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Sharron Angle Immigration Ads Prey on Fear, (Recycled) Racial Stereotypes

by Jacquelyn Mahendra on 10/06/2010 at 1:05pm

In Nevada, Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle has released one of the most offensive television ads of the 2010 election cycle. With only four weeks to Nov. 2, that’s saying a lot.

The controversial ad uses immigration as a wedge issue, attacking Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) for his support of federal immigration reform legislation, including (one assumes) the DREAM Act.

The ad features three dark-skinned actors sneaking by a chain link fence.  These images of “scary aliens” are contrasted with images of white college students and workers as the narrator asks, “What does Harry Reid have against you?” The ad does nothing to promote real solutions to our immigration crisis, but it does prey on emotional stereotypes.

Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, said:

This ad will go down in history as one of the most blatantly racist television ads of the 2010 cycle.  Unfortunately, we’ve seen it before – politicians stirring the pot and stoking racial fears to scare up votes in the final weeks of an election.  It brings back bad memories of the Willie Horton ad in 1988. The parallels between her campaign and that of former California Governor Pete Wilson are striking—and will do irrevocable harm to the Nevada Republican Party with Latinos for generations to come.

The good news is, Sharron Angle’s camp recycles — maybe they’re going green?

Think Progress’ Andrea Nill points out that one image of menacing Latino “Illegal Aliens” in hoodies and backward caps (at right) is the exact same stock photo seen in an attack ad from Sen. David Vitter (R-LA). Apparently, racial stereotypes are expensive, folks. Better to buy in bulk.

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