novakBack in 1991, Public Enemy released a song called “By The Time I Get To Arizona,” and it dealt with the fact that the state refused to acknowledge Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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Scott Novak: Whose team are you going to be on?

Published 7:33pm Monday, August 2, 2010

Now, nearly 20 years later, Arizona is back in the national spotlight over another racially motivated action.

The state’s new immigration law, which parts of have been put on hold by the court system, seemed aimed at profiling Hispanics.

I understand they have an illegal immigration problem in the state, but the way they are handling it takes us back to another day and time. One I would just as soon we not revisit.

The lyrics of Public Enemy’s song were angry and harsh, but they were just what were needed at the time.

Perhaps we should take another look at those lyrics and apply them to the current situation in Arizona.

Within its borders, many residents of that state seem perfectly content with this law, while many around the rest of the country are looking at it through different eyes and they quite frankly don’t like what they see.

Back in 1991, Chuck D wrote:

“Read between the lines

Then you see the lie

Politically planned

But understand that’s all she wrote

When we see the real side

That hide behind the vote”

One has to wonder if the new immigration law in Arizona is really meant to stem illegals from entering the state or another reason.

Even the United States Justice Department has wondered aloud about the motivation of the law.

It took a country to stand up and pressure the State of Arizona, even threaten it, to get them to honor Dr. King.

Now it’s our turn to stand up again and speak out against what appears to be a racially motivated law.

Come on people, it’s 2010 and it’s time to get beyond the color of our skin.

We have too many other problems in this country to continue to fight this ridiculous fight.

It’s time to band together and roll up our sleeves and tackle our problems head on.

As sports writer I get to watch individuals from every walk of life, every religious background and all colors band together for one common purpose.

If we can do it in the sports arena, then we most certainly can do it in our everyday lives.

Public Enemy said it best 19 years ago.

It still rings true today:

“Gonna find a way

Make the state pay

Lookin’ for the day

Hard as it seems

This ain’t no damn dream

Gotta know what I mean

It’s team against team

Catch the light beam

So I pray

I pray every day”

Whose team are you going to be on?

Should we all stand back and keep our mouths shut or should be stand up and be counted?

We need to demand more from our government and we need to demand more from our country.

And most definitely, we need to demand more from ourselves.

Every now and then we need to draw a line in the sand.

This is our time.

I can only hope by the time we get to Arizona it’s not too late.

Because only we can stop it.

We must stop it before it takes hold and begins to spread.

Our country seems to be at a crossroad right now.

Which fork it takes is up to all of us.

Don’t be the silent minority.

Be the vocal majority.

It’s our time.

Scott Novak is Leader Publications sports editor.

E-mail him at

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