Life can be tough for immigrants, whether they've immigrated from Mexico to the United States, from Algeria to France, or from India to the United Kingdom. Having different beliefs and a different culture often makes it difficult for new residents to be accepted among older ones, but add in an obvious difference in looks and immigrants can stick out like sore thumbs. While many people are accepting of newcomers, there are plenty who do all they can to make sure they don't have to share their town, their jobs, or their friends with anyone different. Here at Gringo Mask, we believe in equality and fair chances and have devoted our website to helping immigrants settle in and older residents be more accepting.

So where does the name Gringo Mask come from? It comes from an a law passed in Arizona in 2010 where all immigrants must have their documentation on them at all times and police are encouraged to question any suspected illegal immigrants. Many people, including the Miami-based Zubi ad agency that originated the idea, feared this would lead to racial profiling, so they invented paper cut-out "Gringo Masks" (which are featured in our header) to protest the law. Though these masks were designed for a specific incident, they can be useful in any protest against racism and racial profiling.

Racial profiling is unfortunately common in our post-911 world. It is not only Hispanic immigrants who are hassled by authorities worried about the possibility that they may be in the country illegally. Middle Easterners, many of whom have never had a violent thought in their life, are also singled out by people in authority and ordinary Westerners as having potential terrorist connections. If you belong to a minority, racial profiling can make your life very difficult. We can offer some strategies for coping as well as ideas for protests against this unfairness.

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It is important not to get the issues of illegal immigration and racial profiling/racism mixed up, therefore we encourage anyone who wishes to live in another country to get the proper paperwork. This way if you are ever hassled, you retain the moral high ground. If you are rejected by the immigration authorities, we can advise you on the steps you can take to secure legal entry into a country. If you think the immigration laws are unfair, we will show you the avenues down which you can send your complaints.

The world has come a long way toward racial equality in the last hundred years or so, but we are not there yet. If you belong to a minority and are experiencing racism, this site may contain some helpful advice on how to deal with it. If you belong to the majority and would like to help stamp out racist behavior and attitudes, we've got some ideas for you, too. Just click on the navigation bar at the top of the page to start perusing our articles.

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Joanna Kalbarczyk, Real Estate Agent
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