Saturday, December 03, 2005

Yet More Paranoia About Immigrants

Three familiar Hyman characteristics are preoccupation with immigration, a focus on issues relevant to him but not the rest of his national audience (e.g., issues in Baltimore or the state of Maryland), and insulting those with whom he disagrees rather than actually making an argument. We hit the trifecta with Hyman’s editorial on driver’s licenses.

As for the first part, Hyman is irked that a group that represents the rights of immigrants, CASA of Maryland, has had the temerity to object to the fact that Hispanic immigrants are often denied a driver’s license because the documents they provide from their native countries that vouch for their identity are often not accepted or not understood by the folks at the DMV.

Given Hyman’s longstanding issues with the specter of non-Anglos coming into the country, the fact that this issue is in his backyard must be unsettling, although it’s not entirely clear why Hyman’s paranoia merits being aired in a national forum.

But even more egregious than the foisting off of a local issue on a national audience is the language and tone of Hyman’s editorial. For Hyman, the immigrants complaining of being denied licenses to which they are legally entitled are “inmates running the asylum.” At the close of his editorial, Hyman says, “[t]he great irony here is aliens believe that close scrutiny of unfamiliar and suspect documents is somehow unfair.”

The word choice is telling. Although the group primarily represents legal immigrants to the United States, Hyman uses the emotionally charged word “aliens,” a term that inevitably calls to mind the modifier which nearly always precedes it (particularly in Hyman’s vocabulary), “illegal.”

Not only is the underlying premise of Hyman’s editorial insulting (that it’s “ironic” for legal residents of the United States to expect equal treatment regardless of their ethnicity), but so are the words he uses. While one could make a respectful (albeit flawed) argument on the topic-- suggesting that an unfortunate reality of illegal immigration is that legal immigrants from certain countries will face additional hardships that are no fault of their own—Hyman is unable to maintain a civil tongue in his head, and flails around in the gutter of fear mongering, condescension, and barely concealed racism.

Let’s try our best not to get splashed.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 3.03


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