His Panic: Why Americans Fear Hispanics in the U.S.

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Review by Howard Jordan, The City University of New York – Hostos Community College of book His Panic: Why Americans Fear Hispanics in the U.S. written by Emmy-award-winning journalist Geraldo Rivera. Rivera has truly emerged as a true warrior in defense of the Latino community and immigrant rights by dissecting and clarifying several myths that feed the anti-immigrant prejudice against the growing number of United States-born and foreign-born Latinos in our nation.

One of the most obvious untrue assumptions surrounding immigrants is that Latinos are more prone to crime than their American counterparts. Rivera confronts the question of whether immigrants are committing crimes at higher rates than U.S. citizens. The debate started with a story about a drunk driver in Virginia Beach who killed two teenage girls in a terrible accident. The driver was an “illegal” Mexican. Rivera accusing Bill O’Reilly of making this same “cheap political point,” Rivera said, “[He] could have been a Jewish drunk, an Italian drunk, or an Irish drunk, would you still care?” (p. 5). I believe this is the perfect example to showcase the constant double standard that exists when it comes to use Latinos as ‘scapegoats’ to take the blame for high rates of crimes or other issues. Statistics show that immigrants are no more prone to committing crimes than are the native-born.

Another false rumor that causes anti-immigrant hostility is that Latino immigrants come here to take jobs from U.S. citizens. This statement cannot be further from the truth. With agreements like NAFTA, immigrants are not the ones to blame for stealing the jobs of American citizens. Conversely, the ones truly affected before any U.S. citizen is deprived of any opportunity are Mexicans because the jobs that NAFTA secures in the U.S. were jobs previously held by Mexican workers across the border. So, let’s take a moment to rethink who’s taking what from whom? In addition, Rivera cites several studies that show...
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