No matter how far we come, there seems to always be someone trying to knock us down. Whether with racist comments or laws that systematically target Latinos, there are many things our community still has to fight for. And fight we will! Here’s a look at some people who have tried to keep Latinos down in 2012 – and here’s to a better 2013!
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Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Oh, Joe. Besides his longstanding, um, rigid stance against immigration and his interesting use of words, his civil procedures have been anything but. Now, sensing more of the backlash that has come with his stance (and with a win that was not even close to being a landslide), he has told media that he would love to sit down and chat with Latinos, and that he could get along with “the Hispanics” if they did. We’re not so sure about that…
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who signed SB 1070 and essentially legalized racial profiling and who also compared illegal immigration to terrorism and has said that most immigrants are “drug mules,” has time and time again spoken against the DREAM act, even going so far as to ban public benefits and drivers’ licenses from those who qualify under the DREAM act. Her orders have been met with tons of backlash (rightly so), but something tells us she’s not giving up anytime soon. (Hopefully, neither will those who disagree with her.)
Conservative pundit Ann Coulter recently attacked Latinos in one of her columns, calling Latino immigrants “underclass” and that recent immigrants into America were “the poorest of the poor.” She even went on to say that Latinas have more children out of wedlock and that many of them abuse government benefits to provide for their little ones. Of course, non of these facts ring true – but the rhetoric remains.
Tucson Unified School District
Those running the Tucson Unified School District in Arizona deemed that Mexican American studies in public schools. While they were under pressure from the state government (calling Jan Brewer), the school district voted to abandon its Mexican American Studies courses in order to bring the district in compliance with a new law which forbade classes that advocated the overthrow of the US, promoted racial resentment, or emphasized students’ ethnicities rather than individuality. Moreover, the books that were part of the program were banned too! (At least, in the teaching of classes). There are currently talks to restore the program.
When being pressed on why there weren’t more diverse candidates for Kennedy Center honorees, Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser reportedly told National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts Chairman Felix Sanchez to “go f*** yourself” and then hung up. Kaiser later wrote an apology letter, explaining that diversity is always at the forefront of his considerations. In Kaiser’s 12 year tenure there has been but two Hispanic Honorees: Spanish tenor Placido Domingo and Puerto Rican Chita Rivera.
A 63-year-old Texas math teacher, who was named “Teacher of the Year” twice in her career, told an eighth-grader to “go back to Mexico,” after he repeatedly chimed “I am Mexican” in order to obtain Spanish-language documents. If teachers’ can’t communicate without making offensive comments (regrettably or not), what can America learn?
Some ignorant college students
A “green card” chant captured at Southern Mississippi to a Kansas State student, Penn State students dressing as Mexicans and Baylor students doing the same, some college students are proving ignorance pervades college campuses. No matter your IQ, these racist “jokes” continue on despite grievances, and it’s up to everyone – our community, colleges and parents – to educate our children.
Sheriff Terry Johnson
Sheriff Terry Johnson, a small town sheriff of Graham, North Carolina who reportedly calls Latinos “taco-eaters” was under a two-year investigation by the Justice Department and found that he and his deputies had violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by targeting Latinos. Data showed that Latino drivers were twice as likely as non-Hispanics to be arrested by Johnson’s deputies during traffic stops and deputies were four to 10 times more likely to stop Latinos as opposed to any other group. A spokesperson for the department, after investigation, said that nothing is to change. “We’re doing everything the same way as before because everything we’ve done has been completely legal.”
TSA at Boston Airport
Officials at a Boston Airport were accused of racial profiling, targeting blacks and Latinos. The fact that the complaints were filed internally speaks to a possible big problem – since it’s unusual for transportation agency employees to speak out, this matter can be assumed to be a big one.
Law Professor Lino Graglia
The University of Texas Law Professor Lino A. Graglia is a very accomplished man, but he did not accomplish much when he answered a question from BBC about why so few black students were admitted to UT Austin by saying, “black and Hispanic students were failing academically because they have been raised in single parent homes usually by females.” In fact, this isn’t the first time unproven sentiments have come out of Graglia’s mouth. In 1997, he told a conservative student group that black and Mexican-American cultures, in essence, set up their children for failure. “They have a culture that seems not to encourage achievement.”