White fear of minorities

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

With the growing impact of minorities in elections, Fox News conservative TV host Bill O'Reilly lamented that "traditional America, as we knew it, is gone." On election night, he explained that "the demographics are changing … the white establishment is now the minority."

He acts like Irish Catholics named O'Reilly were always part of "the establishment," even long before Bing Crosby's Father O'Malley sang "Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral" in the 1945 film "Going My Way."

A generation earlier, in World War I, not only weren't the Irish part of the white American establishment, but Poles, Italians, Germans and, of course, Jews. Jon Stewart hilariously lampooned O'Reilly, noting that according to the liberal 19th-century Christian Examiner, "the ill-clad and destitute Irishman is repulsive to our habits and tastes."

America's "establishment" is ever-changing, thankfully, or it would still be the white, property-owning, male-only, protestant American establishment.

People like O'Reilly talk of the death of "the American establishment" to spread fear about Hispanics and blacks. He overlooks that today's establishment embraces minorities who were once feared, even the Republican presidential candidate's Mormons.

We have nothing to fear from Hispanics, as we once didn't of Catholics and Jews. We have nothing to fear but fearmongering itself.

Michael Hanson

Salt Lake City