Laura Ingraham’s Controversial Remarks are Rooted in a Long History of Fear

In case you missed it, here is CNN’s Brian Stelter’s report on Ingraham’s recent comments about “massive demographic changes.”

Ingraham is correct about the demographic changes facing America today.  This is not the first time we have seen such changes.  It is also not the first time that Americans have responded to such changes with fear-mongering.  This time around the fear-mongers have a cable television channel.

A few more points:

  1. Ingraham says “the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore.”  She says this in the context of immigration and demographic change.   And then she says that her statement is not about race or ethnicity.  Seriously?  Then how does Ingraham define the America “that we know and love?”
  2. Tucker Carlson says “no society has ever changed this much, this fast.”  This sounds like something a white Southerner might say during the late 1860s and 1870s, the period of Reconstruction when freed slaves were trying to integrate into southern society.
  3. In her response, Ingraham condemns white supremacists.  But her comments about immigration and “demographic change” seems to be little more than a defense of a white America that she believes is being threatened by people of color.  How is this any different than David Duke and others?
  4. How does Tucker Carlson know that we are undergoing “more change than human beings are designed to digest?”
  5. Ingraham says that “the rule of law, meaning secure borders” is what “binds our country together.”  On one level, Ingraham is correct here.  Immigration restriction and securing the borders once bound America together as a white Protestant nation.  White Protestants did not want Chinese men and women coming into the country, so they “bound our [white Protestant] country together” by passing the Chinese Exclusion Act.  White Protestants did not want more Italians and other southern Europeans coming into the country, so they passed the Johnson-Reed Act (1924) to restrict them from coming.  So yes, Ingraham is correct when she says “the rule of law” and “secure borders” have bound our country together.  It was racist then.  It is racist now.  On another level, Ingraham probably needs a history lesson.  For most of the 19th-century, the United States did have something equivalent to open borders.  So there has been a significant chunk of American history when secure borders did not bind America together.
  6. I will let someone else tackle this, but “merit-based immigration” seems like a racist dog-whistle.  This reminds me of when Trump said that we need more Norwegian immigrants and less immigrants from “shithole” countries.

Often-times fear is propagated by Christians who claim to embrace a religious faith that teaches them that “perfect love casts out fear.”  This faith calls us to respond to demographic change with love, not fear.

By the way, I wrote a book about how fear of such “demographic change” led evangelicals into the arms of Donald Trump.

Believe Me 3d

One thought on “Laura Ingraham’s Controversial Remarks are Rooted in a Long History of Fear

  1. Here’s some merit-based info. Tucker brought up one fact-checkable issue – Hazelton, PA.

    An easily found article at the CNN Money website is titled, “How Latinos are saving this former Pennsylvania mining town,” and paints a more hopeful picture. This may not allay white fear completely but certainly helps to erase the Trumpian-myth of Hispanics = MS-13. A few excerpts:

    “Not so long ago, Hazleton was on the edge of extinction. The coal mines were shutting down, the older generation was dying off and younger residents were leaving town to find better paying jobs.”

    “But things have changed dramatically since that time. These days, Latinos are Hazleton’s driving economic force.”

    “Since 2000, the town’s Latino population has exploded from 4% to more than 40% and dozens of Latino-owned businesses have opened, providing thousands of much needed jobs.”

    “Not only are many of the city’s small businesses owned by Latinos, but three of the area’s biggest employers — Bimbo Bakeries USA, Mission Foods, and Wise — are Mexican-owned companies.”

    “Together, these companies employ about 5,000 workers, said Francisco Torres-Aranda, the region’s commissioner of Latino affairs.”

    And, of course, the success of Hispanics in revitalizing the town leads to greater opportunity for all of the people of the community. It’s easy to see that the Trump-Miller anti-immigration (now extending to “legal” immigrants) policies are folly and harmful.

    Like

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