Photo: courtesy of Gisele Fetterman
Pennsylvania’s Second Lady Gisele Fetterman
lives in Braddock, but grew up in Brazil. She came to America and was an undocumented immigrant for some time, but gained U.S. citizenship later in life. She is married to Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D-Braddock).
On Feb. 1, she spotted a large window sticker on a pick-up truck in West Mifflin that gave her pause. The sticker read “Fuck Off, We’re Full” in the shape of the continental U.S. The sticker is sold on Amazon, and is described as an “Anti Immigrant Vinyl Car Bumper Window Sticker.”
Fetterman tweeted that day that sticker made her feel nauseous and asked Amazon to “reconsider the power and influence” of their platform.
Today, Amazon replied to Fetterman’s tweet to inform her that they are removing the item
from their website and contacting the seller.
In a statement to Pittsburgh City Paper
, Fetterman thanked the many who joined her call in pressuring Amazon to rethink selling the sticker.
“I am grateful the majority of folks who saw my original post to Amazon, experienced the same feelings of indignation,” said Fetterman. “Collective action was able to quickly effect change in this situation.”
The idea that America is “full” is one that has no basis in fact. The U.S. is a very large country with wide swaths of emptiness, as well as an abundance of natural resources. It has the 174th largest population density in the world. Uzbekistan, Panama, and Egypt have more people per square mile than America.
And the idea makes even less sense specifically in Pittsburgh, where the metro area has been losing thousands of residents every year, and today is more than 70,000 residents smaller than it was in 1990. In fact, immigrants are the main reason
Pittsburgh's population decline hasn't been much worse.
This anti-immigrant idea of American being too full for new arrivals is one concocted from the white nationalist movement. Cordelia Scaife May
, an heiress to the Mellon banking fortune, funded white nationalism movements for decades that were veiled as environmentalism and tried to spread the message that the U.S. was "overpopulated."
Today, May's philanthropy to anti-immigrant movements is carried on by Pittsburgh’s Colcom Foundation
, which continues to push rhetoric about how America is “overpopulated,” and gives millions of dollars
a year to organizations deemed hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center
. While human activity is responsible for climate change and environmental degradation, those citing overpopulation as a grave concern typically have extreme, violent, and racist views.
Last year in New Zealand, a mass shooter killed 51 people in a string of attacks at a Mosque and an Islamic Center. The shooter cited “overpopulation” in his manifesto. New Zealand is the 200th most dense country in the world.
Last August in El Paso, Texas, a mass shooter killed 22 in a Wal-Mart. The incident has been described as the deadliest anti-Latino attack, and the shooter also included “overpopulation” in his manifesto, as well as other anti-immigrant and white nationalism motivations.