I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen “Hispanic population rises quickly” as the front page headline in a newspaper. Each time, it is written as if it is some sort of astounding revelation that the average citizen would have never guessed. Each time, it is presented as a positive development. “The Columbian”, a local South Washington State paper, recently stated:
St. John is one of five Catholic churches in Vancouver, and the archdiocese 25 years ago tapped it to provide ministry to Hispanics, the fastest-growing minority group in Clark County.
“There’s been this boom,” Perez said.
Clark County grew about 23 percent over the past decade…
As population growth among Hispanics outpaces that of other minority groups, they have become targets of discrimination, said Rosalba Pitkin, a member of the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs…
“Right now, the Latinos feel persecuted,” she said. “People assume all Latinos are undocumented.”…
“Vancouver benefits from having these wonderful, family-oriented people here,” Perez said. “Some, like in any community, are here for the wrong reasons. But as a whole, we benefit more than not.”
Unless we’re talking about tumors, “growth” is usually a good thing. “Boom” is almost always a good thing. A “benefit” is always a good thing. I think we could benefit from some growth in the editorial section of The Columbian. It would boom if articles such as these were placed there, and not on the front page – where, supposedly, unbiased news is supposed to be reported.
Two underlying assumptions, in the article, fly in the face of typical mainstream opinions: 1) that only recently have Hispanics become “targets of discrimination” and 2) that population growth is a good thing. By presenting his own opinions as quotes of those he interviewed, writer Erin Middlewood (or his bosses) can deny that such articles, one-sided as they are, are editorials. This is a cheap, underhanded tactic; they choose, very carefully, who they quote in such pieces.
Even the decision-makers at The Columbian surely agree that there are at least two sides to the immigration debate. Surely they can see that rising crime, increasingly expensive infrastructure and environmental degradation are worthy to be considered as “the other side of the coin” in this matter – even ignoring the disturbing implication, by Middlewood, that Hispanics are better than other ethnicities and, therefore, worthy of replacing the current majority population.
It’s high time we had a real and honest debate about immigration. So far, it appears this is not allowed among “mainstream” newspapers. Perhaps this lack of openness is one reason readership has been declining in recent years.
I have submitted the above article, slightly modified, to The Columbian as a letter to the editor. I expect, at best, a cordial form letter notifying me that it was not accepted for publication.