Tag: racial profiling

Parallel Lines

I have not written about the Ferguson situation to this point. It’s not because I am indifferent. It’s because I didn’t think I had much to add on the topic.

ferguson_day_6_picture_44

I mean, so many people have addressed the black-white racial divide, our flawed justice system, the increasing militarization of the police, the obliviousness of white conservatives regarding racial injustice, and the fact that an unarmed minority teenager is more likely to be demonized than a white teen who actually murders people.

That covers a lot of ground.

So let me just point out what few people have mentioned, which is that Latino teens have more in common with Michael Brown than a lot of Hispanic parents would like to admit.

You see, “the deaths of Hispanics at the hands of law enforcement officers literally stretch across the country — from California to Oklahoma to New York City.”

Yes, a majority of Latinos agree “that Brown’s killing raised important racial issues, [but] only 18% of Latinos said that they were following the Ferguson news closely.”

Perhaps Hispanics just find the parallels too disturbing to think about. Or maybe Latinos are exhausted from fighting for basic rights all the time, and want to let our African American brethren handle this issue, under the assumption that it’s more of their problem anyway.

But of course, it’s everyone’s problem.

As we all know, “being Latino in some places is enough to be pulled over under the guise of a minor traffic stop and be asked to prove American citizenship.”

And that should be enough — along with the appeal of basic human decency — to pay more attention to the turmoil in Missouri.


Hard Times

The recession has been over for some time now, and the economy is booming… wait. You say, it’s not booming unless you’re rich?

Well, if you’re still feeling pinched, maybe it’s the fault of individuals heavy on the melanin. The odds are pretty good that you blame them anyway.

pointing

You see, a new study has shown that Americans “become subconsciously more prejudiced against dark-skinned people when times are tight.”

That’s right. On top of devastating the country, wiping out many people’s savings, and increasing the obscene gap between the wealthy and the rest of us, the Great Recession may have had the side effect of increasing racial tension.

To continue reading this post, please click here.

 


Black is the New Black

In my previous two posts, I wrote about Latinos who view themselves as white. Well, it may be coincidental, but I recently ran into a disturbing news item that illustrates how some Hispanics have adopted a traditionally white viewpoint about one topic.

And that viewpoint is a hatred of black people.

Now of course, the vast majority of white people in this country do not hate black people. Nor is bigotry toward black people an unknown concept in Latino society (just look at George Zimmerman for proof of this).

zimm

Still, as we all know, only white people can be truly racist (ha, let’s start that debate again).

But some Latinos in Florida are doing their best to prove that, damn it, we can be racist too if we just try hard enough.

You see, the owners of a Miami apartment complex allegedly turned away prospective tenants who were black, saying that there were no units available. However, when Latino prospective tenants showed up (in some cases, mere hours later), they were quickly shown apartments.

It doesn’t get much more blatant, and the owners, who are Hispanic, are now being sued.

So why would Hispanics, no strangers to prejudice and racial animosity, be so overt about discriminating against black people?

Perhaps it is because ever since the colonization of Latin America, white skin has been portrayed as more desirable in Hispanic culture. Even today, there are Hispanics who, subconsciously or intentionally, see it as their duty to “mejorar la raza,” which means, “to improve the race.” This means “marrying whites only (including white Latinos) — and specifically staying away from indigenous, black, Asian, or mixed potential mates.”

By the way, I’m not saying that Hispanics who marry white people are self-loathing or bigoted against black people.

But it is clear that in some quarters, the message that Hispanics “are expected to internalize is that Latinos should literally become as white as possible over time.”

Such a goal is not only morally repugnant, it is foolhardy. After all, in the future, everybody is going to be so ethnically mixed that we’ll all be a pleasing shade of brown.

It will be enough to give a 22nd-century racist a conniption fit.

 


Fight the Bad Fight

Sometimes, people just don’t know when to quit. For example, the town of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, recently discovered that “after spending eight years and half a million dollars fighting in the federal courts,” it can’t become its own tiny version of the INS.

Hazleton had passed ordinances that penalized anyone who employed or rented housing to undocumented immigrants. However, the U.S. Supreme Court said the laws “were unconstitutional and could never be enforced.”

constitution-with-void-stamp

So now, Hazleton’s leaders don’t have “the will to try again — even if a new law could be crafted that would pass constitutional muster.” So that was a lot of wasted time, money, and effort, all in the service of pissing off the Latino newcomers to “what long had been a Caucasian town.”

But of course, “these days…the town is more diverse,” and residents “are realizing that the Hispanic community has to have a voice.” As such, Hazeltonites (Hazletonians?) are more likely to say, “My bad” and just go about their business ‑– after wasting that aforementioned half million bucks and most of a decade. “Oops,” doesn’t quite cover it.

