Once again, the ADL clearly states that there is an important discussion that needs to happen regarding immigration, and yet, still, people with little insight, miss the point. It is amazing that the for an article with the subtitle, “Blog comments reflect stereotyping and bigotry”, you will find hateful and misinformed comments replicated in the comment section of THAT article. What the ADL IS advocating, AGAIN, is that people step away from the scapegoating of hispanics and look at the historical relationship between hate rhetoric and the dangerous journey it has taken some nations.

The Houston Chronicle made some important discoveries with its recent series by Susan Carroll on the failure of law enforcement officials to deport or keep in jail illegal immigrants who commit crimes.

Certainly the Chronicle’s investigation pointed out shortcomings in our legal and immigration systems that need to be fixed. The release of any criminal who goes on to commit more crimes, whether he or she is in this country legally or not, can be called a miscarriage of justice.

What concerns us at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is despite Carroll’s attempts to reach readers with the results of research that “found that recent immigrants are far less likely than their U.S.-born counterparts to commit crimes and end up in prison,” anti-immigrant bigots seized on parts of her series to insult, stereotype, and even advocate violence against immigrants and others they perceived to be immigrants, especially Hispanics.

Here are some examples of the comments from Chronicle blogs:

• “This is a no-brainer to me. Start with the jails and get all those people deported, then construction companies, garbage companies, landscape companies, restaurants and must I go on?”
• “All of our grandchildren’s children are going to live in a third world country.”
• “We the taxpayers are footing the bill for these society leeches.The people from Katrina were bad enough. Our crime rate is still high.”
• “I got a great idea — just shoot them on the spot if they commit a serious crime in Texas.”

These comments should offend all of us, and must be challenged. One only need look at the Holocaust to see the results of relentless, pervasive bigotry. The Nazis began their campaign with words and pictures against Jews, Slavs, political dissidents, Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals and the mentally and physically disabled.

Law enforcement officers in ADL’s Law Enforcement in Society course, taught jointly with Holocaust Museum Houston and the Houston Police Department, review Nazi-created images to see how the Nazis used elaborate media campaigns to turn people against certain groups.

They include a newspaper photo of a “search for dissident contraband” in a Jewish neighborhood, and another photo of an official-looking man questioning a Roma woman for research in “criminal biology,” a pseudo-science that maintained certain groups were more likely to be criminals because of the makeup of their blood. As images like that grew more pervasive, even well-educated people started to believe them. An estimated 11 million people died as the result of 12 years of hatred fueled by biased propaganda, and compounded by the silence of those who didn’t speak out against the hate.

Unfortunately, we already see signs that anti-immigrant rhetoric has led to more overt and violent consequences.

ADL has noticed an increase in such rhetoric among extremist groups in recent years, coupled with a marked increase in hate incidents and hate crimes against Latinos and those perceived to be Latinos. Further, the FBI has documented a disturbing four-year trend in the increase of hate crimes against Latinos from 475 in 2005 to 595 in 2007 nationally.

We caution readers to refrain from taking the Chronicle’s well-intentioned and informative series, a series that found some real problems, and using those problems to justify prejudice and bigotry against all immigrants. As the reporters and columnists, including Carroll, Lisa Falkenberg and Rick Casey indicated, study after study has found that recent immigrants, even illegal immigrants, are less likely to commit crimes than American-born citizens. Harvard Sociology Professor Robert J. Sampson and his colleagues found in a study they completed several years ago that first-generation immigrants were 45 percent less likely to commit violence than were third-generation Americans.

The Chronicle exercised responsible journalism in showing all sides of the issue. It reported its findings of problems with the way the justice system handles immigrant criminals, and it also reported facts that show the problem is not immigrants in general. Now it is time for us to do our part.

We need to read such articles thoroughly and thoughtfully. If the bloggers quoted above had done so, perhaps they wouldn’t be so quick to paint all immigrants with a broad brush. We should ask our elected representatives, law enforcement officials and media to avoid demonizing immigrants and to work together with us to solve real problems and promote understanding.

We are a proud nation of immigrants. It is one of the dramatic success stories of world history. Most of the people who cross our borders today contribute positively to our society. Yes, our system has its problems, but those problems are only going to get worse if we address them with them hateful words and actions, instead of positive solutions. One solution to the problem is a comprehensive immigration reform that balances fairness, compassion and security. The other is to leave hate rhetoric out of the debate.

