Thursday, March 30, 2006

I come not to praise Lou, but to ...

When I wrote about the presence of Spanish and Spanish-speakers in American history, I had not intention of dogpiling on Lou Dobbs, but he deserves it. He has misinformed the public about Latinos/as and their part in American history, and there is some evidence that his ideas of immigration and border security are driven by racist attitudes towards them. Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez really nailed him:

(Lou Dobbs, Chief CNN DUMBASS)

Open letter to CNN and other mainstream US media outlets:


1. The vast majority of Hispanics/Latinos in the U.S. (75 percent of us) were born and raised here, including many of us who have roots here that predate the arrival of the pilgrims.

2. "Immigrant" is not synonymous with "Latino" and the media should stop pretending they mean the same thing.

3. The CNN analyst who said today "Keep in mind, Latino voters are LEGAL immigrants, not illegal immigrants" should be FIRED for sloppy thinking. MOST LATINOS ARE NOT IMMIGRANTS AT ALL, PINCHE CABRON.

Click here to read more.
4. Immigrants to contemporary USA come from EVERYWHERE. There are, for instance, 100,000 Nigerians in Houston, and tens of thousands of ILLEGAL Irish in Boston and other parts of the nation. If this debate is truly about immigration, as opposed to racist portrayals of Latinos, please curb your coverage to be more responsible.

5. Just because someone waves a Mexican or Colombian flag at a peaceful demonstration does not mean the demonstration is a "riot" or the people unAmerican. Lou Dobbs should get his panties out of a knot and realize it is no different than someone waving an Irish flag in Southie or an Italian flag on Columbus Day. These flags are not waved as proof of national allegiance; they are waved in solidarity with a person's cultural heritage.

6. You can be a Mexican American and never have had an ancestor come over the US border; vast portions of the United States of today USED TO BE MEXICO or SPAIN. If you failed to learn this in high school, your teachers should be fired.

7. The vast majority of Hispanics/Latinos in the US speak English as a first language. The Pew Center for Hispanic research shows that by the third generation, all Latin American immigrant descendents - 100 percent of them - are English-first, English dominant. Zero percent speak Spanish as a first or primary language by the third generation.

8. The US has TWO international borders, not ONE. To date, not a single terrorist has gotten to the US through Mexico; to date, at least two suspected terrorists have arrived here through Canada. In fact, I would not be surprised if, while the media and xenophobes are focused on the Mexican border, terrorists figure out that it might be a good idea to walk over from Vancouver to Seattle for a latte. Oh, and all international anti-American terrorists who have come to the U.S. so far have been *smart* enough to come with passports and other documents supplied to them by the deep pockets of their organizations. Do you really think a terrorist from Saudi Arabia is going to think it's a good idea to swim over the border to Texas or Arizona with a bunch of Mexicans? How stupid is that?!?

9. Not all Hispanics/Latinos are Mexican or of Mexican origin in the U.S., and most people of Mexican extraction in the US were born in the UNITED STATES.

10. Please check for plans to give Haliburton the contract to build a wall along the Mexican border before caving in to the right-wing propaganda about a "crisis" in immigration from Mexico.

11. Please be careful when you discuss these issues not to stereotype or overgeneralize. The anti-Latino frenzy you're creating is leading to a racist backlash against tens of millions of native-born Americans who happen to have Spanish names.

12. The following are also Spanish names: California, Arizona, Florida, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, Las Vegas. Why does CNN allow states, cities and rivers with Spanish names to be American, while disallowing American people with Spanish names the same right...? Mister Dobbs, you may no longer say the names of most states in the United States, because only SEVEN U.S. states have English names; the rest are Spanish or Native American. English-only, sir. Make up new names, change your rhetoric, or stop talking about Los Angeles altogether.

13. Please tell us what the problems are that are caused by illegal immigrants. Don't just say there is a "debate". Tell us in concrete terms what the risks and dangers are being brought to the US by "illegal" immigrants. Now tell us how these problems, if any, differ from the problems caused by U.S. citizens of all other backgrounds. Be precise. Can't find any? Thought so.

14. Please remember that the least legal and least assimilable of American immigrants were...the English. And the only people who can claim to be true "Americans" are Native Americans.

15. Most Mexicans are Native Americans.

16. Shut up about this non-issue and get back to BEING JOURNALISTS, covering the REAL issues, like the illegal war in Iraq and the lies that got us there; the record-setting trade deficit; Bush's bankrupting of America; NSA's illegal wiretapping of American citizens; the fact that our public schools are MORE segregated than they were before Brown vs. the Board of Education; the fact that we as a nation have now slipped to having only the 27th freest press in the world; the Plame leak and the consequences of it being that Americans are much less safe than we were before Cheney and his friends played "revenge"; the disappearance of the American middle class and unions; the sorry state of the FAA; the rapid devaluation of the American dollar on the world market thanks to idiot leaders; the dismantling of the endangered species act by our administration; the rapid and unprecedented rise of a white underclass (the fastest rise in poor whites in American history has occurred under Bush); the enormous and growing gap between rich and poor in America.


All best,

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

5 Comments:

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