Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Cadillac Queens and Crackers: The Nativist Missives of Alan Wall in Mexico

Ronald Reagan would often support his policies with anecdotes that were patently untrue. One of his favorite fictional quips was the “Chicago welfare queen,” who Reagan alleged had 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards, and had collected benefits for "four non-existing deceased husbands," bilking the government out of "over $150,000." The real welfare recipient to whom Reagan referred was actually convicted for using two different aliases to collect a total of $8,000. Reagan continued to use his version of the story even after the press pointed out the actual facts of the case to him. The reason he was able to continue to use this clearly false story was that it played to the bigotries and the biases of his audience. Even if it was untrue, in the minds of his followers it was consistent with their view of reality.

For years much of the news and analysis about Latin America has been distorted by a similar prism of logic. To read textbooks or even academic books written in the 50s, 60s, and 70s about Latin America and Latin Americans is like reading about African-Americans in the 20s, 30s and 40s. There is an underlying – and really quite smug – condescension that pervades such works. They are, by today’s standards, embarrassing. What changed in the intervening years was the growth of a Latin American scholarship to counter the caricatured reality that North Americans were being fed by so-called analysts, journalist and academics. Much of the information we get today is still informed by this sensibility, but at least now we have recourse to alternative sources of information.

The Mexican intellectual community presents a rich array of views on the issue of immigration as it does on many issues dealing with the United States. See for example:

Politics by Other Means: The “Why” of Immigration to the United States, Fredo Arias-King (Center for Immigration Studies, December 2003) (

“[Carlos] Monsivais speaks out on Latinos” (El Universal, April 10, 2004) (

Mexican Intellectuals' Perceptions of Mexican Americans and Chicanos, 1920-Present, Richard Griswold del Castillo, (Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies, v27 n2 p33 74 Fall 2002)

“Whatever the Outcome: The Proposed U.S. Immigration Bill: A Challenge for Calderon to Practice Self-Help in Mexico,” Jenna Schaeffer, (Council on Hemispheric Affairs, June 14, 2007) (

“Interview with Jorge Castañeda, Former Foreign Minister of Mexico,” (Council of the Americas, November 29, 2007) (

What I find most disturbing about the so-called immigration debate is that it is animated as much by anti-Latino animus as by any concern for U.S. workers and the so-called integrity of “our borders.” The most glaring example of this animus is the writing of Harvard professor, Samuel P. Huntington, who makes little secret of his disdain for Latin American culture. (See my piece, “Nativism’s Apologist,” December 20, 2007, The web is awash with ant-immigrant sites that trade as much on hatred as they do on policy. I was challenged by one such site written by a gringo living in Mexico and married to a Mexican woman.

Allan Wall publishes a blog and website about Mexico, immigration and Mexican society on a number of websites, the most prominent being As explained by Wall, the site was named after the first white girl to be born in the New World. What this says about Mexico is as telling as what it says about Wall. Clearly, we have a person anchored in, and in love with, Anglo-America. This bias informs everything that Wall writes. And Wall writes prodigiously.

Wall, who hails from Oklahoma, often features pictures of himself in the battle fatigues and helmet that he wore while stationed in Iraq. I doubt that Wall sees the irony in writing about Latin America while picturing himself in a soldier’s battle uniform. Given the long history of imperialism, gunboat diplomacy, and CIA shenanigans in Latin America one would think that any informed and astute U.S. commentator on Latin America would foreswear such images. Again, Wall is merely reflecting his paradigm, biases and preconceptions.

It is therefore, no surprise that most of his commentary is little more than one long anti-Mexican rant. Wall uses myriad anecdotes to express his ideas. Rarely, if ever, are any of these anecdotes supported by citations to supporting material. “For Mexico's Elite, It's Open Season On Samuel Huntington” April 22, 2004 (; “You Say You Want A Reconquista?,” July 5, 2007 (; “Allan Wall Articles” (comprehensive index of Wall’s articles) ( As well, Wall makes sweeping generalizations that also go unsupported. He imputes motives to whole classes of people, “Mexicans believe…” “The Mexican upper class is motivated by X factor…” Almost any policy move by the Mexican government is viewed as proof of its mendacity. All this makes for good reading to many of his compatriots in the United States, but does little to inform us about Mexico. As Rosalyn Carter once said of President Reagan, “He makes us comfortable with our prejudices.” The same could be said about Wall.

