July 10, 2006

Encouraging Xenophobia

The July 3 number of The New York Times contains a full-page advertisement from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Although such an ad may seem like an extraordinary expense for a non-profit organization, don’t worry: We’re pretty sure the Carnegies can afford it.

Titled “Immigrants: The Pride of America,” the full-page spread is clearly aimed at influencing the current debate on immigration in this country. To this end, it offers the following sentiment:

The United States of America remains a land of immigrants. Andrew Carnegie, who founded the Carnegie Corporation of New York in 1911, was an immigrant from Scotland. We at Carnegie Corporation salute his legacy, along with the contributions of the millions of other immigrants who have made, and continue to make, our nation strong and vibrant.

And on it goes in this fashion. Naturally, this is all pleasant yet specious: Our nation’s elected officials are debating the proper policies regarding illegal immigrants; no one outside of Pat Buchanan’s lunatic fringe has a beef with legal immigrants. But, hey, what’s a little grandstanding when it makes you look magnanimous and open-minded?

All of this, you might well imagine, is pretty typical fare for a non-profit advert. But it gets odd: In order to hammer home their message about the essential greatness of immigrants in the USA, the folks at the Carnegie Corporation also offer a series of little pictures in the ad, each presenting the head-shot of a famous (or semi-famous) American who is an immigrant.

So, what’s odd about this, you may be asking yourself? Well, just take a gander at a few of those selected from the line-up: Madeline Albright, Deepak Chopra, Iman, Isabel Allende, George Soros, Gene Simmons.

This list is supposed to warm up the American people toward immigrants? Did the fellows at the Carnegie Corporation think this through properly?

We mean, come on: A former secretary of state who resembles a penis more than most penises do, a pseudo-intellectual guru, an obnoxious model, a couple of radical nutters, and the self-important, sex-offending doofus from Kiss? Is the Carnegie Corporation attempting secretly to turn us into a bunch of nativists?

All that’s missing is Wehrner von Braun. That great American.

Posted at July 10, 2006 12:01 AM | TrackBack