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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Politics > Richardson’s withdrawal from Cabinet consideration could be blessing in disguise

Richardson’s withdrawal from Cabinet consideration could be blessing in disguise

LatinaLista — The news that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson withdrew his name for consideration for Obama’s Cabinet is leaving those of us who advocated for his inclusion with huevo all over our faces.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson
Now, it appears it was a blessing that the Gov. wasn’t awarded the Secretary of State position that so many in the Latino community wanted him to get. If he had been, chances are media pundits would still be talking about him. But seeing that it was the Commerce position, a position that many of us didn’t see as an ideal fit utilizing his experience and attributes, it’s a topic that has gone on the back burner while all eyes have shifted on whether or not the Senate accepts Obama’s replacement.
In the meantime, we must all wait to see if the New Mexican Grand Jury decides whether or not Richardson or any of his aides are as innocent as they claim in the latest “pay-to-play” allegations.
If he’s found guilty, then another great political hope for the Latino community has let us all down. There will be reflections of how Latino politicians are either very bad at playing this game of politics or have just become too drunk with their own power and greed that they develop a Superman complex that makes them think nothing can touch them or bring them down.
If the guilty verdict should arise, then it will be time for the Latino leadership to seriously address the lack of ethics among our politicians and take a cue from the Obama Administration and get everyone into the practice of making their relationships — political, business and personal — as transparent as possible to avoid any embarrassing downfalls like this in the future.
If he’s innocent, then it’s likely that Richardson may join Obama’s Administration once his term in office is over. Yet, instead of awarding him a position for the sake of only appeasing Latinos, there should be a new position created for which Richardson would be a perfect fit — and one which may not be able to wait until the Governor finishes his term in office.


At the time most in the Latino community were advocating for Richardson to be Secretary of State, Latina Lista saw Richardson’s role in an Obama White House as heading up the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). We felt it was a perfect fit for his diplomacy, mediation and executive state leadership skills.
But Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano assumed those reigns and now the dilemma for Obama may be where to place the Governor.
Yet, it just so happens that there is a new development transpiring in Mexico that is just beginning to impact the United States, and if it continues will greatly impact our country. It will prove to be more than Napolitano can address given her other responsibilities with DHS and so it would call for a new department to be created with a new director.
The trend is a consequence of the lawlessness that pervades Mexico these days. In addition to the extreme drug cartel violence that exists, kidnappings are escalating and they are reversing much touted brags by the current DHS administration that more Mexican immigrants are leaving the United States.
It seems Mexican kidnappers see easy money in kidnapping people who have children or spouses in the United States. Zacatecas, Mexico is reporting hundreds of families emigrating out of the country to come to the United States to live with those same relatives because they are afraid of being kidnapped or have money extorted from them.
If Zacatecas officials are seeing this budding trend, chances are it is not an isolated one nor one that will trickle and fade.
It is clear that the Mexico-US border is the next “war zone” that our country must face. Yet, a border wall is not going to keep us safe. It only prolongs the inevitable.
It’s going to take a never-before-seen partnership between the two countries to help eradicate the drug cartels, put a stop to the kidnappings and ensure that violence and the criminals that perpetuate it don’t breach our border to continue their heinous crimes here.
The situation with Mexico calls for its own department headed by an individual with all of Richardson’s attributes: speaks Spanish fluently, knows the culture intimately, knows the laws, how to mediate and how to work towards solutions.
At this point, it would seem Mexico would be open to creating such a partnership that could seriously reduce the criminal element in their country that not just threatens the safety of its citizens but the economic prosperity of its economy. Because of the violence in the country, people are less willing to travel and the loss of tourism dollars is a big blow to Mexico.
Someone like Richardson could be the bridge between our two countries.
More than ever, it is time for a reality check. The situation is not going to improve in Mexico in the foreseeable future and if it’s not addressed soon then the traditional #1 reason for illegal immigration — jobs — will be replaced by a reason for which it is a lot harder to remove undocumented immigrants from a country — fear for their lives back home.
If such a department were created and Richardson assumed such a position, it would be the greatest challenge of his political career and one that would prove it was a blessing in disguise that he didn’t become Commerce Secretary.

