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

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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.”

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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.