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4 Ways to Confront
a False Accusation

Natalia J. Garland

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False accusations can confuse the political scene and ruin personal reputation. Some false accusations can be politically manipulative by using an emotional connection to history's injustices and by appealing to the conscience of caring people. How can we contain our emotions, maintain our ability to care, and yet pierce through the falsehoods which aim at our humanity? Let's look at four ways to confront a false accusation, including a discussion of an example from recent political events.


(1) Find the facts.
Does the accusation stand up to reality and truth?

(2) Find the thematic thread.
Does the accusation stand up to reason and common sense?

(3) Find the underlying messages and messengers.
There are three possible levels.

(A) Expressed message. This is the face value of any statement.
(B) Insinuated message. This is what is said without directly saying it. The purpose is to make oneself look good and others look bad.
(C) Hidden messengers. Who is really instigating the accusation? Who gains what?

(4) Approach the accusation from different angles.
This is what I call my Cardboard Box Method. Turn the accusation around, upside down, and inside out. Turn the box around and look at the other side. Open the box and pull out the contents. Turn the box upside down and look at the scrapes and scratches on the bottom.

(A) Turn it around. Reverse the direction of the accusation. Point the accusation back to the accuser. People sometimes accuse others of their own thoughts and actions. Give the accusatory box back to its deliverer.
(B) Turn it inside out. Unwrap and expose the real intention of the accusation. Is there a twisting of fact and a manipulation of emotion? Is the truth buried? Dig through all the packaging material and make sure nothing is left in the box.
(C) Turn it upside down. Is there an underlying agenda? How many places had the box been before it reached your destination? Do a little detective work and trace the markings to discern the substance from which the accusatory box is made.


There was a story on T.V. news in which a Hispanic woman, presumably an illegal immigrant, accused I.C.E. of committing the ethnic cleansing of Hispanics because I.C.E. was arresting and deporting them. Let's inspect this accusation according to my four points of confrontation.

(1) Does the accusation stand up to fact? No. I.C.E. has a legitimate job to do, and that job does not include terrorizing and eliminating a population of people. In fact, only a small fraction of illegal immigrants are deported. Moreover, those with dependent children or other hardship issues are usually released to their U.S. homes. Illegal immigrants have broken U.S. immigration laws, and the purpose of I.C.E. is to enforce these laws. If you break the law, no matter how understandable your reasons might be, you risk getting caught and encountering negative consequences.

(2) Does the accusation stand up to common knowledge? No. Instead of living in fear of a massive ethnic-cleansing sweep, illegal immigrants can work in America's sanctuary cities and find refuge in sanctuary churches. This arrangement has been a laiseé faire condition for many years. There has been, and there continues to be, an unofficial partnership between the U.S. government and the businesses which hire illegal immigrants.

America welcomes legal immigrants and encourages assimilation. Assimilation is the opposite of ethnic cleansing.* Many Americans enjoy diversity, but also expect immigrants to identify as Americans and to show loyalty. The melting-pot concept means that we can all live as united Americans despite our different origins and while cherishing our cultural heritages.

(3-A) What is the expressed message? The U.S. government is committing ethnic cleansing against Hispanic people. However, if this were true, Hispanics would not continue to cross the border illegally and would not seek amnesty and citizenship. This underscores the reality that the falsely-called ethnic-cleansing conditions of America are better than the poverty of Mexico. It might be suspected that the Mexican government is cleansing its country of its poor.

(3-B) What is the insinuated message? America is a bad, racist nation. Therefore, ethnic cleansing is within American values and capability. The U.S. should not enforce laws which interfere with innocent foreigners who must illegally cross the border to find jobs, and should not set manageable quotas on the number of immigrants permitted to enter the country. Illegal immigrants should be able to cross back and forth freely. There should be no border, period. Border enforcement and deportation are proof of racism.

(3-C) Who is really instigating the accusation? Who might have introduced the accusing woman to the term ethnic cleansing. We might speculate that she was encouraged, if not coached, by businessmen making profits in the sanctuary cities, by misguided clergy who misinterpret the Bible, and by illegal-immigration activists. What can they gain? They gain or stand to gain: cheap labor, self-righteous leadership, and raw political power.

(4-A) What would happen if we reversed the direction of the accusation? We would have to accuse certain illegal immigrants and their advocates of committing reconquista. That is to say, their goal is to reconquer the southwestern United States for Mexico. The concept of reconquista involves more than the fringe politics of extremist Mexicans, and it goes deeper than any paranoid perception of nativist Americans; it also centers around feelings of entitlement to settle in the U.S. without renouncing allegiance to the mother-country. It means there are certain pro-illegal immigration groups which want to cleanse mainstream Americans of self-determination, to dominate culturally and politically, and to replace America's diverse heritages with culture-bound Mexican ways and the Spanish language.

(4-B) What would happen if we exposed the emotional wrappings of the accusation? The intention seems to be to demonize America with reference to the ugly innards of our history. America approved of and utilized slavery. America slaughtered Native Americans and took their lands. The accusation reinforces the cruel practices of the past, and compels mainstream Americans to hide their faces in shame and guilt. Therefore, the only way Americans can atone for the past, or prove the accusation wrong, is to stop enforcing immigration laws.

(4-C) What is the underlying agenda? Unfortunately for hardworking illegal immigrants, legal immigrants, and everyday Americans, the accusation serves as a mere prop in the theatre of identity politics. It seems that the agenda is to hold America accountable for the poverty of the mother-countries, and responsible for providing jobs and humanitarian services to foreign people. The agenda harbors demands and entitlements, justified by an emotional connection between past abuses and current legitimate laws. The instigators of the agenda achieve a stage for the performance of their self-serving ambitions.


The four confrontations can be applied to various types of accusations: political, professional, and personal. It can help people to balance truth, reason, and emotion, and not to be swayed by the warping and manipulation of these qualities. It is not wrong for kind-hearted Americans to question and analyze the motivation that might be stuffed inside statements presented as facts, or to set limits on out-of-control behaviors and situations. Not to do so would be naive and ultimately self-destructive. (Written 04/07/08)

[*ADDED NOTE: The statement, "Assimilation is the opposite of ethnic cleansing," was meant to suggest a contrasting and positive alternative as well as to emphasize America's humanitarian values. It could also be stated, from a different viewpoint, that anarchy is the opposite of ethnic cleansing. Anarchy might more accurately describe the current illegal immigration situation inasmuch as border laws are broken, Social Security cards are forged, and wages are sometimes off-the-books (no taxes are paid); and inasmuch as these crimes are committed with few or no negative consequences.

The attempt to control this out-of-control situation, to bring order out of chaos, is a matter of law enforcement and not ethnic cleansing. Since Hispanics have been illegally crossing the border for many years, one might say that there has been an ethnic preference for Hispanics in the low-wage labor market. Hispanic and other foreigners are preferred over American citizens because they are willing to work for low wages. The cleansing, therefore, has been that of the American working class.] (Written 04/14/08)

Until we meet again..............stay sane.

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Copyright 2008 Natalia J. Garland