By Gabrielle Seunagal
Iowa Republican, Steve King attracted criticism after posting a tweet which read the following: “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” The statement is open ended, mildly confusing, and leaves a plethora of room for interpretation. King would have done well to clarify exactly what people he believes falls into the category of ‘somebody else’s babies.’ People who fall under the category of immigrants appears as the most likely match for ‘somebody else’s babies.’ Nonetheless, King’s tweet was in response to a Dutch parliamentarian who aspires to close all Mosques and ban the Quran.
“Somebody else’s babies.” The coined phrase is both interesting and thought-provoking. Upon hearing it, mild confusion is engendered, but with additional thought, the remark takes on a more insidious implication. Depending on the person speaking, “somebody else’s babies” can include immigrants, people of color, military officers, and others. A plethora of conservatives have spoken out against King’s declaration, noting the contrast that it has with American values. In response to King, Bill Kristol tweeted, “Is it worth making the obvious point that what American history has been about is “restoring” ourselves with “somebody else’s babies?” Kristol has a fair point and in actuality, we as Americans are all ‘somebody else’s babies.’ Legal immigrants who have come to this country are ‘somebody else’s babies.’ Descendants of legal immigrants and slaves are ‘somebody else’s babies.’ Regardless of race, class, ethnicity, religion, etc, we all can be classified as ‘somebody else’s babies.’
Republican consultant, Paris Dennard made a fair point on CNN when discussing King’s latest controversial comments. Dennard’s statement that King tapped into an anger and fear that some Americans have in relations to the plight of illegal immigration is accurate. He clarified that he was not defending King’s remarks, but merely observing the potential root. Dennard also correctly asserted that King should have phrased his thoughts differently.
Regardless of King’s intentions, the support of David Duke does not help his cause. Duke is an infamous former KKK grand wizard and in response to King, he tweeted: “GOD BLESS STEVE KING!!! #TruthRISING.” A person’s supporters are a vivid representation of who they are and the support of an indisputable racist does not paint King in a favorable light. ‘Somebody else’s babies’ is an insensitive remark at best and xenophobic at worse. Many people have interpreted the statement as an attack on immigrants and Duke’s support has only further confirmed those beliefs.
The severe backlash has not hindered King from firmly standing behind his assertions. Earlier this morning, King expressed his desire to see “an America that’s just so homogeneous that we look a lot the same, from that perspective.” He also stated that he was not backing down and meant exactly what he said in the controversial tweet.
By Gabrielle Seunagal