School officials in Alabama are reporting a sudden disappearance of Hispanic students. The Associated Press reports that some parents said they planned to leave the state “to avoid trouble with the law, which requires schools to check students’ immigration status.”
Like that old joke about 100,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean, this is a good start. But it’s only that. The last time we Americans relied on the government to solve our problems, we got the Interstate Highway System. To hasten the process, we must take matters into our own capable hands.
Sociologists use the term “benign peer pressure” to describe exertions of leverage that fall beneath the threshold of legislation, without descending to that of the mail bomb. There’s no end of ways ordinary citizens like you or I can back up our state bureaucracies in sending the message that gate-crashers aren’t welcome at this quinceañera:
1. Find out who built all those Spanish-colonial buildings; call and ask, “Excuse me, but isn’t there a perfectly good English-colonial style?”
2. Make the same point with whoever owns those supermarkets that stock Spanish rice; breed a minmast — a miniature English mastiff — to replace the chihuahua.
3. Lobby municipal governments to change suspicious place-names. Casa Grande can become “Big House”; Sierra Vista, “Ridgeview.” Both names promise suburban tranquility, fresh-cut lawns and spreading oak trees. “Mesa” translates to “Table” — the very essence of domesticity. And imagine what will happen if they rename the Agua Fria River the “Cold Water River” — deaths from hypothermia should dwindle to zero within five years, tops.
4. When Cinco de Mayo rolls around, spend the day singing French Foreign Legion marching songs and watching Beau Geste remakes, including that one with Michael York and Marty Feldman.
5. Learn the translation of “Viva Mexico, hijos de la chingada!”; drop it into casual conversations. If they can use it, so can you — just like the N-word.
6. Use the international language of music: Whenever you see a Latino child under the age of ten, sing “Anchors Aweigh.”
7. Spread scurrilous rumors about Dora the Explorer. If necessary, doctor up some incriminating frames.
8. Billboard Campaign: “GROWING A MUSTACHE MAKES A MAN LOOK LIKE A COP OR A GAY GUY FROM, LIKE, TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO.”
9. Put clocks everywhere.
10. Remember: Every day is Anglo-American Day. Whatever you’re wearing is an Anglo-American folk costume and whatever you’re doing is an Anglo-American folk custom. And if you’re not, literally, Anglo-American, have the common freaking decency to pretend. If your grandparents hadn’t wanted you to be one, they wouldn’t have come here. So go on with your bad selves, Nigel and Pippa.