In media we all have seen references made about various groups of people, (or targeting specific individuals), who are often corralled or lumped into one specific type of idea about them. This essentially is “stereotyping” them. Making it seem in one’s mind that one is just like another, is just like another, ad infinitum.
Humans aren’t monoliths, and neither are all groups of people from a specific country, region or ethnic culture.
I happen to know someone that is in the country without papers. They’re an undocumented individual, also known as a “Dreamer”. I obviously can’t name this person, but I’ll just say that came to know them as they are living near by me.
He is a great individual, full of great intentions and is morally upstanding. To say he is a “bum”, or less of a person, or not “American”, just because he lacks a piece of paper is grossly demoralizing to him as a person. But that’s exactly how I’ve seen people like him treated by the media, in some instances.
The “Dreamers”, have been a hot topic as of late. They’re the children of Undocumented workers, many of who were brought here as babies or young children, and this is the only country they have ever known. You have those on the far right of the political spectrum advocating them to be deported, back to a country they never lived in.
I was watching a “news” entertainment show, on a right leaning network and Rep. Jim Jordon of Ohio responded to the Biden Administration saying that they were “pushing legal status for millions of Dreamers to increase the labor supply” to which Jim Jordon later on his Twitter said, “Why not just hire AMERICANS looking for jobs”? It was the capitalization of AMERICANS that caused ire in my eyes.
Jordon was stereotyping the Dreamers as Un-American, even though this is the only country that they have known or lived in. Hiring a Dreamer WOULD be hiring an American, if you think of America as the place you were born and/or raised and grew up.
But we see these attacks from the far-right media, trying to demonize Dreamers and telegraph to their audience that these are “bad people” and that we need to deport them all.
These attacks on Dreamers and undocumented workers also have stemmed from other government officials and then amplified throughout the right-wing media echo-sphere. In 2018, then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said that “some Dreamers ‘too lazy’ and ‘too afraid’ to sign up for DACA.”
This language sows seeds of doubt and fear in the minds of viewers when they see this on the nightly entertainment shows of far-right networks, like Fox. They parrot these stereotypes over and over and then use governmental figures as a way to back up or give themselves clout and cover, for being nativist and racist.
This type of language and character assassination of groups like the Dreamers needs to stop. These loaded phrases, inuendo, and wide-reaching generalizations are harmful to individuals like my friend, who is just trying to make it the best he can. He’s not an MS-13 gang member, he’s not a criminal or a thug; he’s a human. A decent human being, with big dreams of his own.