Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Politics > The difference between a stupid and a bad racist

The difference between a stupid and a bad racist

LatinaLista — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) documented the fact that 60 percent of Latinos who died in Colorado traffic accidents last year weren’t wearing their seat belts. Seeing that it’s a sizeable number, CDOT authorized a public service announcement (PSA) be made in Spanish to get people to buckle up.
It’s the first foreign language PSA for CDOT. Yet, in an odd argument, one Colorado Springs legislator has voiced his displeasure of airing the Spanish-language life-saving advertisement because he believes it will keep local Hispanics from speaking English.
According to Republican Sen. Dave Schultheis, the seat belt PSA will:

  • Further segregate the Spanish-speaking community from the rest of Colorado’s population
  • Keep immigrants from learning to speak English and being able to read road signs.
  • Keep them from assimilating

In the next breath, the Senator observed:

This is not a Hispanic vs. non- Hispanic issue. We have to look at people as people, not as a race.

Obviously, if Schultheis believed that statement, or better yet, understood what it meant, he would see that he has clearly made a non-race issue into one that is “Hispanic vs. non-Hispanic.” If he really was concerned about looking at people just “as people,” he would then agree that the main objective of the announcements is to save lives by delivering a message as clear as possible to the target audience.
Though Schultheis’ justification for his opinions shows a clear bias against his state’s Hispanic population, he should be credited for not hiding the fact that he his racist.
Unlike the group of donors who funded the failed English First campaign in Tennessee and who did everything they could to keep from having their identities revealed.

In the first example that the days of covert support is out with the old administration, the donor list for the group that funded Nashville’s recent English First campaign was finally made public.
The list was supposed to have been released before the election but was stalled because English First campaign’s President, Jon Crisp, sent the election commission a letter on Jan. 15, the day the disclosure was due, asking for an extension. He said that his group’s donors could be subjected to threats if their names were released before the election.
Critics believed that in actuality the campaign didn’t want to reveal just how much of the campaign was being funded from entities outside the state.

Metro Councilman Eric Crafton, who led the charge for the English-only amendment, said that 90 percent of the donors were individuals who had given $100 or less.

It’s now known that was a deliberate untrue statement because, under duress to reveal the list, officials released the donor list today and found:

Nashville English First raised $89,722.76 for its campaign, according to campaign financial disclosures released today.
Of that, ProEnglish of Arlington, Va., contributed $82,500. A second donor, Nashville businessman Lee Beaman, gave $6,000, meaning two donors funded more than 98 percent of Nashville English First’s campaign.

ProEnglish of Arlington, Va has been identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Though it’s a charge they deny, the fact is the group was founded by a man named John Tanton who is synonymous with anti-immigrant organizations.
Some would ask what does it matter if ProEnglish funded the majority of the campaign.
It matters because it is a group with a distinct racist agenda that is attempting to spread its influence through legislative means. If it had not been for the unified efforts of the citizens of Nashville who proved that they did not want their home associated with such a mean-spirited and racist law, then ProEnglish would have been successful in getting one more city to adopt punitive measures specifically targeting Spanish-speakers.
That the officials with the English First campaign were reluctant to release the donor list proves that they knew their actions wouldn’t be seen in a positive light, plus expose the lie made by the local city councilman.
In this new era of accountability and open government, it’s time to limit outside funding, in turn, influence, from either side of an issue, when it comes to funding campaigns to push a particular piece of legislation in local elections and with local candidates.

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  • Grandma
    January 27, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    I’d be interested in knowing the number of drunk illegal aliens who have have killed American citizens. I bet the number is even higher.
    If you have to be told to use a seat belt you don’t need to be driving. Don’t you learn this when you take the driving test? Oh gosh, I forgot. Illegal aliens don’t take the test, they just drive without a license.

  • Chiquita
    January 28, 2009 at 9:33 am

    We must remember that ignorance is bliss, but, what’s even more amazing is that these are the people that we as American citizens have elected to represent us!!!!

  • Challis
    January 28, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    there are numerous reasons that different people don’t wear seatbelts.
    It is not a priority in Mexico to use a seatbelt while driving. Also in rural areas, carseats for children are not widely used.
    SO I think it is a great idea to send the seatbelt message out to Latinos in the US with a spanish-language ad. They have not been privy to the big push that we have here about the importance of using your seatbelt.

  • Sandra
    January 28, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Latino “citizens” don’t understand or speak English?

  • Michaela
    January 28, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    Wearing a seat belt requires only a teeny tiny bit of common sense but these “poor” Hispanics don’t even have that and then wonder why their guts get strewn all over the highway or the kids sitting in their laps go through the windshield. I have no patience for such stupidity.

  • Challis
    January 29, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    I’ll tell you what wears on my patience, NEGATIVITY and Close-Minded-ness.
    Our parents didn’t realize the importance of seatbelt wearing, its only been here starting in the 90’s that the government agencies and State’s have been heavily pushing the importance of using seatbelts. SO, your HIGH HORSE is really wearing me out.

  • Alessandra
    January 29, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    I can’t remember a time when seatbelts weren’t in use.
    I had a car seat as a baby (which I don’t really remember), then went to the little “toddler” seat–I remember that quite well. It was just automatic to get into the car and click the seat belt. However, I imagine in earlier times it was something that had to be impressed upon the population.

  • Publius
    February 5, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Ignorance and resistance to seat belt use? Mexico is apparently a backward nation not well served by its machismo Hispanic culture.
    Hispanic culture conducive to producing wife beaters?
    Hispanic culture conducive to producing women as unwed mothers?
    Hispanic culture conducive to eschewing education over manual labor?
    Hispanic culture conducive to producing macho drunk drivers?
    It’s proving once again how Latinos are backward compared to the Europeans and even the Asians.
    With such inherent character deficiencies is it a wonder why they have a retarded economic status in this country?
    What nation would welcome Latino immigrants as citizens?

  • Horace
    February 5, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Your comparison is flawed. Stupidity and racism are not opposites of one another, so they do not have characteristics amenable to comparison. A racist can be stupid and a stupid person can be racist. Stupidity and racism are not mutually exclusive, but likely go hand in hand in developing character.
    The Southern Poverty Law Center has been widely discredited as the authority on hate. It is now seen merely as a political tool and label maker to discredit others to promote its own social agenda.

  • Horace
    February 8, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Horace is right. You are comparing apples and oranges. You might at well compare the difference between and ugly racist and a funny racist or a blond racist and one with big feet. Try taking a course in logic.

  • Irma
    February 10, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Seat commercials in Spanish and
    English are a good idea. Indeed,
    if they can produce a commercial that
    is understandable without any
    spoken commentary -even better.
    That way EVERYONE will understand.

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