A project of the Center for Community Change

lou dobbs

And Dobbs just keeps getting dropped

Fresh off of his departure from CNN and his announcement that he would consider a Presidential run in 2012, Lou Dobbs took an unexpected turn.

During an interview with Telemundo, Lou stated:

“We need a rational, effective and humane immigration policy in this country,” he said. Dobbs also said, “We need the ability to legalize illegal immigrants on certain conditions.”

Say what? Did Lou just use the word HUMANE?!To fully appreciate this about-face, allow me to juxtapose this seemingly rational statement with what we’re accustomed to hearing from Dobbs. Check out the two short clips below.

After Dobbs took his message of legalization to Telemundo, ALIPAC (one of our favorite extremist anti-immigrant groups) pulled their support of Dobbs’ potential 2012 candidacy.

From William Gheen, restrictionist-in-chief at ALIPAC:

“We’ve received so many demands from prior Dobbs supporters to remove their pledges of support that we have to suspend all operations on the Dobbs fan sites,” Gheen added. “Lou Dobbs has deeply offended his base of supporters..”

When Lou Dobbs even makes your organization look extreme, you know you’ve got a problem.

I have to admit, I’m loving the in-fighting that’s coming from Lou’s change of heart. With ALIPAC ousting Dobbs as their champion, the former CNN host just can’t’ catch a break from anyone.

As Adam Luna of America’s Voice proposed:

This Mexican-American, constitution-hugging, diversity-loving advocate invites the anti-immigrant extremists of the world to unite with me for a common purpose – let’s just ignore him.  Together we can help Lou Dobbs make a speedy transition to TV has-been status.  Let’s just get it over with.  Are you with me?

Hmmm.. with Dobbs being dropped by ALIPAC and Sarah Palin trying to re-ignite the birther conspiracy, I’m seeing a possible 2012 ticket match made in heaven. Since Dobbs is “a great friend to Latinos” and Palin is woefully ignorant of Latino issues, it seems like they’d be a good fit. Plus, they could both just fade into irrelevancy together – and bring the extremist fringe with them.

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Leprosy Lou says Adios

Dobbs liar

Tonight, Lou Dobbs hosted his last show ever on CNN. Yes, our dear friend Lou has officially resigned from the nation’s ‘most trusted name in news’ to bring his special blend of xenophobia and hate-mongering elsewhere.

This is incredible news and due in no small part to the efforts of the Drop Dobbs and Basta Dobbs campaigns who have put increasingly more pressure on CNN to fire Lou.

Check out his goodbye speech in the clip below. I love when he says that

“issues are now defined in the public arena by partisanship and ideology rather than by rigorous empirical thought and forthright analysis and discussion.”

I wonder if by forthright analysis he means spreading lies about the waves of immigrants infecting Americans with leprosy without a single shred of factual evidence to back it up.

But, I digress. Here’s Lou:

This marks a big victory in the fight against hate and anti-immigrant fervor in our country, but its only one small step in the right direction. Lou will, inevitably, find another pulpit from which to spout his dangerous rhetoric, and we will continue to counter with the truth and justice on our side.

But for now, mark one for the good guys.

As Eric Burns, president of Media Matters said:

“This is a happy day for all those who care about this nation of immigrants and believe in the power of media to elevate the political discourse.”

For a round-up of coverage check out Jackie Mahendra’s post over at the America’s Voice blog.

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No racism to see here, folks.

Some of my favorite blog commentors are back. You know the ones. You can spot them pretty easily by the ALL CAPS and the constant use of the words “illegal”, “criminal” and “amnesty”. While I take great issue with the use of each of these words within the specific context of their rhetoric, I want to focus on the first two for a few moments.

While many of the anti’s that argue the most adamantly against comprehensive immigration reform claim that there is absolutely no racism behind their stance, most of us that are working in and for the communities most affected by this legislation beg to differ.

In the past three days I have seen two different news items come across my desk that are seemingly unrelated, but I think they speak to the current environment of the immigration debate today.

The first was the story of a Dallas, TX police officer who wrote a ticket to Ernestina Mondragon for being “a non-English speaking driver”. The Dallas police department is embarrassed and has since issued an apology, saying that the officer who ticketed Mondragon was a rookie and was probably confused. However, it has since come to light that the agency has written 39 tickets for this “offense” in the last 3 years.

The second story broke today,  hotel owner Larry Whitten who forced the Latinos working in his New Mexico hotel to speak only English and “anglicize” their names. Employees who had Latino names like Martin (mar-TEEN) where told they must change them to the more familiar (mar-TIN) or from Marcos to Mark. Whitten, however, claims that his actions were not racially motivated, rather:

“It has nothing to do with racism. I’m not doing it for any reason other than for the satisfaction of my guests, because people calling from all over America don’t know the Spanish accents or the Spanish culture or Spanish anything”

Let me first set aside my frustration with the conflation of “Spanish” and “Latino”. They are, simply, not the same thing. But the ignorance doesn’t stop there.

The idea that this has “nothing to do with racism” is an all-too familiar argument that I hear regularly from people who think that I am promoting the “illegalz” takeover of all of our resources and our culture. However, going back to my original point, the use of terms like “illegal” and “criminal” and “alien” by folks like Lou Dobbs have served to criminalize and “other” the entire Latino population, no matter immigration status. Its not about immigration here, guys, its about race.

From RaceWire:

For this reason, we cannot be fooled by the claim that there are simply talking about “language.” Rather, we must see through this to the core of what is at stake — the assault on the rights of the people who speak the languages, and today we see this in the assault on immigrants of color.

We are all familiar with the Latino scapegoat that has taken such strong hold in the minds of many Americans and some of the most dominant media frames. (Ahem… Lou Dobbs). But we have to connect the dots between this and the criminalization of an entire population and culture.

A recent CNN poll conducted found that people are “more familiar with Latinos” than they used to be, whatever the hell that means. But the findings that are the most shocking, and the least talked about from the survey:

But nearly half of people we questioned said they assume that Latinos who they have never met are immigrants, and one in five believe they are illegal immigrants

So, according to this poll, for many Americans, Latino has become synonymous with the concept of “illegal”. How is that not racism?

As we work towards reform of our immigration system, its not just bad policy that we are fighting, its the increasingly dangerous forces that criminalize and dehumanize entire populations, including but NOT limited to Latino immigrants.

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