ethnic conformity

Ethnic conformity

Self-appointed spokespeople frequently claim to speak for everyone else of their race or ethnic group. Obviously, that's wrong: Michael Moore doesn't speak for all white people, and neither does Pat Buchanan.

Last modified Feb 6, 2009
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Clarissa Martinez/NCLR's offensive, misleading pro-illegal immigration editorial - 02/07/09

Clarissa Martinez of the National Council of La Raza (her bio at the first link) offers an offensive editorial called "Think Latinos are ambivalent about immigration?" (link). It's a response to an earlier editorial from Ira Mehlman (link), and it starts with this:

At the height of his hubris, Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)-- an anti-immigrant organization designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center -- decided that he is better qualified than Latino civil rights leaders to speak to Latino views. What's next, David Duke writing about African American views on affirmative action?

See their name's link for more on the SPLC. See the ethnic conformity for the "better qualified" bit. See hispanic civil rights for that part. As for the last sentence, if she'd written "Ward Connerly" that would have just been very inaccurate; the use of Duke is despicable.

...Coinciding with the rise in vitriol in the immigration debate, FBI statistics show a nearly 40% increase in hate crimes committed against Latinos between 2003 and 2008. The Southern Poverty Law Center attributes the 48% rise in the number of hate groups in the U.S. between 2000 and 2007 almost completely to anti-immigrant rhetoric.

The first sentence is based on the SPLC misleading about hate crime statistics. And, the "number of hate groups" represents the number of groups on the SPLC's list, it isn't some official or widely accepted figure. It was also obtained by adding non-"hate" groups to the list, and it almost assuredly reflects the SPLC's attempts to scare up donations by finding something to oppose as their original opponents wane.

At least 10 million Latinos turned out to vote on Nov. 4, a stunning increase from the approximately 7 million who voted in the 2004 general election.

Shortly after the election, the Pew Hispanic Center said, "8% of the electorate was Latino, unchanged from 2004"; see the discussion here. See also the Hispanic vote compared to the full electorate.

And where immigration was concerned, Latinos supported the candidate that was more clearly in favor of reform. They did this during the primaries (Latinos were a deciding factor in Sen. John McCain's primary victory over other Republicans, delivering Florida at a crucial juncture of the campaign) and in the general election (They helped President Obama in key states such as Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia).

Why Hispanics mostly voted for Obama isn't known; not even a "Latino civil rights leader" is able to read minds.

In the absence of a thorough discussion of immigration during the general election at the presidential level, what informed the sensitivities of Latino voters on this issue was the overall tone of Republican candidates during the primaries and in races at the local level. McCain suffered the consequences of being a member of a party that wholeheartedly embraced anti-immigrant rhetoric and the scapegoating of Latinos to score political points. There are, of course, some notable exceptions, including McCain. The party's strategy backfired

She continues her mind-reading, and ignores the fact that the GOP leadership was more than willing to completely pander to Hispanics at every opportunity and that there are no national GOP politicians who "embraced anti-immigrant rhetoric and the scapegoating of Latinos", unless one defines those terms extremely broadly to include a fact-based discussion of the impacts of massive/illegal immigration.

She then discusses some pro-border Republicans who lost their races; finding counter-examples is left as an exercise. Then, she finishes with this:

The next time Mehlman decides to chime in, he should stick to discussing what he knows best: how his group has stood in the way of our nation solving its immigration problem.

Earlier she said that Mehlman isn't qualified to discuss Latino issues because of his race, and that bit has more than a bit of a racist tinge such as one might have heard coming out of a Mississippi politician in the 50s.