In this way, Hazleton’s experiences mirror the United States as a whole. Americans are saying they no longer want to crucify every undocumented person and slander Latinos nonstop. In fact, a recent poll “indicates that many Americans have shifted their priorities when it comes to immigration reform.”

According to the Gallup survey, “44% of those surveyed say it’s extremely important for the United States to develop a plan to deal with the large number of undocumented immigrants.” That’s just higher than the 43% who say the top priority should be “beefing up border security to halt the flow of undocumented workers into the country.”

This is part of a trend, in which “Americans of all partisan orientations have come to view border security as less important,” while support for a path to citizenship has remained consistent or increased. And some polls indicate that a majority of Americans believe the government’s main focus “should be legalizing the status of the undocumented rather than border security.”

We’ve spent a lot of time and money trying to kick out people who just turn around and come back, rather than trying to help them to make amends and become part of the culture. Maybe we’re learning that there is a better way.

 


Onward to 2014

This year, I became a father. I can assure you that nothing that monumental and awesome is going to happen in 2014.

But among the few downsides to parenthood is the fact that one has less time to update blogs. So I’ve written less this year. In fact, I’ve missed out on a few stories that I normally would have been all over.

For example, there was this little tidbit from the fine state of Texas, where a Latina politician tweeted her hatred of immigrants, her support for apartheid, her belief that the Jews were behind the 9/11 attacks, and her opinion that Muslims are “vermin.” Why yes, she is a member of the Republican Party. Why do you ask?

Now, I would usually get a lot of mileage out of a self-loathing Hispanic with strong anti-Semitic and Islamaphobic tendencies who also appears to be a paranoid lunatic. But what new parent has the time?

time-travel2-photo-courtesy-of-junussyndicate-on-deviantART

So here’s hoping that in the new year, the little guy will give me a breather now and then to write about such characters. I can’t wait.

 


Alpha Beta Gamma

Because I so often write about the dark side of human nature, I thought I’d pass along some good news in America’s fight against racism. It seems that at the University of Alabama, “multiple African American women have accepted bids to join traditionally white sororities. The move ends the last bastion of segregation at the tradition-bound southern university.”

Now, I’ve never understood why anybody would want to be a sorority girl or a frat boy, but that’s not the point. Surely, we can be happy that another pillar of institutionalized racism has been toppled. And I presume that Latina girls are now eligible to wear Greek-lettered sweatshirts in Alabama.

greek letters

Well, I should have stopped reading the news article there, because in the internet comments section of the story (always a disturbing barometer of what Americans are really thinking), I did not encounter the cheers and upbeat replies that I expected to see.

Instead, I saw a lot of apologists for bigotry. There were the people who said it wasn’t a racial issue, and that the sororities just have high standards, such as the woman who wrote, “I’m as lily-white as they come and had the same chance of getting into a UofA sorority as a black girl.” Well, actually, she had a much better chance, as evidenced by the fact that, according to the article, current “members of the traditionally white sororities said they were pressured by alumnae to keep black women from joining.” Well, if that is not overt discrimination, I don’t know what is.

But many people (and not just that lily-white girl) must have skipped over that line, because I also learned from readers’ comments that the University of Alabama Greek system was not prejudiced. Rather, it was just “the media and everybody else wanting to play the race card,” and those pesky minorities themselves, who keep “cramming [diversity] down our throats [and] keep the pot boiling and that is raging all over the country now.”

There were also the readers who insisted that letting blacks into a formally all-white sorority was a “politically correct situation,” and that minorities should “stop acting like the world owes it to you to be fair.”

And then there were the philosophical bigots, such as the gentleman who insisted that “if we want to reserve the right to not serve or admit a black person, or anyone else for that matter, we should be allowed that freedom.”

But my favorite was the straightforward racist, such as the guy who cracked that the white girls had better “keep an eye on their valuables!”

And at least one commentator saw grim overtones in the concept of black sorority girls, labeling the news as “more White genocide, cheered on by the mainstream media.”

Yes, this was the reaction that this unequivocally positive news story generated. I feel much better about America right now.

Don’t you?

 


Hardwired

Blame it on the amygdala.

amygdala

 

This region of the brain, which plays a central role in processing fear and aggression, may be the source of one of the most insidious concepts to bedevil humankind: racism.

A recent study revealed that people’s amygdalas react differently when they see individuals who do not share their race. Furthermore, the “same circuits in the brain that allow us to see which ethnic group a person belongs to overlap with others that drive emotional decisions.”

To continue reading this post, please click here.

