Manipulating The African American Vote

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I guess it should be taken as a small sign of progress that we have reached a point in our society that African Americans are being appealed to on this level, rather than the group to be feared. But I'm not comforted.

The anti-immigration group NumbersUSA was anything but subtle when it launched an ad last night which some say pits black Americans against immigrant workers.

The ad aired last night before the first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney.[..]

NumbersUSA wants to see the rate of legal immigration to the United States decrease. On the about page of its website, the organization lists construction jobs and hospitality jobs as examples of work that used to have good wages but are now at “near-poverty levels.”

“Importing hundreds of thousands of foreign workers into those occupations is a profound policy of injustice against the Americans struggling in them already,” the site reads.

Think Progress reacts to the ad’s message in a post saying that immigration boosts the economy:

Persistently high unemployment rates for African-Americans is a systemic problem that cannot be addressed simply by reducing the number of immigrants … The lies and distortions do not change the fact that immigration is good for the U.S. economy, and it is contemptible to try to pit Americans against each other and against immigrants to stop it.

The site suggests lawmakers work to increase job creation and training and to stop job discrimination instead.

Pitting minority groups against each other? Insinuating that the typically low-paying jobs that immigrants do would otherwise be done by African Americans? Ignoring the vast amount of institutional racism that affects all people of color? Keep it classy, NumbersUSA.

I honestly do not understand this mentality. It is not a zero sum game. The overall economy does better when there's less income inequality. But no, we have a few selfish bastards willing to take down the entire country in the long term for their own short term gain. And the rest of us let them.

But as Melissa Harris-Perry documents, hating on immigrants is not the only dangerous message African Americans are getting about this election:

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Okay, maybe not as much progress as I had hoped.


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