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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

"Damn Orientals and Indians"

As has been reported by several blogs, a radio station in New Jersey broadcast racist and offensive commentary aimed at Asians and Indians. Below is a partial transcript of the material in question:
Caller: I had just moved out of Edison because of what has happened in the past 10 years… Orientals are all along, the whole complete route 27. And Indians have taken over Edison in north and all over.

Carton: Damn Orientals and Indians.

Caller: I..i moved out..36 years I’ve lived in Edison

Carton: And what was the biggest problem you had with the Orientals and the Indians ?

Caller: I can’t handle them! There’s no American people anymore.

Carton: Eh..Caller: There shoving us the hell out!

Carton: It’s like you’re a foreigner in your own country isn’t it?

Caller: You go to own store and you can’t even see American people, you don’t see our own kids, American kids, working in stores anymore…

Unfortunately, this this on-air incident is not the first that we have seen in recent memory; this discriminatory language follows a pattern of offensive talk-radio that deserves widespread condemnation from both minority communities and sensible listeners alike.

To any thinking that this incident or the "us v. them" debate generally isn't substantively important, read this insightful essay in the Guardian (UK). Immigration has become a controversial topic as the British election nears, and the author of this piece pinpoints why the issue resonates with voters desiring more restrictive immigration policies:

But I suspect that the reason that so many people cite immigration as a concern is not simply the uninformed suspicion that they are being cheated of homes or social security. The figures appear to suggest the opposite: that immigrants benefit the economy. What really frightens them is the fear that their country is being slowly stolen from them by people who do not have a stake in it.

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