Nathan is the national chair of the Anti-Defamation League’s Civil Rights Committee; Cominsky is ADL Southwest Regional Director.

74 Thoughts to ““Blog comments reflect stereotyping and bigotry” an article in the Houston Chronicle”

  1. Lucky Duck

    NGL, I understand your premise for being critical of CT to a degree, although blindly accepting the points of an openly anti-white poster only drag your points down to the level you put Citizen Tom’s comments on. If Citizen Tom’s points are considered racist by you, please reread the comments of the anti-white and please apply the same standard.

    To address your point, I agree with you that people migate for survival and I would too. However, what is the obligation of the peoples of the nation that those individuals illegally enter? Isn’t the level of support or aid to be given a choice that the legal residents get to make instead of those who enter illegally? While everyone should be treated in a respectful manner without harm, we don’t owe everything to individuals who are not legal residents or citizens and by that status get to decide things.

  2. Citizen Tom,

    I don’t recall saying that you ‘believe darker skin color means less ability to be educated’. Your attempts to put words in my mouth notwithstanding, my beef is with your arrogant labeling of these immigrants as ignorant, uneducated, and unqualified to ‘run a Democratic Capitalist state’.

    Ignorant and uneducated by whose standards? White peoples’? Haha. Excuse me, but you need better standards than that.

    In every generation, the majority of white people have said that institutionalized racism wasn’t a problem, and in every generation they have been dead wrong. If we should judge by performance, the track record for white people when it comes to racism is abysmal. In the Racism 101 class, they get an F.

    And as a result of their bigotry, white people have been the greatest enemies of the promise of our Constitution since the day our country was born. Generation after generation they have found new and creative ways to disenfranchise people of color. They have denied millions upon millions of their countrymen the American dream, and thereby contributed to the diminishment and brittleness of our nation.

    If anyone needs enlightenment, if anyone needs educating, if anyone needs saving from their own ignorance, it is white people like yourself.

    Does a person need a white-people-approved education to learn how to love their children? Do they need a white-people-approved education to learn how to summon the integrity to give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay every day?

    There are some degrees that can’t be earned in college, but these degrees are not recognized as worthy of accreditation by our self important white-owned institutions. Because in a culture that has devolved into one wherein value is measured in dollars and cents, the metrics no longer exist to measure the contributions these poor and desperate people have brought to our shores.

    …people who cannot suffer can never grow up, can never discover who they are. That man who is forced each day to snatch his manhood, his identity out of the fire of human cruelty that rages to destroy it knows, if he survives his effort, and even if he does not survive it, something about himself and human life that no school on earth—and, indeed, no church— can teach. He achieves his own authority, and that is unshakable. This is because, in order to save his life, he is forced to look beneath appearances, to take nothing for granted, to hear the meaning behind the words…If one is continually surviving the worst that life can bring, one eventually ceases to be controlled by a fear of what life can bring.

    p.s.: I’m not anti-white. I’m anti-bigotry. Since white people are undeniably the dominant group, and since they have their hands on the levers of power, the battleground is their hearts and minds.

  3. NotGregLetiecq

    Lucky Duck, I am not saying I always agree with Mackie, just that this time he taught me something and I wanted to expand on the point. I learn things from CTom’s posts all the time, perhaps more than Mackie but this time the two together really spoke to me.
    And I am not saying CT is a racist but his blindness to his unfortunate juxtaposition of past and present pseudo-intellectualism was illuminating for me.
    When you take that in addition to Mackie’s historical reference, it goes to show that education does not necessarily breed enlightment. CTom’s words could be used to justify some extreme arguments. He himself would not have to do anymore. But let’s give him a chance to explain. I just marvel at how great minds can work in such opposite ways. We should not forget about the Samuel Cartrights of history.

  4. Rick Bentley

    “white people have been the greatest enemies of the promise of our Constitution since the day our country was born. Generation after generation they have found new and creative ways to disenfranchise people of color. They have denied millions upon millions of their countrymen the American dream, ” …

    Totally disagree. Is there some other race you find superior?

