Utne Blogs > Politics

‘You Lie’: Why Talk About Immigration Derails

 by Julie Hanus

Tags: Politics, cultural criticism, U.S., health care, Joe Wilson, Obama, loaded term, illegal immigrants, ColorLines, Rinku Sen, Channing Kennedy, RaceWire,

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) issued his now infamous outburst—“You lie!”—during a very specific part of President Obama’s health care speech: the dismissal of claims that a new health care plan would cover “illegal” immigrants.

“In an instant, Wilson was willing to breach protocol, embarrass himself, and undermine his party—because he was so infuriated by the idea that Obama’s plan might provide care to a certain group of people,” Channing Kennedy writes on ColorLines’ blog RaceWire.

To illuminate why “our conversation around immigration [is] so often driven to extremes, both of language and of policy,” Kennedy points to a fantastic short video about the loaded term illegal featuring ColorLines publisher (and 2008 Utne visionary) Rinku Sen.

Source: RaceWire, ColorLines