 


Duh

Well, I was going to post something insightful about the Heritage Foundation’s claims that Latinos are genetically destined to be low-IQ drains on society. But I’m just too dim to find fault with what is clearly rigorous, scientifically validated research free of any racial animus. Nope, can’t be done.

In fact, I won’t even point out this study, which implies that both conservatives and racists (and there may be some overlap) tend to have lower IQs themselves. I’m just not bright enough to quote that research.

So instead I’m going to give a shout out to someone I have dismissed regularly, Mr. George Lopez. He pointed out that the GOP obsession with portraying Latinos as threats to America is “fucking crazy.”

another-crazy-lady

It may not be articulate, but it is accurate.

 


Some of My Best Friends Are…

Every time I write about the GOP’s image problem with Latino voters, some conservative sends me an angry missive insisting that it’s all the liberal media spreading lies. I discover that not only does the Republican Party respect Hispanics, but it has their best interests at heart. The missive usually ends by telling me that Republicans are actually the most open-minded and tolerant of Americans.

And then approximately fourteen minutes later, a GOP leader will say something like this:

“My father had a ranch. We used to have fifty to sixty wetbacks to pick tomatoes.

That’s Alaska Representative Don Young, a Republican, who recently said this during a radio interview. Honestly, I don’t know what point he was trying to make, because I can’t get past the casual use of the term “wetback.”

Of course, Young’s fellow Republicans were quick to distance themselves from his offhanded bigotry, while stressing, “Hey, hey, we’re crazy about Latinos.” But this was not some risqué joke or harmless gaffe. This was an elected official resorting to slurs when referring to the fastest-growing ethnicity in America.

Now, I’m not saying that the Democratic Party is immune to racism, but honestly, when was the last time you heard of a Democrat saying something so prima facie bigoted? Yes, I know all about Biden’s “back in chains” comment — something that is not even in the same universe as far as offensive language.

So I have to wonder why wildly derogatory and/or lunatic statements seem to spring solely from the mouths of Republicans.

Sure, such comments are not as egregious as the GOP tendency — even eagerness — to excuse rape. As such, perhaps misogyny is still the Republicans’ number-one issue. But you would think a political movement that, by its own admission, has an image problem with ethnic minorities would take just the smallest care not to fling around racial epithets like its 1950.

So let’s go ahead and accept the congressman’s apology that “there was no malice in my heart or intent to offend,” while dismissing his slur as a simple “poor choice of words.”

But just this once, will you conservatives spare me the corrective email insisting that I have it all wrong? Can you just drop the denial about the white-hot strain of racism in your party that you have allowed to fester and grow? Instead, spend that energy by actually trying to drag your GOP brethren into the twenty-first century.

Or just keep doing what you’re doing. Then sit back and wait from that big group hug from Latinos, because deep down we know that you really, really love us.

 


Bang and Blame

I’ve written before about the fact that people who own guns are more likely to use them on themselves or a loved one than for self-defense.

And I’ve also written before about the tendency of Americans to make up imaginary assailants to cover up their real crimes. Invariably, the fictitious thug is black or Hispanic.

Well, these disparate elements combined this week in Texas, when “police in San Antonio say a group of friends panicked after one of them accidentally shot another in the back, and tried to pin the whole thing on a Hispanic male who never existed.”

Apparently, a 19-year-old kid, who had no problem getting a handgun (this is America, after all), was “handling the weapon in a reckless manner when it suddenly went off.” One of the ace marksman’s friends was hit, and although nobody died, they had to come up with a story when they hit the emergency room.

Naturally, they said a Latino tried to carjack them. The cops, to their credit, didn’t buy it, and the teen hotshot has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and evading arrest.

So what have we learned from this fiasco? Well, for starters, it shows that many Americans still believe nothing is more plausible than a Latino or black man popping up out of nowhere to rob and shoot you. But it also shows that this particular racist trope is pretty much played out.

So as service to you readers who trying to cover up your own botched shootings and/or self-inflicted stupidity, let me offer some advice.

You’re going to have to get creative when you talk to the cops. That means no more “a big scary Latino guy did it!”

To fool the cops, you need to describe your imaginary assailant as such:

“He was half Chinese, half Finnish, with some black Irish on his mother’s side and a smattering of Chilean blood. He was left-handed with a limp, and he had a dueling scar in the shape of a mermaid across his chin. He carried the discrete sadness of enduring multiple heartbreaks, combined with the air of a former military man. His lower-class status belied his bourgouis ambitions, and his racial and ethnic makeup are the perfect encapsulation of America’s changing demographics.”

Then add, “Oh yeah. And he had a gun. Yup.”

Let’s see how that one works.

 


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