Monday, April 01, 2013

Gaffes like these give racism a bad name

"Listen, Cavanaugh, it's not KITE, it's KIKE. K-I-K-E, kike. You know, you're too stupid to even be a good bigot." — Brian Schwartz, Porky's

This movie quote immediately sprang to mind when I read that Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) had used the term "wetbacks" to describe the cheap labor his dad employed on his farm. Even Carlos Mencia had to palm his face on that one.

"Wetback" is such an ancient slur for Mexican that I didn't hear it until I was 14, and only then as part of a George Carlin routine. And might I add I was raised in south Louisiana, where the racial-slur beer flows like Dumb and Dumber wine? That's serious stuff.

But even if the term wasn't the remnant of Joe Arpaio's father, it's still not cool. Don't today's bigots know that you couch the hatred? Today's siren Stormfront song is the dog whistle. No longer do you use direct epithets to describe minorities — you talk about "welfare queens" and "illegal immigrants" who "take our jobs" and from whom "we want our country back." You joke about tacos and monkeys, then insist that the jokes are something entirely different than racism. And of course, you abhor racism, even as you blame "the PC Police" for keeping you from saying what you want. Couch, then deny. That's how you do prejudice in the 21st century!

The saddest thing is, Young picked the worst possible way to make his point. All he had to say was that they used to have 50-60 laborers to pick tomatoes. It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. That last sentence wasn't even paraphrased! He said "people" one second after saying "wetbacks." One word change and his unfortunate racial tendencies could have remained under wraps. 

It's as if someone said, "Men make more money than broads for the same work." It practically takes effort to slip that in.

Too stupid.

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