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Comment(16)

  • Avatar
    Senor Pescado
    January 5, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    what a shame I was all for the man, but then latinos in power and corruption are quite synonymous
    que lastima
    Viva El Frente

  • Avatar
    Sandra
    January 6, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Still crying about Richardson not getting the Homeland Security job? We don’t need someone who speaks Spanish or understands Mexican culture to be able to perform the job well. What we need is someone who is unbiased and is committed to ridding our country of illegal aliens and securing our borders. Appointing Richardson who have been like appointing the fox to guard the henhouse.

  • Avatar
    Irma
    January 6, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    I am not a fan of Bill Richardson – his selling out of Hilary Clinton was very hard to stomach. This being said, I regret that he has embarassed the new administration by pulling out now. I guess he was hoping all the skeletons wouldnt come out of the closet?
    Sandra, you are wrong in thinking that
    Richardson would not have been unbiased in making decisions concerning the security of US /Mexico and Canadian borders. Do you think that all Mexicans agree? We have Alberto Gonzales too you know.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    January 7, 2009 at 11:52 am

    “Richardson’s withdrawal from Cabinet consideration could be blessing….”
    So true.

  • Avatar
    Sandra
    January 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Irma, by his own words Richardson has the typical tribal mentality of Latinos. He would put his ethnic kind in Mexico ahead of the best interests of this country.

  • Avatar
    Irma
    January 12, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Sandra ,
    Richardson is only half Mexican,by your logic – wouldnt he put the equivalent effort in promoting the interests of the majority in the USA?
    What about Barak Obama? Do you mean to say that you expect to promote African
    American interests OVER that of the rest of the country? African Americans comprise
    fewer than 20% of the population in the US. How many cabinet members would
    that be ?

  • Avatar
    Sandra
    January 14, 2009 at 8:35 am

    It appears that many Americans who have a drop of minority blood in their veins identify with that race/ethnicity. The victim mentality doesn’t play out well when one is partially white as is evident by Obama and Richardson identifying their non-white side. I am looking forward however to being able to claim my victim minority status when and if minoroties take over in this country.
    Those raised in a partially Latino culture in their home seem to obtain that tribal mentality for that side of themselves. Richardson called Mexicans “his” people. There is your evidence right there.

  • Avatar
    Irma
    January 14, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Sandra
    There is nothing wrong with Richardson
    calling Mexicans his people. You would have him say otherwise? Obama however said it best, when he said he is a “mutt”.
    Minorities are not victims. If someone
    mistreats you , they are not adopting a victim mentality if they complain about their mistreatment..
    You might be happier you know, if you focus on how the new administration will
    make your life better.
    Maybe you should drop the bunker
    mentality.

  • Avatar
    Sandra
    January 15, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Irma,
    I’ll drop my “bunker mentality” if you drop your reconquista mentality.
    AMERICANS should be Bill Richardson’s “people.” American citizens of all races and ethnicities, NOT “Mexicans.” But this would be hard for someone with an ethnocentric, tribal mentality to fully comprehend.
    I’ll bet you’d have a different perspective if a white public official referred to whites only as “his people.” That would be “racist,” right?

  • Avatar
    Irma
    January 15, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Sandra,
    here is the thing – there is no such thing as white.
    Are Arabs and Jews white ?
    What about Mexicans? My grandmother had
    green eyes and the complexion to go with it.
    Is Barak Obama black or white?
    Are Irish white? The English dont think so.
    Are Serbs and Russians white?
    The Germans dont think so.
    What is white?

