Republican member of Congress Steve King, who fretted a few days ago that immigrants would destroy our “civilization” with their babies, has now ignited a new controversy.
During a radio interview yesterday, King appeared to predict that a race war between blacks and Latinos would help ensure that minorities never become a majority in America.
King was asked about Univision anchor Jorge Ramos’ recent comments that whites will be a minority by 2044. King responded:
“Jorge Ramos’s stock in trade is identifying and trying to drive wedges between race. Race and ethnicity, I should say to be more correct. When you start accentuating the differences, then you start ending up with people that are at each other’s throats. He’s adding up Hispanics and blacks into what he predicts will be in greater number than whites in America. I will predict that Hispanics and the blacks will be fighting each other before that happens.”
King’s earlier controversial — okay, racist — comments were about illegal immigration:
“We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
Which raises the question: Why not? Once upon a time, Greeks and Italians and the Irish and other “dirty” immigrants came to America, and other people’s babies did a fine job carrying forward, and building upon, the American dream.
And African-Americans were “other people” at one time, as were immigrants from Asia, Latin America, Africa and just about everywhere. Everyone in America, other than a Native American, is an “other.” And that’s not just okay, it’s the entire basis of our country. We are a melting pot. We welcomed, and hopefully still welcome, people from all over the world.
I’m reminded of a project I did for the US State Department on the one year anniversary of the September 11 attacks. I had this idea to pay homage to the foreign-born heroes of that day. I interviewed some who survived, and the family members of those who did not. It was eye-opening. They were from all over the world — Africa, Latin America, Asia — and their story was the same. Each and every one of them came to this country to seek a better life, and damn if they weren’t the most patriotic Americans I’d ever spoken with.
Their story was the same as my family’s European immigrant story from the early 1900s.
So I bristle when people argue that Latino immigrants, for example, will somehow be less “American” than European immigrants. And that having a majority “minority” population will somehow change what it is to be American. Each culture has its unique differences, to be sure. But nearly all of us came to this country from somewhere else. And we contributed to the culture just fine.
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