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Jewish World Review
June 1, 2007
/ 15 Sivan, 5767
Latino Fear and Loathing, Part II
It seems I've touched a raw nerve among my fellow conservatives. My column last week argued that "Some people just don't like Mexicans or anyone else from south of the border," and that this sentiment was playing a pervasive and destructive role in the current immigration debate. I estimated the number of such persons in the general population at about 10 percent, a figure I extrapolated from several studies and polls of racial attitudes taken in the last 20 years, which generally show that about one-in-10 Americans harbors some animus based on race.
Ten percent is not a very alarming number (Americans are among the least intolerant groups in all international studies of the issue), even though I think the group includes a disturbing number of influential voices on the right, who even if they don't personally share these views seem perfectly comfortable in the company of those who do. Those in positions of influence, whether elected leaders or talk show hosts, have a special responsibility not to inflame racial passions and animosities.
So how is it that some of my fellow conservatives have demonstrated that I am wrong to think a small group of them might not want Mexicans to come to America even legally?
On Townhall.com, these delightful bon mots appeared (I've preserved the original spelling and punctuation):
"Mexicans are pigs"
"They can be referred to as: Human Locusts. "
" Latino girls are baby factories. They fornicate like animals with no regard for the welfare of the child. Babies having babies while the boy goes out and screws someone else. Most latinos are liars. True again. Look at the corruption at all levels of the mexican government and it carries on to all the people."
"Quickly, the fact is that we're being invaded by an inferior culture. Every person of low quality we import plants a family-tree that bears low-quality fruit. The rotten fruit of that tree will rot our own fruit."
"We don't want spanish speaking little retards befouling our great country. REMEMBER SAN HACINTO1"
"And YES ,Illegals are lazy, disease infested, freeloading moochers. The fact they criminally enter the country automatically qualifies them as lazy freeloaders."
"Get a clue Chavez...we dont want wetbacks mooching our system and NO we dont need them. They are simply slave labor.nothing more."
"most Mexicans, especially men, are lazy good for nothing drunks who only care about sacking as many mujeres that they can."
I could go on; there are more than 300 posts on Townhall and hundreds more on less mainstream sites, but you get the point. It's hard to imagine that anyone could get away with posting such foul comments about blacks, or Jews, or gay people on a mainstream website.
But because I've exposed the nasty underbelly of the anti-immigrant crowd and let's be clear here, this debate is about more than illegal immigration I'm called a racist, as in this post: "Linda Chavez has revealed herself to be a racist who demonizes color-blind conservatives as racist. Special rights for Latino criminal invaders and mindless labeling to intimidate fair-minded Americans - that is what Linda stands for now."
There are hundreds of similar posts, usually alleging that my views on immigration are linked to my ancestry and inviting me to go back to Mexico from whence the last member of my family trekked north in 1701.
I want more secure borders and an end to illegal immigration but the only way that will ever happen is to adopt a market-based legal immigration system that allows sufficient numbers of workers to come here to fill jobs Americans shun. I've spent my entire professional career fighting against racial, ethnic and gender preferences; against bilingual education and multiculturalism; and for making English the official language of the country, for which I have suffered significant abuse, even physical attack. But I absolutely reject the view that our immigration policy should ever be premised on a racial or ethnic test, or that members of one group are somehow unfit to become Americans.
Most conservatives claim to be color-blind, but remaining silent in the face of such naked bigotry evokes Edmund Burke's dictum: "It is necessary only for the good man to do nothing for evil to triumph." It's time for those who truly are color-blind to disavow those in our ranks who are not.
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JWR contributor Linda Chavez is President of the Center for Equal Opportunity. Her latest book is "Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)
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