Casual racism is a common feature of Laura Ingraham’s programming, but in a segment on her podcast released yesterday, she said she gets “enraged” after her guest noted that Mexican immigrants often live in the same communities, fly Mexican flags, and speak Spanish.
The segment, which was flagged by Media Matters, starts about 28 minutes into Ingraham’s podcast, and really goes places. Ingraham’s guest, military historian Victor Davis Hanson, makes the real point of the segment: Immigrants in this country should have to immediately assimilate, because if they don’t, there’s a lot of “crime,” apparently in the form of littering.
Here’s Hanson speaking:
I’m told that illegal immigrants do not throw trash, they would never do that, yet I pick up mounds of trash out in front of my farm. ...it’s not a big thing, but that’s what happens when you have large numbers of unassimilated immigrants who came in illegally in large numbers, that are not diverse.
It would really work if we had people coming from Korea or Africa or Europe, all coming legally, all measured numbers, all mixed up, and they would assimilate. But that’s not what’s happening.
Here’s the specific back-and-forth where Ingraham mentions that she’s “enraged.”
Hanson: I know that when I’m here, and I’m not a very emotional guy, but when I go in town, and I go to my cleaner, and everybody’s speaking Spanish—
Ingraham: Oh my god.
Hanson: And the cars in the parking lot all have Mexican flags on—
Ingraham: Oh, yeah.
Hanson: And people walk out of the cleaners’ and they throw their McDonald’s sack right in the gutter, it gets me really angry.
Ingraham: Oh no, I get enraged.
The “enraged” comment is clearly related to littering, which Ingraham says is one of her pet peeves. She went on to connect it to trash problems in other Central and South American countries—specifically Guatemala, where her adopted daughter is from—where she said they dump trash down “pristine ravines” and all over the country’s “spectacular” beauty because they have “no sense of civic pride.” This is some clearly racist bullshit—trash is an infrastructure problem, not a cultural one. You need look no further than our own country, where we managed to trash our national parks during the government shutdown.
Ingraham lives in DC, and we can assume regularly commutes to Fox News’ headquarters in New York City, home to many, many immigrant communities. If you walk down precisely one block of Sixth Avenue, by Fox HQ, you are almost certainly going to hear more than one language. Does Ingraham also get steamed by the thought of Chinatown? Can you whisper “Spanish Harlem” in her ear and send her into a fit of rage? Is she just angry like, all the time? It’s particularly insane for her to push the hearing Spanish bugs me line, because Ingraham says on the podcast that she speaks Spanish.
Ingraham and Hanson are indulging in a classic xenophobic fallacy. They’re taking things they don’t like—littering, in this case—and ascribing them to the laziest racist denominator, in this case the ethnicity of the people littering. It’s stupid, logically inconsistent, and yeah, enraging.