Our VoiceCulture

Frosty Wooldridge Blames Immigrants, Muslims, & “Free Government Handouts” for Detroit’s Decline

Lauren Taylor • Jul 31, 2013

Frosty Wooldridge, advisory board member at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), recently blamed Detroit’s decline on Muslims and Mexicans. Not uncommon among the far-right, his particularly nasty essay brings together anti-black racism, sexism, and xenophobia. 

Conjuring up the spirit of the racist “welfare queen” trope made famous by Ronald Reagan in his effort to criminalize and demonize mothers, particularly nonwhite mothers, receiving government benefits, Wooldridge asserts: 

“With Aid to Dependent Children, minority women birthed eight to 10, and in one case, one woman birthed 24 children as reported by the Detroit Free Press, all on American taxpayer dollars. A new child meant a new car payment, new TV, and whatever mom wanted.”

Wooldridge quickly applies the historical myth to the current landscape, asserting that it’s immigrants who are taking advantage – and multiplying – because of over-generous welfare programs. He says, “Legal and illegal immigrants converged on the city for the free government handouts, so much so, that Muslims number over 300,000. Mexicans number 400,000 throughout Michigan, but most work in Detroit . As the whites moved out, the Muslims moved in.”

Central to many of Wooldridge’s arguments is the fear that a growing number of immigrants and other people of color will  displace whites – geographically, numerically, and culturally – from a position of societal dominance. Wooldridge continues, warning that this flood of immigrants will create “a beachhead for Islamic hegemony in America.” He adds, “As their numbers grow, so will their power to enact their barbaric Sharia Law that negates republican forms of government, first amendment rights, and subjugates women to the lowest rungs on the human ladder.”

Given his previous comments demonizing the reproductive choices of mothers who receive federal benefits – and his preoccupation with population, it’s hard to take seriously his purported concern for women’s rights.  At the very least, his arguments are paternalistic as he takes on the role of protector and representative of women’s interests. But who does he really think he is protecting? And who is he protecting them from?

By positioning immigrants, women of color, and their children as a threat and undeserving intruders in Detroit and throughout the US, Wooldridge reinforces the white nationalist leanings of both the modern day anti-immigrant and Islamophobia movements. Perpetuating the bigoted, fear-based rationalization that the country’s changing racial landscape is somehow a threat to white America not only impedes progressive efforts toward a more multiracial democracy, it also ignores legitimate claims to land, rights, healthcare, families, and home for all people. We would be wise to see this argument, and the politics it advances, as the real threat to safety, economic stability, and reproductive freedom.  

Imagine 2050 Newsletter

  • translate

    English • Afrikaans • العربية • Беларуская • Български • Català • Česky • Cymraeg • Dansk • Deutsch • Eesti • Ελληνικά • Español • فارسی • Français • Gaeilge • Galego • हिन्दी • Hrvatski • Bahasa Indonesia • Íslenska • Italiano • עברית • Latviešu • Lietuvių • 한국어 • Magyar • Македонски • മലയാളം • Malti • Nederlands • 日本語 • Norsk (Bokmål) • Polski • Português • Română • Русский • Slovenčina • Slovenščina • Shqip • Srpski • Suomi • Svenska • Kiswahili • ไทย • Tagalog • Türkçe • Українська • Tiếng Việt • ייִדיש. • 中文 / 漢語