  5. Rick Bentley

    “what kind of influence do you think rap music has on the young generation?” Overall more negative than positive, especially in the black community. But whose fault is that? There’s all kinds of messages and rappers out there, the ones that sell are typically the ones who equate blackness with something easily commodotized (sic) or imitated and simplistic – with the important “shock value” concept just as white teens used to get out of satanic heavy metal.

    “Rap” isn’t the problem, what people WANT and SEEK TO LISTEN TO is the problem.

  6. Rick Bentley

    “I attribute much of the moral decline of our society to welfare and our socialist education system.”

    I’m not a public school basher, I think we should maintain public schools, but I agree that welfare has helped to shape society and has shaped it very badly in some ways. And that we should be having honest discussion about that whereas too often we let the two corrupt political parties shape the debate falsely.

  7. NotGregLetiecq and ShellyB – Illegal immigrants come to this country looking for jobs. They sneak across our border. The generally do not speak good English, and they unskilled laborers. Their children come to school already behind. They do not speak English, and their parents cannot assist them. These problems have nothing to do with stupidity or some pseudo mental illness. Poverty is what it is. Why complicate the matter?

    NotGregLetiecq – The only people I called stupid are Americans. Illegal immigrants I referred to as ignorant. Ignorance is not the same as being dumb or stupid. An ignorant is merely uninformed. Unfortunately, ignorance and stupidity can easily produce the same result.

    Can you really prove you are right by proving there is something wrong with Conservatives? I do not think so. What you can do is silence opposition by screaming racism. That is unethical and similar the point Lucky Duck made earlier.

    If you want to argue for open borders, then argue for open borders. Just explain the ethics of your position. Also, please tell us how you intend to pay for the welfare state and public financing of education. How do we avoid spending a pile of money?

  8. Moon-howler

    Let’s not confuse the words ‘ignorant’ and ‘uneducated’ with the word stupid.

    I would say that many of our more recent immigrants are uneducated and that is fairly easy document. Many simply have never been given the opportunity to get an education. It doesn’t mean they are bad people.

    However….an illiterate, uneducated population can be problematic and certainly needs to correct within a generation. This statement is so obvious I am not even going to insult anyone by explaining why all citizens need to be literate in a technologically advanced society.

    I am going to repeat myself …again…..some of you are making my eyes glaze over with the over-use of the racist word. Ok Mackie, I get it. You dislike white people and we are all pathetic and in denial, in your not so humble opinion. Tell someone who gives a $h!t. It is boring many of us.

  9. M-H,

    No, you still don’t get it. It’s not about disliking white people. It’s about illuminating the problem.

    I suppose you will have to ‘not so humbly’ ban me if the boredom grows too great, for I intend to continue to express my opinion exactly as I have been.

  10. Red Dawn

    Mackie,

    There is a difference between people and POWER.

    Please rethink the broad brush use of WHITE and replace it with black, brown, rich, poor, etc. But at the same time not confuse it with illegal and legal.

    NOW that is a TASK! LOL

    speaking of illuminating, it starts with in and plenty to go around..which came FIRST? 🙂

  11. Red Dawn

    One more thought when it comes to power: PEOPLE can either earn it, cheat it or fall into it. They are still PEOPLE in the end.CHEERS 🙂 lol

  12. NotGregLeteicq

    I agree there is a lot to criticize in rap music. But I prefer that we talk about specific songs, specific lyrics, and specific artists rather than malign the genre as a whole.

    Any art from where adults are practicing free expression is as valid as any other. Some are more popular, some are not, some are more identifiable with a particular ethnicity. The role of criticism, as in literary criticism or film criticism, is to discuss particular examples of free expression and learn from them, just like we do on this blog.

    If we saw something we didn’t like on a blog, we should criticize the person who writes the blog, not the mode of expression as a whole.

  13. NotGregLeteicq

    Mackie, I agree with Red Dawn. Please don’t use the word white with such invective in your tone. It undermines all the hard work you do to make good points. And it drags me down with you if I agree with you! (=

  14. Lucky Duck

    If its not about disliking White people, then why do you insult them in virtually every post? I could cut and paste dozens of racist comments. You judge an entire race in your comments.