  • Avatar
    Sandra
    January 16, 2009 at 7:45 am

    No such thing as white? So what race were your Spanish ancestors? What race are the Swedes, the English, etc. Why is white a racial catagory in the U.S. census?
    Most Russians and Serbs are of the Caucasoid race, and so are various other nationalites. Again, Irma you are trying to play either word games or you are just an idiot.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caucasian_race#Usage_in_the_United_States
    In the United States, the term Caucasian has been mainly used to describe a group commonly called White Americans, as defined by the government and Census Bureau.[20] Between 1917 and 1965, immigration to the US was restricted by a national origins quota. The Supreme Court in United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923) decided that Asian Indians – unlike Europeans and Middle Easterners – were Caucasian, but not white, because most common people did not consider them to be white people.[21]
    Look to here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Races_of_physical_anthropology#In_paleoanthropology
    for all the different RACES of the world based on Phylogeography (see main article) is the science of identifying and tracking major long-distance migrations that bands of humans undertook, especially in prehistoric times. For a detailed account of Human migrations see that article. Linguistics can follow the movement of languages and archaeology can follow the movement of artifact styles, but neither can tell whether a culture’s spread was due to a source population’s physically migrating or to a destination population’s simply copying the technology and learning the language. Craniofacial anthropometry helped resolve this because a people’s physiognomy does not change rapidly due to mere migration.”
    Bottom line Irma, you are playing games now. You and your brown nationalist buddies have no problem identifying “white people” when they want to demonize us and blame us for past injustices and all of your present-day problems. If there is no such thing as “white people” then I guess there is no such thing as “minorities” and therefore no need for affirmative action and special programs and considerations for them!

  • Avatar
    Alessandra
    January 16, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Sandra, Irma is just attempting to redirect from the point you made that Richardson should be thinking of ALL Americans as “his people” and not just the ethnic group with which he identifies. You were right in your assertion.

  • Avatar
    Irma
    January 16, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Sandra,
    Anthropologists originally assigned 3 races to encompass all human beings ((Caucasoid, Mongoloid, Negroid),
    Since then they added a few more subdivisions .
    Here is the thing , your DNA , my DNA,
    Al Sharpton’s DNA and Alberto Salazar’s
    DNA are not that different from each other
    or for that matter from a mouse’s DNA.
    In fact, the humans are about 90% the same as the mouse. Between any kind of human, we are talking less than 1%.
    So classification by race or external
    characteristics such as skin color, hair
    texture or eye color is a classification system designed by a person who just
    didnt know how many similiarities there
    are between human beings. If we were
    significantly different, we couldnt mate! So that
    10% difference with the mouse IS important.
    I am only a minority in the numerical sense in the United States. This would also be true for me in any country in the world except Mexico. Affirmative action is a social policy. This applies to women as well – I guess you dont mind
    benefitting from that ? Did you know that the principal beneficiaries of affirmative action have been “white”
    women? This is why 50% of the classes in most medical schools and law schools are now mainly “white ” women.
    The use of the term “white” is in fact
    not scientific at all. It certainly doesnt refer to race as least not in the anthropologic sense. Many Mexicans and Latinos look ‘white” but dont classify themselves this way. You see
    the color of their skin doesnt define them.
    The people who took over the Americas
    recently were Europeans , mainly English
    Spanish or French. White? That is not
    really specific is it?

  • Avatar
    Sandra
    January 17, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    White women have been the mmain beneficiaries of Affirmative Action? Surely you jest. AA was invented for miniorities and whites have never been the minority in this country. Besides, you said there is no such thing as the white race, so how can they be the beneficiaries of anything?
    Race is about genetics but that won’t necessarily mean the members of any race will all have the same skin color, hair or eye color. You still flunked biology.

  • Avatar
    Irma
    January 19, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Sandra,
    Where have you been? My use of the term
    “white women” was simply so that you could know which group of women that I was referring to. Before affirmative action, women were almost absent in law schools, medical schools, graduate schools, law firm partners etc. Affirmative action opened the door for women – most of whom were not
    minorities. I am in a position to know since I am a educator who has seen affirmative action used as the justfication to hire a non-minority women instead of a more qualified man.
    The Pew Foundation did a very interesting study years ago and concluded that minorities didnt actually benefit much from affirmative action.
    I will try to find it for you.
    Race by the way is not about genetics.
    Race is a term originated in anthropology, an entirely separate discipline from genetics.

