Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
April 10, 2006

Toning Down The Radicalism


If you were looking for a front line player in the racist campaign against Mexican immigrants, Michelle Malkin would be a likely candidate.  And what is her primary line-of-attack lately?  It’s that pro-immigration demonstrators have hijacked the American flag.

In a post two days ago, Ms. Malkin accused “illegal alien public relations experts” of advising followers to “tone down their radicalism” by minimizing their use of the Mexican flag.  Ms. Malkin then featured the image above (taken at the huge Dallas protest on Sunday) to suggest the marchers — whom she refers to as “reconquistadors” — simply couldn’t hold back from flying the red, white and green.

Currently, reactionaries like Malkin and The Minuteman are keenly interested in protesters exclusively carrying the Mexican flag.  If I catch her inference, these shots are supposed to demonstrate sole allegiance to Mexico — and that any employment of American iconography is strictly a manipulation.

(image: mjolnir910 at  Via

  • Charles

    Josh Roberts double-locked the door behind him and anxiously peeked through the curtains. He didn’t see any of the dreaded black uniforms of the Federales.
    Roberts turned on his computer and re-set the preferences for English grammar instead of Spanish. Ever since Texas independence turned the state into Nuevo Tejas, all English language publications were illegal. If anyone found out about Liberty, Robert’s underground newspaper, he and his family would be tossed into the Dallas County jail for . . . well, who knew for how long?
    Roberts had worked for the Dallas Morning News before it was banned and re-born as the Dallas Reconquista. Reconquista stood for re-conquest; the acquisition by immigration of the lost Mexican territories of Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona. It once seemed like a ridiculous idea, but the numbers made it a reality.
    After the 2006 amnesty bill gave citizenship to fifteen million illegal immigrants, another twenty million Latino illegal immigrants promptly moved to Texas. What Mexico lost at San Jacinto they won back with immigration. Once they had a majority of the electorate, the Latinos simply voted in Latino mayors, chiefs of police, state legislators and – finally – the Governor.
    Vicente Diaz was the Governor until he declared Texas independence from the U.S. and made himself Presidente. The 1876 Texas constitution vaguely allowed independence. But the real power behind independence came from the Mexico/Venezuela oil embargo and the millions of immigrants marching in the streets. The U.S. politicians quickly bowed to the wishes of Latino voters in their own states and let Texas go.
    However, an aide on Diaz’s staff had slipped Roberts secret documents which proved that the Mexican drug cartels provided the financing for Diaz. This was the bombshell Roberts planned for the front page of Liberty. As Roberts opened his newspaper layout program on his laptop, he heard a knock at the door. He went to the door and looked through the peephole.
    All he saw were black uniforms.

  • lytom

    Manipulations, right!
    Manipulation to suspect terrorist when hearing an accent.
    Rousing the alarm at the sight of color and face features that are not white.
    Suspect people speaking foreign language in US. That is unamerican!
    No trust for demonstrators who protest US policies.
    Pledge of allegiance to the government no matter what the government does.
    Follow leaders even to the point of mushroom cloud.
    Accept tortures for the security of US.
    Presume innocence for the corrupt officials.
    Accept spying against anyone as long as it is “justified”, approved by the system.
    Call for democracy in other coutries even if their elections were better that those in 2000 in US, after all 48% is good enough for us.
    Do not rock the boat! Everything is being done for the benefit of US, and so do question any of the above.
    Trust your leader he will let you know the truth:-) even if it has to be declassified.

  • steve talbert

    Everything I have read that Malkin carps on seems to be a desperate attempt to seem ‘white’ due to some self hatred or something she projects on others.
    The US is a nation of immigrants, not all who entered ‘legally’ through the years.

  • Asta

    There’s just nothing like a frosty cup of cold fear in the morning to set me off on the RIGHT foot.
    Last week, I only had to fear homosexuals, liberals, muslims, Al-Qaeda, bird flu, cancer, tap water, flesh-eating bacteria and communism. Now I gotta add all things Latino. Do I add Jennifer Lopez, Cheech Marin and Emilio Estafan to the list? Can I still listen to my Los Lonely Boys and Santana CDs? And eat chiles poblanos?
    I am so confused.

