NPR Contributor Heaves Sigh of 'Brown Relief' That Tucson Shooter Was a 'Gringo'

It had to come eventually. National Public Radio simply could not keep from using Saturday's Tucson massacre to do some race-baiting and to bash Arizona's attempts to control its souther border.

NPR brought on Daisy Hernandez, former editor of ColorLines magazine, on Wednesday to express her "brown relief [that] the Tucson killer turned out to be a gringo" (h/t tipster sic721).

It's safe to say there was a collective sigh of brown relief when the Tucson killer turned out to be a gringo. Had the shooter been Latino, media pundits wouldn't be discussing the impact of nasty politics on a young man this week — they'd be demanding an even more stringent anti-immigrant policy. The new members of the House would be stepping over each other to propose new legislation for more guns on the border, more mothers to be deported, and more employers to be penalized for hiring brown people. Obama would be attending funerals and telling the nation tonight that he was going to increase security just about everywhere.

In short, the only reason the nation is taking a few days to reflect on the animosity in politics today is precisely that the shooter was not Latino.

It's painfully ironic that a gay Latino man came to the aid of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the storm of gunfire. Daniel Hernandez, an intern with the congresswoman, ran to Rep. Giffords and helped to stop the bleeding. If a judge hadn't blocked provisions of Arizona's SB 1070 law, the intern's surname would have easily qualified him as a target for police under different circumstances on Saturday. As Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, Ariz., told reporters: "The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous, and unfortunately Arizona has become sort of the capital."

The crass, racialist attitude of this segment pretty much speaks for itself, but there are a few things worth noting.

Daniel Hernandez's surname would not have "qualified him as a target for police" under Arizona's contentious immigration law. That law explicitly forbade police from using a person's race or ethnicity as the sole factor in deciding to inquire as to an individual's immigration status. So that assertion is simply wrong.

But Hernandez's claim derives from the fact that she doesn't bother differentiating between legal and illegal immigrants. The former make up more than 30 percent of Arizona's population, and include the intern in question. Hernandez's heroic actions would only be "painfully ironic" if he were an illegal immigrant - and therefore a target of SB 1070 - which clearly he is not.

New House members would only be "stepping over each other to propose new legislation for more guns on the border" if the issue were border security - in other words, if the shooter turned out to be an illegal immigrant. And if that were the case - if a sitting congresswoman had been shot and nearly killed by someone in the country illegally - they would be derelict in their duty if they didn't do just that.

Hernandez concludes the segment by admitting that "it was only after I saw the shooter's gringo surname that I was able to go on and read the rest of the news about those who lost their lives on Saturday and those who, like Rep. Giffords, were severely wounded."

Wait, she had to check on the shooter's race before reading on? Remind me, why was Juan Williams fired?

All Things Considered NPR Jared Lee Loughner Daisy Hernandez Gabrielle Giffords

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