National Council of La Raza the Latino KKK?

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Our what-the-heck-are-they-thinking news of the day: Supreme Court Justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor continues to be attacked by the conservative right, this time by former Colorado Representative and one-time presidential nominee Tom Tancredo. On Rick Sanchez’s CNN show last week, Tancredo attacked Judge Sotomayor for a snippet of a quote from a 2001 lecture given at a conference at UC Berkeley, calling the judge a racist and criticizing her association with the NCLR, which he likened to “a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses.”

Um…maybe it’s just us, but comparing one of the oldest Hispanic civil rights organizations in the country, which advocates and defends the rights of Latinos (and many other marginalized groups) across hundreds of community affiliates throughout the United States, to a white-supremacist organization with hundreds of years of racist history and which has been linked to lynchings, violence, voter registration obstruction, enforcement of Jim Crow laws, among other deplorable acts, seems a little, oh, we don’t know, like a bit of a stretch?

Judge Sotomayor’s disputed quote was: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” The quote has been shortened to read out of context: “A wise Latina woman…would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male,” which has of course been attacked by several prominent white males, including Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich. The full context and depth of the quote and conference itself has, conveniently, not been talked about.

Someone should tell Mr. Tancredo that the correct name of the organization is not “La Raza,” send him the organization’s website address, www.nclr.org, which explains what it is that they actually do, and show him the full text of Judge Sotomayor’s speech from Berkeley. Maybe then he’ll sound like less of a fool.

Janet Murguía, president of the NCLR, was featured on Rick Sanchez’s show the next day responding to Mr. Tancredo’s comments. “Describing how profoundly offensive this kind of smear campaign against Sotomayor and the nation's largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization would be impossible,” a statement on the NCLR website says. “This outburst was reprehensible not only to Hispanics and communities of color, but to all Americans who want to put this ugly chapter of our history behind us.”

Watch Tancredo’s comments:

 

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