A few weeks ago Laura Ingraham, the Fox News correspondent and radio host of The Laura Ingraham Show, took it upon herself to warn Americans that the Mexicans are planning to take over the Southwest region of our nation. Her argument centered on the English language being defeated by the hostile Spanish language.
The caller who initiated the lengthy rant from Ingraham was a nurse named Chris, who was frustrated because she was “obliged by the law” to make sure her Spanish-speaking patients understand the doctor’s orders. It robbed her, she said, of precious time she could spend on other patients. By other patients, she must mean non-Spanish-speaking patients, which are easier for her to communicate with. “There are places in Colorado I can’t even go to unless I speak Spanish, which I don’t,” she complained.
Which prompted Ingraham to retort: “Your language is gone. In fact, your language is not only in decline, the English language Chris, it’s actually a sign of jingoism.”
But does a growth in Spanish language speakers really mean an army of Mexican soldiers gearing up to claim land? This correlation not only insults Spanish-speakers—because guess what—they are not all Mexicans or even Latinos, but also speaks to the small-minded people with loud voices at several media institutions.
Her call to warning was taken less than urgent from peers in the journalism community. “In other words, Ingraham’s belief that pro-reform advocates are secretly trying to annex vast swathes of the United States to Mexico is nonsense,” summed up Elias Isquith, assistant editor at Salon.
Samantha Leal over at Latina.com addressed several misunderstandings that Ingraham communicated to her audience, such as her depiction of “La Raza” (which she pronounced painfully wrong), as the coalition of Mexicans wanting to reclaim the Southwest. “This is our land,” Ingraham imagined them thinking. ”You took our land and now we’re coming to take it back.”
And translating La Raza as “The Race,” Leal writes, “is something only those with a 7th-grade semester of Spanish would deem correct.” Leal and Isquith both clarified that La Raza represents the Latino community as a whole, not just the country that borders our great nation.
While Ingraham holds onto a fear that she may not be able to speak English in her country, there are Latinos rising above the ignorance, demonstrating the contributions they make to their country, the same country as hers. With this blog, I hope to share insights on Latinos in New York City, merging their cultural passion with the American Dream.