Five Songs and Artists Protesting Joe Arpaio's Racial Profiling

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A federal judge ruled last month that Sheriff Joe Arpaio was using racial profiling against Hispanics in Maricopa County. Many Phoenicians didn't need a judge to tell them that, but now it's at least been acknowledged by someone who has the power to demand change.

On the heels of the decision came the end of a massive recall effort meant to challenge Arpaio's contested sixth term as sheriff of Maricopa County. Ultimately, the recall failed, but the saga of Phoenix and Arpaio is far from over. So, here's a list of artists who have come out in opposition of Senate Bill 1070, the infamous "papers please" legislation.


Bright Eyes
Conor Oberst, the lead singer of Bright Eyes, was one of the earliest supporters and strongest proponents of The Sound Strike, a collective of artists boycotting Arizona in opposition of SB 1070. The video for "Coyote" features Oberst playing the piano in the desert and walking parallel to the permanent border, calling out to his loved one who has "gone below the border": "I'm sending the coyote to bring you back to me."

A coyote (as well as being a mammal) is also a guide who brings migrants from Mexico into the U.S., and the reference to a dangerous facet of life on the border made Oberst's narrative the subject of a lot of contention. Like many Bright Eyes songs, "Coyote" has the signature folksy sound combined with Oberst's croaky voice that the band is recognized for, but the difference this time around is that he's singing about the border, rather than a Bowl of Oranges, or A Perfect Sonnet.

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15 comments
nbrooks4
nbrooks4

Hmmmm, you live on the border where many illegals cross daily from Mexico.  What are you suppose to target? Asians? I have lived in Phoenix for over 16 years..... Love him or hate him he is doing a great job in Arizona and after MANY years of investigations and people bitching, he still holds his job!  Please remember, a lot of the illegals are criminals, killers, gang bangers...... Many innocent farmers have been killed by these illegals crossing the border. 

Amanda Zawjatunazmul
Amanda Zawjatunazmul

That's terrible. The reason people do things illegally this often is in part because the legal way has been made too difficult. And it's ineffective at weeding out the bad people as they claim. Notably the Boston bombers were here legally and yet my husband and your coworker's soon-to-be ex who so far can't. We're about to give up on the US and just try to get a permanent UK visa for me. It's easier.

Gary Waterman
Gary Waterman

I couldn't agree more. A quick story about a guy I work with. He is a born and raised US citizen of Hispanic heritage. His wife (whom he met here) is an undocumented Mexican citizen. After looking into how to make her legal they realized their BEST option was to sneak her BACK into Mexico to begin the long paper process. 3 years later, they are still waiting. She had a job here. She quit a job here to do things the RIGHT way. End of story. The stress and distance was to much. They are currently getting a divorce. :(

Gary Waterman
Gary Waterman

20..count them.. 20 stories about Amy's Bakery in 1 month is worth while journalism? Being a magazine so dedicated to the removal of a Sheriff (Of which I agree he needs to go) that they opt for unbalanced and unfair reporting? This tactic actually BOOSTS his support because you come across as a bunch of crazy people. Posting so many articles leaning to the support of undocumented immigrants, yet not 1 mention that the guy who ran over the police officer is an undocumented immigrant (YES this is important...and relevant) makes your magazine appear to be completely and wholeheartedly biased, politically motivated and little more than a "Political action group". Posting a video of a police officer in an altercation with a guy outside a convenience store that doesn't look real good for the officer while opting to NOT show the 2nd video released a full 14 hours prior by other news organizations that appears to tell a different story. Is THAT how fair journalism is done...or is that how "New Times journalism" is done?? I don't NEED to know the inner workings of New Times. Your handy work is plastered in front of everyone's face to see. But please do explain the guidelines New Times lays out for it's "reporters"?

Francisco Cortez
Francisco Cortez

I'm glad someone reports on all the corruption going on in Arizona. Keep up the great work PNT.

Phoenix New Times
Phoenix New Times

You're revealing how little you know about the Phoenix New Times, and the journalism industry as a whole, Gary.

Amanda Zawjatunazmul
Amanda Zawjatunazmul

How about instead of voting on songs, we go out and do things in the community that are actually productive. Like helping victims of discrimination directly and working to give people better access to legal manners of entry to the USA. It's ridiculously hard to get into the USA. I, AS A CITIZEN, have been fighting for 2 years to bring my husband here and have had to go back and forth to England to see him. And this is a man with 2 master's degrees in business and science. So I can't even imagine the utter Hell that a Latino person goes through as a blue collar worker or otherwise just to get the chance to do what the rest of us born here take for granted.

Gary Waterman
Gary Waterman

^^^ Bob, i dont think New Times considers 20 stories about a failed bakery to be a saga. Or 800 stories about a Sheriff. They consider it to be in depth hard nosed reporting. (They dont realize the rest of us see them for what they are. A bunch of 'Couldnt cut it as a REAL reporter anywhere else, pot head liberals..with little actual education about the real world)

mikegray10
mikegray10

And no mention of local Haymarket Squares? I know this ain't Rolling Stone, but "Sheriff Joe" is a clear winner here in AZ.

Bob Rebsamen
Bob Rebsamen

Your recall campaign failed, move on to Armies Bakery sagga.

Pete_Petrisko
Pete_Petrisko

I think you do the cause a disservice when you feature sound strikers like Bright Eyes. When the local community needed 'em most, they decided to Whine Against the Machine From a Safe Distance... instead of rolling up their sleeves and coming AZ to energize opposition directly. I don't feel they should be rewarded again with more free publicity.


"Sheriff Joe" by The Haymarket Squares would've been a much better choice than either of Oberst's examples of long-distance signature folksy hypocrisy.

DigitalRev Az
DigitalRev Az

Whichever one talks about putting a decent opponent against him for once.

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