    I have met several hundred day laborers and illegal immigrants over time. I have not met any with an advanced degree from their home country and very few that have completed an education past middle school. I’ve met dozens who are in deep poverty and speak no or limited English and cannot read in Spanish – their primary language. Yet, I do not take these examples of the Brown race as you do with Whites. You should open your mind, calm your ugly rhetoric because if Whites or Blacks for that matter, made the same type of judgments as you do, your life and those like you, would be much more difficult.

  15. NotGregLeteicq

    Citizen Tom, I don’t want to get in a war of words with you. But if you want to convince me that I did not see what you have inadvertently revealed about your outlook, you need to keep talking. I’m not convinced.

    As for criticizing “conservatism,” I do apologize. First of all, I just got finished writing a post about not dismissing an entire genre of music just because some artists have offensive lyrics in their songs. So I have to acknowledge that a conservative such as yourself might make the same objection re. conservatism.

    I haven’t quite figured out what I wanted to say in that sentence anyway….

  16. Red Dawn

    Music is influential but who is to blame for a message that is taken wrong AND who is to say it is real anyway?

    LOL, Bare with me….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0qTOkUPlGk&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffvwySdsA4o

    SOMEONE is making money and the attention is the marketing! LOL

  17. Red Dawn,

    Lol, poor Milli Vanilli. They didn’t deserve what happened to them. Most of the music industry thrives on the appearance of authenticity as opposed to authenticity itself.

    I hear what you’re saying about people versus power. I’m not arguing against judging people as individuals. I’m saying that is the goal we are trying to reach. I’m saying we’re not there yet. We’re far from it. I’m saying that throughout our society, people of color are constantly judged as a group and found wanting as Citizen Tom demonstrated above.

    And since white people hold the levers of power, they pull those levers, and it’s people of color who are cast into exile or cast into the clutches of the 287(g) program.

    And to draw notice to the inordinate amount of power white people hold in our society, is not racism. And neither is it racist to point out that white people are largely unqualified to make decisions concerning bigotry in our society. White liberals are the worst since they consider themselves eminently qualified, eminently aware and concerned, so, secure in their own enlightenment, they never stop to recognize the trojan horses like 287(g).

    I’m saying the world looks clean, peaceful, and fair from above. From above, you can afford the benefit of the doubt. But when you climb down here, it’s not the same:

  18. Red Dawn

    Mackie,

    “But when you climb down here, it’s not the same:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emS98iZTI9c

    I noticed you played this song on the other thread. my first thought when I read that comment was

  19. Red Dawn

    Mackie,

    I just have to say, no one knows anyone’s heart and where they have been.
    Humble is good!!!

    I am going to leave you and everyone with this NEW song…I am starting to digg it…LOL

  20. Moon-howler

    Mackie, I never mentioned banning you. Your words, not mine.

    You have done a good job of hiding the fact that you don’t dislike white people. Say what you want. If I said what you are saying and substituted any word for white, you would be howling like a moon-howler that I am a racist.

    You know, I could go have myself a real pity party because my gender couldn’t even vote until 1921. My grandmother was 31 flipping years old before she could vote. How unempowered is that? Technically, a black man could vote 56 years before a white woman. Whte men owned the power unless you want to count a few platinum kodak moments like Little Big Horn.

    Sometimes you just have to put things in the JUST IS perspective. I can go around being pissed off my entire life at white men or I can get on with it. When I finish with white men, I can be pissed off with black men also, at least the ones who weren’t affected by Jim Crow laws.

    I think in this case, I am just going to ask to borrow Chris’s ignore button. It doesn’t matter if you are broad brush blasting hispanics or white people, it is still racist. I actually think you have probably just landed on the wrong blog.

  21. M-H,

    You’re ignoring the whole paradigm of distribution of power in our society. This is the context wherein I formulate my statements. This context is crucial to understanding the meaning behind my words.

    When white people exercise bigotry against minorities, what happens? A whole community is cast into exile. Or a ‘War on Drugs’ is launched as self-serving cover to lock up black and hispanic males…but never the stoned, drugged out white kids at all the universities. Or a ‘gang database’ is launched as cover to lock up all the black and hispanic youth…but this ‘gang database’ doesn’t include the white gangs known as fraternities which conspire to engage in criminal behavior every time they conspire to provide alcohol and other illicit drugs to underage drinkers. But wait! They’re ‘just experimenting’! Yeah. that’s the ticket!

