Latino Politician Resigns Over Racist Remarks

Embattled Republican politician Fernando de Baca resigned yesterday amid allegations that he had injected racial politics and bigotry into the current presidential election. De Baca, chairman of the Republican Party in Bernalillo County, New Mexico was quoted on the BBC Blog Talking America as saying Hispanics "won't vote for a Black president".

When pressed on the issue, de Baca went on to clarify his position, explaining that the difference between Latinos and Blacks stem from the fact that, "Hispanics came here as conquerors. African-Americans came here as slaves." He also sited Latino affiliations with the Catholic Church and our emphasis on hard work and family values as characteristics that make our population more politically conservative, thus more likely to vote for McCain come Nov. 4th.

Of course, de Baca does not speak for the majority of Latinos in the country or even in his state, where Obama currently holds a relatively comfortable 9 point lead on McCain in the polls. A variety of state political leaders, both Anglo and African American, called for his resignation immediately following the politicans blatantly racist statements. Yesterday, citing the "media circus" that had developed as a result of his incendiary comments, de Baca resigned saying, "It's time to step aside and let the candidates and the political races that are so important to this country and democracy be placed in focus."

Quite frankly, we find these statements damaging not only to us as a Latino people, but also to the common decency that we should share as Americans. Forget the fact that de Baca ignores the reality of most Latinos who are of mixed race and share Spanish, Native American and African ancestry. It is totally ridiculous to try imply that any race, ethnicity or nationality is better than another. As a people we should be able to rise above these superficial judgments and vote our issues and our conscience.

What do you think? Do you believe that Latinos are hesitant to vote for Obama based solely on his race? Is this an important factor for you to consider when thinking about who should be the next president of the United States?