His Panic_ why Americans Fear Hispanics in the U.s. Essay
Review by Howard Jordan, The City University of New York – Hostos Community College of book His Panic: Why Americans Fear Hispanics in the U. S. written by Emmy-award-winning journalist Geraldo Rivera. Rivera has truly emerged as a true warrior in defense of the Latino community and immigrant rights by dissecting and clarifying several myths that feed the anti-immigrant prejudice against the growing number of United States-born and foreign-born Latinos in our nation.
One of the most obvious untrue assumptions surrounding immigrants is that Latinos are more prone to crime than their American counterparts. Rivera confronts the question of whether immigrants are committing crimes at higher rates than U. S. citizens. The debate started with a story about a drunk driver in Virginia Beach who killed two teenage girls in a terrible accident. The driver was an “illegal” Mexican. Rivera accusing Bill O’Reilly of making this same “cheap political point,” Rivera said, “[He] could have been a Jewish drunk, an Italian drunk, or an Irish drunk, would you still care?
” (p. 5). I believe this is the perfect example to showcase the constant double standard that exists when it comes to use Latinos as ‘scapegoats’ to take the blame for high rates of crimes or other issues. Statistics show that immigrants are no more prone to committing crimes than are the native-born. Another false rumor that causes anti-immigrant hostility is that Latino immigrants come here to take jobs from U. S. citizens. This statement cannot be further from the truth. With agreements like NAFTA, immigrants are not the ones to blame for stealing the jobs of American citizens.
Conversely, the ones truly affected before any U. S. citizen is deprived of any opportunity are Mexicans because the jobs that NAFTA secures in the U. S. were jobs previously held by Mexican workers across the border. So, let’s take a moment to rethink who’s taking what from whom? In addition, Rivera cites several studies that show “Latino immigrants are not displacing American workers… and rarely over-utilize social services”. Those criticizing must know that illegal immigrants are not entitled to receive any governmental assistance, because of their immigrant status.
Going further Rivera has evidence in his book about “nonpartisan, non-ideological, scientific data [that] proves that immigrants contribute greatly to the America economy” (p. 169). Again this corrects the misinformation that immigrants are not a burdensome to the U. S. if not a huge contributing force of this nation whose rights are often violated. A further huge inaccurate detail Rivera addresses in his book is the assumption that immigrants use ‘anchor babies’ presumably to further the parents’ quest for citizenship.
Anchor babies are children born of illegal immigrants to help their parents acquire citizenship status in the U. S. That cannot be further from the truth because under current law, an illegal immigrant parent seeking citizenship cannot use the fact that their child is a citizen, until that child reaches the age of twenty-one. However, immigrants are being wrongfully and constantly criminalized for intending to build and raise a family. In conclusion I believe that the United States has to stop using fear mongering to influence, manipulate the opinions and actions of its citizens with the goal of fueling anti-immigrant sentiment.
This country was built by immigrants’ sweat and hard labor not just from Latin America, but from Europe and Africa. How can the U. S. carryon with not only taking their land, but also taking their pride, belittle them by inviting immigrants into this country and then deporting them as they conveniently desire when ‘those second class citizens are no longer useful’. I genuinely believe that American are in fear of Latinos. And they act they way they do to keep them at a margin, contain at a place where they are in need to settle and at often times take the poor jobs they get.
It is embarrassing as a U. S. citizen that my own country carries this behavior. How can anyone be the cause of such horrible acts, of separating families due to technical issues and then praise to be the most powerful country in the world. The United States is the most powerful country in the world because our predecessors have gone out of their way to steal anything of value, not other communities’ ideas like Iroquois, or from the other developing countries of the world. The U. S must stop this way of politics and reach an agreement.
An agreement where immigrants and workers are rewarded for their efforts, where we pay the price they are worth and earned for their hard work, that we restore what has been stolen, where the rich upper class get taxed according to the gross income they are earning. Where the jobs stolen are restored to Mexicans and Africans, restored for everything they have lost as a result of being brought here to build this country. This should be the land of opportunity, where everyone is equal at all levels and topics, not the land of exploiting the weak and enslaving them.
Where is all this nonsense going to stop? I know is not that simple, to reverse the damage that has been done after so many years but we must start somewhere, perhaps by acknowledging the truth and not hiding the real facts behind the Latino scapegoat. People must be educated before taking a stand on what spot on the spectrum to be in. It is a very sensible topic that involves the lives of actual people, actual families. Thank you Geraldo Rivera for not forgetting about your roots, and using your position as a media figure to be an activist against the Latino immigrants.