  • Annoying Old Guy

    Perhaps if so many people didn’t try to erase the difference between legal and illegal immigration, you wouldn’t be so confused. But if the difference is erased via Newspeak like euphemisms of “undocumented”, it becomes no longer possible to oppose only the illegal kind. It seems quite vicious to lump in all legal Latino immigrants with the criminals, but that’s the Modern American Left for you.

  • Annoying Old Guy

    Looking at the image, are you saying that American citizens shouldn’t be upset to see that in America? Shoud not immigrants have some respect for the customs of the host country? Or are is only the culture of the immigrants to be respected? Are you saying that such an image doesn’t cast doub on the desire of the criminal immigrants to be American? Or should is it now “oppressive” to expect immigrants to become full citizens of the country to which they immigrate?

  • Asta

    AOG, sarcasm is lost on you.
    First, I don’t think that it’s ONLY the Modern American LEFT that is soooo upset about 12 million illegal immigrants. The Republican Deep South is up in arms about this issue, but at the same time, they don’t want to lose their cheap labor. They can’t get their teenaged son to mow the lawn, but they can depend on Jose. And Jose does a better job. For way less $.
    I am a little tired, myself, of the argument I continue to hear that we are all immigrants ourselves because I don’t see the relevance of that in dealing with TODAY’S problems. And the bit about Native Americans not being immigrants to this continent, well, theoretically, that may not be true. They may have traveled here from Asia across Alaska when things were much warmer. (Wait a few years, and that land bridge will reveal itself again, and then we’ll have the Siberian Immigration Crisis.)
    I am not the one practicing Newspeak and blurring the differences between legal, illegal and undocumented and all the other forms of BS being bandied about. It’s the right wing pundits. There is no liberal media anymore, so let’s get past that moot point.
    We have done a disastrously lousy job of handling this problem which has been growing for years. And I don’t know what the outcome will be, maybe it will be all about Black Uniforms, maybe Charles is not so paranoid. But I would like to think the immigrants would WANT to become part of our country, speak English, pay taxes, contribute to their community; otherwise, they will be viewed as Invaders.
    The question that bothers me is — why aren’t there jobs in Mexico? What went wrong there? Why does a man have to risk his life crossing the river, or being smuggled insided a suffocating, hot truck trailer, in order to feed his family? Why is Mexico still a third world country?
    Maybe we’re all asking the wrong questions here.

  • Gary

    Oh dear! You’re not supposed to have the other flag be higher than ours! See? They are planning to retake our territory! Oh dear oh dear, what ever will we do?

  • Carl Manaster

    This “they’re planning to retake our territory” meme is one I wasn’t aware of until the other day when my Rush-listening neighbor mentioned that she and her husband were considering moving to England because “I’ve talked to some of ‘them’ and they want to take California back!” A peek thru the looking glass.

  • readytoblowagasket

    AOG: Are you saying that *criminals* are picking my prewashed micro mesclun? Dammit! I hate when that happens!
    What scares me more than any immigrant’s flag is that Malkin has been able to build an entire career on her pathological racism, lazy reporting, and poor writing. That depresses me beyond return.
    In the meantime, I keep waiting for even ONE cogent argument to come out of the Racist Right headquarters about this issue. So far, nothing even remotely challenging to sink my teeth into. Funny how the racism just can’t be spun out of it.

  • Asta

    I think it would be a good thing to read this blog:
    She has the facts and the numbers. She will make Charles feel better and he can go to sleep tonight without having to look under his bed.
    Something to consider:
    “According to the National Center for Immigration Law, one in ten U.S. soliders who have DIED in Iraq have been immigrants. Five percent of those serving in our military are illegal immigrants.
    The first soldier to die for the United States in the current war in Iraq was Marine Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala.”
    Perhaps the immigrants should be the wary ones. Perhaps this sudden media attention to the 11 million illegals and the outcry to legalize them is one way Bush can find warm bodies to fill those US Army vacancies for his never-ending war. Just a thought.

  • momly

    Well, let’s see. If I were to fly the flag of all the nations that came together to produce ME! I’d need: Sweden, The Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany, Poland, and God (really!) only knows what other borders were crossed to intermarry and make my ancestors. It just seems so much easier to fly Old Glory who has welcomed all these countries in the past even though one of my great grandfathers jumped ship in Philadelphia and “became” an American at the turn of the last century. Does that make me illegal?
    It has been mentioned on other blogs dealing with this issue that if the US were to take seriously the immigration laws already on the books- particularly the regulations for EMPLOYERS – we would not have this “problem”. It is because corporations have allowed an influx of cheap labor while the government looked the other way that we are in this spot. Sort of like oh, the same place as 100 years ago the only difference is the color of the skin.
    Which is the point, isn’t it?

