Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Media > George Will’s column makes the case to why mainstream media needs Latino opinion columnists and network political pundits

George Will’s column makes the case to why mainstream media needs Latino opinion columnists and network political pundits

LatinaLista — If it weren’t for the fact that the columnist George Will is held in such high esteem by The Washington Post or ABC News, I wouldn’t even comment on Mr. Will’s latest column where he applauds Arizona’s SB 1070 and buys into Governor Brewer’s statement that the law will be enforced “evenly.”


Will compares this equal treatment under the law as being the same as when everyone is screened at the airport.

Because the nation thinks as Brewer does, airport passenger screeners wand Norwegian grandmothers. This is an acceptable, even admirable, homage to the virtue of “evenness” as we seek to deter violence by a few, mostly Middle Eastern, young men.

Mr. George Will

Unless Mr. Will believes everyone is going to be stopped and asked for their birth certificates, I don’t see how he can rationally believe that this law will be as evenly enforced as airport screenings — if only it was.

The simple truth is it can’t be and for Mr. Will to think otherwise illustrates one of two things: 1.) He really doesn’t get the fact that when a police officer sees or hears any person of brown skin or Spanish-speaking or speaking English with a pronounced accent, a red flag of “reasonable suspicion” is automatically raised and that person will be asked for their papers. If that person doesn’t have their papers on them, because they feel why should they have to, if they’re a citizen, their whole day is shot because chances are they won’t be believed and will be hauled to some detention center until a spouse or parent brings their birth certificate.

Or 2.) Mr. Will feels it’s perfectly fine to violate the Constitutional rights of Latino citizens.

Either assumption on my part is disturbing to me. Not because Mr. Will should feel this way but because this is a gentleman who is allowed to voice his opinions in prestigious news outlets that have minimal, if any, Latino representation to counter his opinion.


Thankfully, there was an op-ed column published by The Washington Post that countered Mr. Will’s views — by Michael Gerson.

It was eloquent, logical, practical and reasonable and laid out the facts, not like I would have Mr. Will see them, but how they exist.

Yet, if it weren’t for Mr. Gerson’s opposite take on the same subject, I have to wonder who else among the Post Opinion Writers’ group would have seen the harm this law does to Latino citizens.

In looking over the roster of Post opinion writers, there is not one Latino or Latina surname included on the list of 33 writers. (Not knowing the individual biography of each writer and just going by their last name, I have to assume they’re not Latino/a).

Last names include: Applebaum, Dvorak, Pearlstein and vanden Heuvel, among others. In this day and age, with so many talented Latino and Latina newspaper writers, there is no excuse anymore for any newspaper to not have Latino representation among their opinion writers.

The same is true for the Sunday morning network news shows.

On ABC’s This Week, which is a regular vehicle for Mr. Will to further share his perspectives on current events, there is not one Latino or Latina who also is afforded such a prestigious recurring role on the show.

In fact, if ever there is a Latino or Latina guest panelist — and I’m giving ABC News the benefit of the doubt because I don’t recall tuning in and seeing one — they are far and few between.

Given that immigration will be addressed in Congress this legislative session and the current situation in Arizona and news that other states want to replicate Arizona’s law, the Latino community will be in the headlines.

It would be refreshing and authoritative to hear from the mouth of someone who knows what is happening in Latino communities firsthand and doesn’t have to speak about Latinos in third person or make bad assumptions or invent analysis of what is happening in our communities.

A Latina or Latino who is an editorial columnist and/or television political panelist brings that kind of firsthand knowledge to the table and can enlighten and correct misperceptions and stereotypes that are still allowed to flourish because too few mainstream media companies are willing to open their ranks to more Latino and Latina writers and political pundits.

And because of that, columnists like George Will, who are continuously given a golden platform to perpetuate out-of-touch perspectives on a community with whom he has little personal contact — given his op-ed — are seldom rebutted from a personal perspective.

And, if Mr. Will really understood the uproar over AZ SB 1070, he would understand that it’s totally personal — and the depth of the insult runs deep among all Latino citizens.

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  • David O. Garcia
    April 28, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Will’s TSA comparison also lumps Latinos into the same pot as violent terrorists perpetuating a negative stereotype.

  • Karen
    April 28, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    if the police ask American citizens people of all races for their birth certifactes or passports just to move around in their own country, we will have become a police state. This law is like the pass laws in South Africa. Soon, they will require ID to move from state to state, then it will just escalate from there.
    George Will is a fascist and a racist. He needs to retire already.

  • cookie
    April 29, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Wrong, Marisa! This law forbids racial profiling.
    LE can only stop someone if they are suspected of or caught in a crime (it can be even a traffic violation. They cannot stop someone just because of their skin color,ethicity or having an accent or speaking Spanish.
    If they can produce valid I.D. no further questioning will occur about their status in this country. Reasonable suspicion would only occur if they can’t produce valid I.D.
    I would think that a journalist wouldn’t report falsehoods. Did you even bother to actually read what the bills says? Your assumption that racial profiling will occur anyway is just that…your biased assumption.
    It is only illegal aliens and their supporters that are trying to drum up some fake excuse not to enforce our immigration laws based on nothing more than they don’t the illegals caught. Yours and the whole pro-illegal side’s objections and drummed up excuses are very transparent.

  • Bryan J.
    April 29, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Mr Will is also thought that reinterpreting the 14th amendment to revoke birthright citizenship would be a positive step for immigration reform.
    In that op-ed, he cited to a law review article that was not published in any legitimate law review publication–it was a special interest, conservative publication.
    In other words, you are right Marisa. Mr. Will presents as a well, respected high up journalist, but he is clearly dishonest behind it.

  • Bryan J.
    May 2, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    “Yours and the whole pro-illegal side’s objections and drummed up excuses are very transparent.”
    Em,it’s not like any pro-cir website hide their motivation for a legalization of “illegals” that are already here.More importantly, however, SB1070 is not just about protecting the dastardly “illegals” To Wit:
    Unbenownst to many superficial observers of “illegals” many “illegals” who appear to be “illegal” may actually have authorization to stay here. Final unlawful presence is generally decided in removal proceedings, which can go on for years and years. So, in effect, this law(forget the legal hispanics for now), may criminalize certain “illegals” for unlawful presence when, after all, they were not unlawful in the first place. (See comments section on this link, for a concrete example:
    As to the actual citizen/legal hispanic residents, there are grounds for real concern.
    The writers of the bill–FAIR–basically admitted that the original bill could lead to racial profiling; that is why they amended it to change “lawful contact” to “stop”.
    “lawful contact”, it appears, would encourage a police officer to, for example, walk up to an individual on the street and begin a casual conversation. If, at that point, the officer realized the individual does not speak English, has a dark-skin complexion, and is from Mexico, the would have reasonable suspicion go on in his inquiry for “papers”
    The reason racial profiling is being said throughout the blogosphere is simple and not motivated by some “bias”.
    To be effective, attrition through enforcement would likely need to racially profile. Why? Because the majority of that 450,000 + undocumented population is Hispanic. Therefore, it would make no sense to enforce the law against the majority white population since there are very few undocumented amongst it.
    It’s simple math.

  • adriana
    May 2, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    You are most certainly correct that the traditional media needs more Latino voices, but I think that until we start to demand it… we are going to get stuck with types like George Will. I wonder how many Latinos have written letters to the editor to the WaPo for Will’s columns?

  • Pablo
    May 3, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Now more than ever George Will cannot pass for Latino.

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