Things That Matter

According To This Fox News Anchor, The El Paso Terrorist Is Right, There Is An Invasion Of Hispanics

Earlier this week Brian Kilmeade went on Fox& Friends to defend the use of the term “invasion” when talking about the situation at the U.S./Mexico border.

He was responding to a tweet by Barack Obama, which went far beyond the usual “thoughts and prayers” template we’re used to seeing.

Obama specifically called out the rhetoric used by our country’s leadership. At rallies and conferences and television panels, you’ll hear the same words being thrown around – Invasion, Infestation, Hordes.

Here’s what Brian Kilmeade said on Fox & Friends:

It’s unclear where Kilmeade is receiving his numbers from. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics, 71,999 individuals were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border last month which is actually down from previous months. Even if you took an average total per month for the year, the number still hovers around 89,000, more than half of which are women and children, many of whom are applying for asylum.

But that’s beside the point, I guess.

The real reason why people are talking about Brian’s recent statements is because he is defending the word usage of the President and the El Paso shooter.

Even after it was made known that the El Paso shooter used the same language in his manifesto that is frequently used by the President and others in his support network, it seems that no one intends to re-evaluate the impact of how they speak about immigrants.

People were calling out Fox for basically endorsing white Supremacist talking points.

How can you be ok with repeating the exact same language used by a terrorist? And not just repeating it, actually defending it!

In fact, they are ready to double down in what can be seen as an irresponsible use of language.

So if you take a word like “invasion” or “hordes” or “infestation”, because of the context we usually see these words in, we may get the sense that there is a battle to be won. “Infestation” certainly drums up a visceral feeling of uncleanliness.

People are pretty upset about the refusal to take any responsibility for how the El Paso shooter might have become radicalized by the ideas they push forward. 

Fox News, the President, and basically every politician associated with the NRA, Are blaming everything from social video games, Gary marriage, and even drag queens. Literally everything except guns and white supremacy.

Some are even calling for advertisers to pull support from the show.

How much do words matter? Quite a bit according to a 2016 study by researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Southern California. The study details how words can impart positive or negative feelings based on the context they are usually used in. The speaker may not have the intention of influencing the listener in a certain way, but it happens anyway. 

Irene Sanchez wrote a well-research article about the long history of violence against Latinos in the United States for CNN recently. In the article, she talks about how hate crimes against Latinos has risen by 24% since Trump took office and does not believe it is a coincidence. She says, “All these words are used to describe us and our communities to dehumanize us and justify use of violence…equating us to pests, less than human, and undeserving of any rights.” 

Couple this with the fact that repetition is infectious. This language is repeated over and over again in different venues across multiple platforms. In a 2016 study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, the researchers write, “In two experiments we demonstrate that selectively repeating information in favor of a particular decision alternative changes preference ratings in favor of this alternative and makes a decision for this alternative more likely.” In other words, you can definitely influence someone to have a certain opinion just by making sure they hear what you want them to believe over and over again.

The specific words being used as the conversation about immigration continues to broil on, hold a lot of power in how the public perceives and in turn responds to the information they are being given. We can’t be surprised when words that imply violence beget violence. Does anyone think Trump, Kilmeade, Fox & Friends, and others don’t KNOW that? Please.

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