The whole thing was blown way out of proportion in the media. (All the law did was try to give State police the same powers Federal immigration officers have...).
posted by luke1249 at 8:52 PM on October 28, 2010

Speaking as a Mexican American woman, there is a pretty unfriendly vibe in lots of places in this nation. Arizona is obnoxiously visible about it, but if certain factions in Texas had their way the only way I would have gotten into the university would have been as a member of the cleaning staff. There's a lot of grumbling going around in places like Nevada, Colorado, even California, that portray Mexicans as a scourge on the county. Take Rick Perry's ridiculous border fence as an example of the kind of cynical abuse of racist hysteria that is springing up all over the country (it's a sister to the OMGMUSLIMS redonk happening on the East coast.) Take as another example actual government employees rummaging through people's private files in Utah, looking for people to report to Immigration.
So the question becomes, if it wasn't bothering her in Texas, will it be that much worse in Arizona? To which I respond, at least in Arizona the Mexican American community is united against this, visible, and growing social and political coalitions. So maybe in Arizona it might even be better than Texas (I know, perish the thought. Go Horns.)
posted by pickypicky at 9:07 PM on October 28, 2010

Mr. 26.2 is Latino and sometimes works in his Phoenix office. He's never mentioned having any issues during his trips there. We've traveled in SoCal/Arizona and no on bats an eye at us even though I'm Nordic looking and he's obviously Mexicano.

You might find isolated incidents of jerks being jerks, but it's generally a non-issue.
posted by 26.2 at 9:24 PM on October 28, 2010

I am not Hispanic, but I live in Phoenix and work with several Hispanic women. I haven't heard of any issues as a result of SB1070 (or anything else race/creed/origin/etc related) from any of the ladies I work with (and you know how women are about sharing outrage). And though I am not much of a news-watcher, I haven't heard anything from anyone else either (excepting our amazing governor, who likes to make stuff up). I really don't see how it would be any different here than it is in Texas. As 26.2 said: there is the occasional isolated jerk, but those occur everywhere.

I agree with everyone above - She won't have any problem.
posted by LyndsayMW at 9:56 PM on October 28, 2010

Speaking as someone from Arizona whose entire extended family's in Texas, from what I've observed, Texas might actually be worse with the racism. One of my best friends and roommates in Arizona was Hispanic, and the one time anyone said anything nasty to her, she was in tears because it had never happened before and she was flabbergasted. (Not to excuse the person, but one unpleasant incident in 25 years is not horrible odds.)

I'd make sure the school district you're in has a good mix of ethnicities for your daughter, as some of the more Mormon areas are ridiculously white (95%+). Some of the smaller towns to the north will also be worse, but it doesn't sound like you're looking to live anywhere outside of the Phoenix metro area. Does your wife speak good English? I think the situation might be slightly more negative if she doesn't.

I moved out of AZ shortly before SB1070 got put into place, so I don't know how the situation has changed for the average person since then. Since I haven't heard any negative reports from my friends, I've been assuming not much. Then again, I don't know if any of my Hispanic friends have actually had to deal with a cop for anything in the intervening time, so I don't know about the "papers" situation.
posted by wending my way at 10:17 PM on October 28, 2010

The best way to find out how it would be for your wife is to have her come visit! Invite her out for a week and see if she is made uncomfortable by people in Arizona. She's really the only one who can judge what her own experience is like.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:59 PM on October 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

[few comments removed - OP is asking about advice from people who know what's going on in Arizona, not general moving advice or "how do I make a decision"]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:35 AM on October 29, 2010

What part of Texas are they currently in? Because if you're talking about Dallas --> Phoenix move, she would most likely be okay. But if you're talking about something more akin to a San Antonio --> Phoenix move, she can expect to encounter significantly higher levels of clueless and obnoxious Anglo behavior than what she's used to. Also, SB1070 did not change people's behaviors and attitudes. Rather, it's a REFLECTION of people's behaviors and attitudes. Do you want to live in a place populated by people who elected legislators who legislate this kind of crap?

Also, think about your daughter. Do you want her to grow up learning that people like her do not belong in this country, are leeches, hoodlums, and the general scourge of society who must be kept out at all costs lest they destroy our country? Do you want her to grow up learning that she can't feel proud of her ethnic heritage? Being taught in school that only White people/Anglos made any contributions noteworthy enough to be taught in school because HB2281 means that it's illegal to teach about the history of Chicanos in US Southwest?

If you do decide to move there, be very very careful about neighborhood/school district. Find out the percentage of Chicano vs. Anglo students tracked into special ed courses versus honors courses, relative to the percent of students in the general population. See what the school policy is on name calling. Look at the ethnic composition of the teachers and leaders in her school. Do they reflect who she is (e.g., she sees herself as a potential leader)? Be a very aware and proactive parent so that you can protect her.
posted by peachy at 7:01 AM on October 29, 2010 [7 favorites]

posted by Forktine at 8:01 AM on October 31, 2010

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