  • Avatar
    John
    August 9, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Wow, the information regarding anthropology and ‘race’ posted on here is really outdated. I am an anthropologist and as a scientist let me tell you that anthropology/science DOES NOT consider ‘race’ a scientific concept – it is a cultural construction. We do identify different populations for forensic analysis, but this does not equate to race given the vast amount of variation we see within populations around the globe.
    All human beings on Earth are more than 99.9% genetically identical to one another. All human beings are ‘mixed’ – we have been since we first stood on two feet and walked out of Africa. What is considered a race varies greatly from cultural to cultural throughout history. Certain populations show similar traits to one another due to interbreeding, but this does not make them a ‘race’, distinct to themselves. Human beings show extremes in phenotypic expressions and to think that there are divisions, or even subdivisions is antiquated thinking. Anthropology and other scientific disciplines haven’t accepted such nonsense in a long time.
    Race is actually a relatively recent idea in the history of human beings. The concept really gained wider appeal following the Enlightenment and scientific revolution in Europe and subsequent colonization as naturalists (early scientists) attempted to categorize the natural world and the different types of plants and animals they came into contact with (humans included). Unfortunately, these outdated attempts to understand the world around us and everything in it have stuck with societies despite the numerous advances and changes in scientific thinking that have followed (personally, I blame the low level of scientific training people receive[especially in the US]).
    Drop the notion of ‘race’ – it doesn’t exist, the American Anthropological Association hasn’t accepted it since the late 1940s (the UN followed soon after and maintains this stance today). ‘Race’ only exists for those who refuse to accept the similarities of peoples but instead concentrate on culturally learned behaviors to somehow ‘prove’ that they are different from others.
    By the way, some have stated here that Richardson is half-‘white’ and half-‘Mexican’? What does this mean? I have relatives in Latin America and from my time spent there, all I have ever come away with is that Latin America is just as diverse as the US – Americans don’t travel though so they don’t know this. Most think that so-called ‘Latinos’ look like Amerindian migrant workers. Go to Mexico and you will see otherwise (especially in the cities). So, if Richardson’s ‘white’ dad married a blond haired, blue eyed woman from Mexico of Swedish descent (yes, they do exist), I guess Richardson would be only half-‘white’, right? Or is that blond haired woman not a ‘real’ Mexican because she is not Spanish? Hmmm…
    Why is being of European descent (or ‘white’ in popular terminology) such a problem for Latinos in this country? It’s not a problem in Latin America – ‘Latino’ is a designation of where you are from, not what you are (as in a Panamanian Latino of German descent). Further, why is it that so-called ‘white’ people in the US who are also mixed are somehow considered a different ‘race’? If 30% of ‘white’ Americans have recent African admixture (i.e., a recent black relative), then why are they ‘white’ while a ‘Latino’ of Spanish descent (otherwise known as a ‘white’ person) is a minority? (Frank Sweet is a molecular anthropologist. His study in 2004 revealed this statistic.) What about the rest of the so-called ‘white’ people in the US with American Indian ancestry? Or East Asian ancestry? Or anything else, for that matter?
    Here’s another stat for you: 51.9% of Latinos in the US self-identify as ‘white’. And that is not including Puerto Rico where 80.5% of people self-identify as ‘white’. As I wrote above, everyone on Earth is a product of admixture. Most people in the US are PREDOMINANTLY of European descent – including Latinos. No one is pure anything. Likewise, cultural and linguistic traditions do not constitute a ‘race’. If that were so, then I guess every country on Earth would have its own ‘race’. But that’s not the case, any reasonably intelligent person accepts that. Refusing to accept it and adhering to misguided and incorrect (maybe crazy?) ideas of ‘race’ that hold no place in science but only a place for individuals attempting to divide us shows a person’s penchant toward’s intolerance which a short step away from bigotry.
    One more thing: don’t trust wikipedia. Anyone can put stuff on there. The stuff about anthropology is way out of date and is something that is really on the fringes. Plus, if you look up the citations posted on wikipedia, they are from the the nineteenth century and early 20th before genetics and population studies really got going. It’s better to use proper sources than to rely on wikipedia.

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