As a follow-up to Jeff Fecke’s excellent post on the creepily racist GOP response to Judge
Maria Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court, I wanted to point out Matt Yglesias’ post on Tom Tancredo equating La Raza with the KKK.
TANCREDO: If you belong to an organization called La Raza, in this case, which is, from my point of view anyway, nothing more than a Latino — it’s a counterpart — a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses. If you belong to something like that in a way that’s going to convince me and a lot of other people that it’s got nothing to do with race. Even though the logo of La Raza is “All for the race. Nothing for the rest.” What does that tell you?
Okay, first, let’s look at the ridiculous phrasing of, “a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses.” Sure, I get that what he’s saying is that La Raza is racist, and we’ll get to that in a minute, but the cavalier way in which he dismisses the “hoods and nooses” is interesting to me. The hoods and nooses are pretty damn vital to the conception of the KKK, aren’t they? It’s as if he thinks that the fact that the KKK was fucking murdering people regularly had nothing to do with why folks have a problem with them. It’s like saying, “The Republican Party is just the American Nazis without the antisemitism, the fascism, the desire for genocide, the Roman salute, the annexation of Poland, the speaking German, …”
As for whether La Raza is racist, or is actually, “a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses,” Matt helpfully points out that not only is La Raza a mainstream (Incredibly mainstream, actually. My high school had a student chapter) Latin@ organization1 , Republican luminaries like John McCain and Mel Martinez have spoken to and received awards from the group, both with nary a peep.
It is unclear to me whether Tom Tancredo is saying that both John McCain (who delivered a keynote address to the group) and Mel Martinez were unfamiliar with the unsavory and racist associations of La Raza, or whether he was saying that it’s not out of character for Republicans to pal around with racist organizations. If it’s the first, that would be awfully surprising, and I guess we should expect to hear their denunciations of La Raza pretty quickly. If it’s the second … umm … points for honesty, I guess?
Please do not comment unless you accept the basic dignity, equality, and inherent worth of all people.
- And look, if there are people out there who really believe that La Raza is a racist hate group, I want to direct you to two great posts that came up the last time Republican were smearing Latin@ pride organizations, specifically, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, or MEChA. They’re both from 2003. The first is Orcinus, here, which goes into some detail about the slogan “Por la Raza, todo. Fuera la Raza, nada.” The second is Ted Barlow @ Crooked Timber (Fun Fact: Ted Barlow used to play in a band, Greenhouse And The Tender Ju Ju Coins, with one of my college buddies.) talkign about some of the same sorts of things. Now both of these posts are about MEChA, but here’s the thing: MEChA is (as I understand it) more radical than La Raza. And it’s not a hate organization by a long shot. Calling either one the moral equivalent of the KKK demonstrates stunning contempt for Latin@ people everywhere. [↩]