The Worst Commentary About Latinos In 2014

The Worst Commentary About Latinos In 2014

By some standards, 2014 was a relatively good year for commentary about Latinos. In 2012, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly lamented the decline of “the white establishment” on national television, while last year a researcher at a prestigious think tank defended the notion that Latinos are genetically predisposed to have lower IQs than non-Hispanic whites.

Nevertheless, public figures and media pundits continued to do their part to spread stereotypes and misinformation about the Latino community in 2014.

Here’s some of the worst commentary about Hispanics from the last 12 months.

Obama caused a child migrant crisis by limiting deportation of Dreamers.
A sharp uptick in the number of unaccompanied minors from Central America crossing the border illegally caught the country’s attention this summer. Because the rise roughly coincided with President Barack Obama’s 2012 “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program, which shields people brought here illegally as children from deportation, many Republicans accused the president’s policy of sparking the crisis.

In fact, the rise in the number of unaccompanied minors crossing illegally began several months before DACA went into effect. Furthermore, it quickly became clear that the unaccompanied minors were crossing because they knew that they would stand a fighting chance of staying in the country -- not because of DACA, but because of a 2008 law designed to prevent child trafficking that allows unaccompanied minors from countries other than Mexico and Canada to be reunited with family members living in the U.S. while their deportation cases make their way through the courts.

Little evidence supports the theory that migrants cross the border to benefit from Obama’s deferred deportation policies, but that hasn’t stopped politicians from continuing to say it.
Ann Coulter continued raging against Latinos.
Rightwing pundit Ann Coulter continued to rant about Latinos throughout 2014, often spouting off misinformation. At the beginning of the year, she said Hispanics were “wrecking the country” because too many immigrants are working class and only a minority of the Latino community votes Republican. In October, she urged Republicans not to “suck up” to Latinos on immigration reform.

Shortly after midterm elections, she also urged the GOP to follow Mitt Romney’s 2012 strategy of taking a hardline on immigration while reaching out to Hispanic voters on economic issues, though Romney’s strategy only won him 27 percent of the Latino vote -- the poorest performance for a presidential candidate since Bob Dole’s unsuccessful 1996 bid.
A new Cesar Chavez emerged because the name is ‘easy to pronounce.' (Screenshot)
A failed GOP candidate for a congressional seat in Arizona once named Scott Fistler legally changed his name to “Cesar Chavez” and tried to run for Congress as a Democrat in a heavily Hispanic district. Local authorities struck his name from the ballot.

When asked to explain why he picked that name, he said it reminded him of great athletes, as well as his brand of dogfood, and that it was "short" and "easy to pronounce." He nevertheless mispronounced his new name in a televised interview.
‘White’ Latinos will go the way of the Irish.
Yellow Dog Productions via Getty Images
When the Pew Hispanic Trends Project posted a blog item noting that some 2.5 million Latinos changed their race from “some other race” to “white” between the 2000 and 2010 Censuses, outlets like The New York Times and Slate predicted that Latinos would go the way of previous waves of Irish and Italian immigrants by eventually identifying as white rather than people of color.

The articles set off a series of criticism, including from us, from those arguing that the dynamics of Latino racial identification defied such simplistic explanations. Also, Pew specifically warned against drawing the conclusion that the Times and other outlets went with. Hispanics across the country joined the debate by responding to a HuffPost callout asking them to show the Times #WhatLatinosLookLike.
Architect of anti-immigration laws rethinks possibility of ‘ethnic cleansing.’
Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, one of the leaders of the movement to use state law to crack down on illegal immigration, referred to the growing Hispanic population as a “locked in vote for socialism” during his radio show last month -- a wild exaggeration of a Pew poll finding that a majority of Latino voters prefer a larger government that provides more services over a smaller one that provides fewer services.

Responding to a question from a listener, Kobach went on to say that he didn’t think Latinos would usher in a bout of ethnic cleansing. But, he added, he couldn’t speak with absolute confidence given what he viewed as an erosion of the rule of law under President Obama. “I still don’t think it’s going to happen in America,” Kobach said of ethnic cleansing against whites, “but I have to admit that things are strange and they’re happening.”
Whipping up Ebola fear on the U.S.-Mexico border.

With the midterm elections drawing near, conservative candidates including Scott Brown (who lost his senate race in New Hampshire) and U.S. Sen.-elect Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) sounded alarms that Ebola-infected migrants might sneak across the U.S.-Mexico border and create a health catastrophe.

Health experts weren't surprised that it never happened.

"The incubation period is two to 21 days, so theoretically, an African could fly from an infected area, land in a Mexican airport, take a bus toward the border, hire a coyote to take him across and then ‘present’ with Ebola," Thomas Fekete, section chief for infectious diseases at the Temple University School of Medicine, told PolitiFact in July. "But this presupposes a suicidal person who also has the resources for this kind of travel."

What did we miss? Let us know what other commentary about Latinos missed the mark in 2014.

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Before You Go

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