American Sociological Association

Fueling White Injury Ideology: Public Officials’ Racial Discourse in Support of Arizona Senate Bill 1070

In a seemingly post-racial moment in 2010, Arizona’s Senate Bill (SB) 1070 was under fire and challenged as racially discriminatory. While the 2010 immigration bill was popular among white Arizonians, critics charged that SB 1070 could facilitate the racial profiling of all Latinos/as in state law enforcement officers’ efforts to check the legal status of those they suspect are undocumented. Analyzing 70 recordings from the Arizona house floor, press conferences, and television interviews during 2009–2012, I investigate how public officials discuss their support for this contested legislation. Proponents of the bill largely used color-blind maneuvers in response to questions concerning racial profiling but simultaneously constructed racialized undocumented immigrants as criminals and economic burdens. Consequently, political supporters of SB 1070 engaged in a racial discourse evoking an implicit white injury ideology that positioned whites as injured by the presence of racialized immigrants, while all Latinos/as were constructed as outside the (white, injured) citizenry.


Cassaundra Rodriguez





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