10/16/08

NCLR Challenges Distortions Made About Minority Communities

Janet Murguía, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, expressed grave concern about the atmosphere of attacks and distortions on cable television and other media that have focused negative attention on low-income and minority communities. Pundits and others have blamed these groups for the financial crisis and accused them of subverting the political process. Murguía noted that these attacks, broadly aimed at low-income communities and communities of color, encourage division and discord at a time when Americans should be coming together to address our nation’s concerns.

Since January, NCLR has shined the spotlight on organizations and media outlets that demonize immigrants and minorities. Through its website, www.WeCanStopTheHate.org, NCLR has documented the proliferation of hate groups and the extent to which they appear as “experts” in the media on issues like immigration.

“We will not stand by while outright distortions dominate the airwaves,” said Murguía. “These falsehoods foster fear of minority communities and attempt to scapegoat them for our nation’s financial crisis and other problems.”

Murguía noted that for several weeks, pundits and others have made outrageous arguments that mortgage loans to minorities pursuant to the Community Reinvestment Act caused the financial crisis. Since then, respected economists have refuted this claim convincingly.

Recently, the Social Contract Press, an organization with well-documented ties to white supremacists and a long history of publishing white supremacist works, released a study alleging that large numbers of immigrants have improperly registered to vote. Attorney generals from several states have looked into this claim and found no truth to the allegation.

This was followed by other accusations of fraudulent voter registrations with a focus on The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). “ACORN’s long history of helping low-income and minority Americans lift their voices and participate in our democracy is worthy of respect,” Murguía said.

”It is a sad day when some try to taint the intentions of a new generation of eligible voters at a time when there is an unprecedented level of enthusiasm for the political process,” she added. “Everyone who is eligible to vote should register and participate in this historic election. We cannot tolerate voter suppression and intimidation.”
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