  • NrkeyQueer

    Malkin (or her handlers) are attempting to foist a sort of domination/submission sexual anxiety here, subsumed into a visual representation of the metaphorical narrative of American expansion. The American narrative has proceeded headlong and full speed from east to west. Manifest destiny and all that good stuff. Our neighbors, exspecilly Mexico, have been sidelined. The fact we co-existing next to the country we stole vast swathes of our territory from remains unexamined. Would we be the worlds economic dynamo without that extra territory/population gained during the Mexican/American War?
    What is so disturbing to Malkin and others about this picture is that the USA (subtext: big, dominant, male, white, virile, won the war) is usually topping Mexico (subtext: smaller, exotic, inviting, female, receptive). Showing Mexico topping America subverts both the gender binary and historical narrative the United States has based its entire identity on.
    One can no longer ignore countries of the the global south as an economic and political players on a global stage. The destabilization of our east-to-west narrative undercuts almost a century of social programing about our north-to-south relations. Its bound to cause some consternation and cognitive dissonance by those unable to accustom themselves to the social realities of the day.

  • marysz

    Are the Republicans playing it both ways on the immigration issue? The White House pushes the idea of guest workers and possible citizenship for the immigrants, while at the same time, the right-wing commentators spew their usual racism for the Republican base. Are there two sets of talking points? The Administration pretends to be tolerant (not wanting to alienate potential Latino voters), but commentators like Malkin are on hand ready and willing to demonize the demonstrators to keep right-wing nativists happy.

  • Rafael

    This is very simple folks. People go where the money is. And where is the money, in the U.S. Why? Because for the last 100 or so years, the U.S. has cayoled, manipulated and outright conquered it’s neighbors to the South, helping to maintain North American supremacy over two continents.
    Like they say “blowback” is a b….!

  • futurebird

    Perhaps this sudden media attention to the 11 million illegals and the outcry to legalize them is one way Bush can find warm bodies to fill those US Army vacancies for his never-ending war. Just a thought.

    I agree. None of the republican interests in DC are really looking out for these people.

  • Sam

    Ms. Malkin and others might want to remember that everyday they fly the red, white, and green here in Texas, along with the stars and bars and the French and Spanish flags.
    Anybody who has aproblem with displaying the Mexican flag might want to begin by contacting the State Capitol here in Texas, which has the seal of Mexico over the doors, or the Bob Bullock State History muesum, Which flies the Mexican flag everyday.
    Next time Malkin or one of her ilk tell you this, just remind her…it’s heritage not hate.

  • Brian C.B.

    1) If Malkin’s knickers get twisted by this little display, she definitely wants to stay away from a Saint Patrick’s Day or Columbus Day parade. If she’s anxious about flags of actually separatist nations being proudly displayed in America, for God’s sake don’t let her get near one of those Confederate Heritage celebrations. She’ll freak publicly, and her readership will disappear.
    2) Texas secedes? Oh, man, if we could only count on that outcome, I’d be personally building over the Rio Grande one of those moving walkways like you see in airports. One way. North. But statehood is too good a deal for Texas. They’ll stay. Nice inclusion of Venezualan paranoia, though.
    3) If, in a hundred years, Spanish is the official language of the United States, who cares? We’re an enduring republic, our contribution is our Constitution, and it really doesn’t matter if the people in charge are brown and Spanish-speaking.
    4) My family arrived here in 1650. I think the immigration laws then were, “Show up, you’re in.” This condition basically persisted until the early twentieth century. Do I care whether we’re somehow rewarding illegals, or undocumented workers, with a path to citizenship? Not enough to make them return to their native countries–some might not be able to do so– and come back. What a pointless excercise. Rewarding bad behavior if we let them in? Not the first time we’ve done that. Haven’t lost sleep over the other times. Somebody missed a tag, and got away with it. Big deal. There are very few countries that haven’t been enriched by immigration in this world, and we’re less and less one of them. Besides, soon we’ll be welcoming tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees, so we don’t want to get too restrictive.

Refresh Archives

Random Notes