    The denial is pathological:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLyyPCbxnIU

    Now let’s flip it around. When minorities exercise bigotry against white people, what happens? Uhhh…Nothing.

    The worst offense of all is when members of the dominant group purport to understand what it means to be a member of a disenfranchised group without ever bothering to ask. Although well-meaning, their overconfidence is very dangerous to those who have to be on the receiving end of 287(g).

    I pose a question from a previous thread:

    Considering that it’s people of color who will face the abuses brought about by 287(g), I think it’s only fair that their opinion carry the day on that issue as opposed to white people who rarely know what they’re talking about when they address racism. Shouldn’t white people exercise some humility and gracefully stand aside to allow people of color to take the lead on this issue?

    After all, can’t people of color be trusted to make the right decision? Can’t they be expected to have the requisite level of morality to strike a just balance between immigration enforcement and their human rights?

  22. Lucky Duck

    Nobody should “step aside” to let one group or the other take “the lead” in any part of a societal decision. Who gets to decide what topic somebody should step aside on? Everyone who can, should have their say, be it through a vote or contacting those who represent them.

    Can’t all people, regardless of color, be expected to have the requisite level of morality to strike a just balance between immigration enforcement and their human rights?

    By the way, if someone is subjected to the actions of the 287(G) program they cannot vote because they are not citizens and they should not have a say in any of this Nation’s laws or policies. That is a right reserved for citizens.

  23. NotGregLeteicq

    No more explanation from Citizen Tom?

    Bummer.

  24. michael

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Red Dawn, NGL and Moonhowler for finally getting at the heart of why Mackie, CT and others who can’t stop thinking in the gender, racial, religious and ethnicity terms they are thinking in are SO WRONG!

    Individuals…never even entered the concept in HOURS of debate.
    Face it there are stupid and ignorant people, and there are smart and intelligent people. The key distinguishing feature for which they are judged is “the individual’s DNA, the individual’s parent’s DNA, and the “environment the individual was exposed to”.
    There is a different between intellect or ability and KNOWLEDGE. Knowledge can be taught, intellect cannot.

    NONE of this has anything to do with race, gender, religion or ethnic groups, ONLY individuals. Thanks NGL for the insertion that POVERTY has a role to play in crime rates and whether a neighborhood is DANGEROUS or SAFE.

    Having finally seen the answer correcly brought to light by Red Dawn first (then NGL), then the real issue about “illegal” immigration, is the “illegal” part, and the fact that “illegals” harm MILLIONS of innocent people. therefore they must be stopped by enforceing the LAW, and NOT by having RACE debates and showing their own racial bigotry, and hatred for “White” people like mackie does, or “ignorant immigrants” as CT does (even though I understand mackies anger at PAST injustice, his anger is not justified in MODERN LAW when put in terms of the RACIAL HATRED that he himself expresses. Like ShellyB said, GET OVER IT and start learning to treat ALL “individuals” with the respect they deserve, regardless of their gender, race, religion or ethnicity, based on WHAT THEY DO TO OTHERS, and WHAT THEY DO FOR OTHERS, AND HOW GOOD or BAD THEY ARE, relative to being LAWFUL or LAWLESS, HELPFUL or HURTFUL.

    It is a fact that poverty, lawlessness, lack of ethics, and crime are related, and a FACT that most “illegal” immigrants are POOR. When you increase the population of POOR in your country, you increase your crime, lack of ethics, lawlessness and future POVERTY, just like citizens have seen in the Past 25 years of “illegal” immigration and lack of law enforcement, the decline of society and financial security, by the negative effects of a massive infusion of “illegal” immigrants into their communities.

    The solution is to stop “illegal” immigration, by LAW ENFORCEMENT and DEPORTATION and to be more selective in bringing “rich, educated and intellectual” people (From rich, educated and intellectually growing nations into your country as “legal” immigrants, while at the same time trying to improve the conditions of poverty in other nations so that those “individuals” who are smart, but not “educated”, can be educated and improve the wealth, propserity, and “ethics” of their own countries, and prevent dragging ours down with MORE POOR, MORE CRIME, MORE POPULATION growth than we can handle.

    The issue is “legal” behavior and “illegal” behavior and has NOTHING to do with race, gender, religion, or ethnicity, but everything to do with “crime, lawlessness, and financial ruin.

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