What is most disturbing is that Wall gives credence to a range of crackpot theories. For example, Wall subscribes to the “reconquest” theory. You Say You Want A Reconquista?, The “reconquista” theory is a crackpot theory, advanced prominently by Samuel Huntington, holds that Mexico has designs on the U.S. Southwest—land lost the U.S. in the Mexican War of 1848. No respectable commentator, politician or journalist, either Mexican or Chicano, advances such a nutty idea. But people like Wall and many of his kind, impute this motive as if it were real. Every crackpot can feel comfortable in his resentment of Latinos part of a “fifth column,” waiting to undermine “our society.”

A typical column by Wall deals with the issue of Aztec human sacrifice. Again this is told anecdotally, with Wall mentioning some conversation where Mexicans allegedly defended the practice as advanced medical techniques. Wall imputes nonsense into the monolithic Mexican mouth and then sets out to dethrone it. According to him, Mexicans are in denial about their barbaric past. Never mind the ongoing scientific debate among archeologists regarding which Meso-American cultures practiced human sacrifice and to what extent; the reality is of little consequence to Wall. It’s the fact that Mexican’s refuse to face this “fact.” The implicit message is that Mexicans are barbarous.

Wall rails on like a redneck high on moonshine. He bemoans the rate of welfare use by Hispanics. The Hispanic rate of welfare dependency is higher than [that of] whites and almost as high as [that of] blacks,” he claims in a recent posting. Contradictions don’t matter: Hispanics come only to enrich themselves and return to Mexico but they are also migrating in droves to reclaim the Southwest. Nativist claptrap flows constantly from Wall’s keyboard:

Mexican society as a whole does not respect the sovereignty of the United States of America - and it's ridiculous to expect it to. By "Mexican Society", I refer to the chattering classes (politicians, media, intellectuals) and also to the conventional wisdom on the street. Certainly, in conversations with individual Mexicans, I have heard sympathy for the American side of the problem and even bemusement that the gringos could allow themselves to be so abused by immigrants.

Notice how nobody in Mexico is left out this generalization: all Mexicans – from the chattering classes to the man on the street -- disrespect US sovereignty.

Wall makes no bones about his nativist ideology; he states forwardly that he subscribes to the nativist writings of Peter Brimelow (who wrote Alien Nation). His postings are linked to a variety of nativist and anti-immigrant sites and he is regularly featured on such websites and radio broadcasts. So why worry about one more nut on the Web? Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), called VDARE a "hate group," that was "once a relatively mainstream anti-immigration page," but by 2003 became "a meeting place for many on the radical right." The group also criticized VDARE for publishing articles by Jared Taylor and Sam Francis, along with other authors who deal with race and intelligence.

Once a relatively mainstream anti-immigration page, VDARE has now become a meeting place for many on the radical right.

One essay complains about how the government encourages "the garbage of Africa" to come to the United States. The same writer says once the "Mexican invasion" engulfs the country, "high teenage birthrates, poverty, ignorance and disease will be what remains."

Another says that Hispanics have a "significantly higher level of social pathology than American whites. ... In other words, some immigrants are better than others." Yet another complains that a Jewish immigrant rights group is helping "African Muslim refugees" come to America.

Brimelow's site carries archives of columns from men like Sam Francis, who is the editor of the newspaper of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, a group whose Web page recently described blacks as "a retrograde species of humanity."

It has run articles by Jared Taylor, the editor of the white supremacist American Renaissance magazine, which specializes in dubious race and IQ studies and eugenics, the "science" of "race betterment" through selective breeding.

( "Based on evidence compiled by the Intelligence Report, the Southern Poverty Law Center is adding VDARE to its list of hate sites on the Web. "

As a full-time resident of Mexico,Wall may have somewhat more credibility, when speaking of Mexican attitudes towards the U.S. than say, Tom Tancredo. But this doesn’t entitle him to a free pass when it comes to immigration issues. Wall like most nativists, is a racist at heart—even though he may not consider himself one. And when he speaks, it should be noted that he spouts the same ideology put forward by the racists at the Federation for American Immigration Reform ("FAIR"). See Heidie Beirich (Where Anti-Immigrant Zealots Like Lou Dobbs Get Their 'Facts' - Wall may be a gringo in Mexico, but he remains a true nativist in league with his racist supporters north of the border.

Keeping America White
At a meeting of 'paleoconservatives,' former Forbes editor Peter Brimelow and others sound the alarm on non-white immigration
Southern Poverty Law Center
By Heidi Beirich and Mark Potok

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