Normally, I don’t like to get involved in throwing chingasos with other people let alone other pundits over something, someone else said. Pero Ruben Navarrette has just gone too far. He upset an “old lion” of Chicano Studies, Dr. Rudy Acuña when Ruben recently wrote against the Dream Act. I was going to let that one go but then I reread another column he wrote toward the end of last year and I just had to say something.
I was introduced to Ruben’s thinking in his memoir of his time at Harvard. It must have been very traumatic for this young man given his humble background to arrive at one of the cathedrals of American education and tried to fit in. Maybe he tried to join some fraternity and was required to face his identity. I guess the emotional pounding Ruben received was enough to cause him to change from being a Chicano to a multi-cultural Latino. I guess it could happen to anyone but it also must have affected his perception.
Over the years it seems that Ruben has tried to play the role of the even-handed journalist but as an opinion maker it makes him appear more of an apologist than anything else.
For instance, in the column I am referring to he accused the Democratic Party of being dismissive of African Americans and Hispanics. He stated that Hispanic and Black activists cared little for the interests of their communities and only for those of the Democratic Party. Rightfully, never accuse me of not ever agreeing with Ruben, he points out that both party’s take Blacks and Hispanics for granted.
What I found outrageous was his insinuation that African Americans and Latinos do not want to recognize the appointment of Tim Scott as the junior senator from South Carolina or the elections of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz as indicators of the achievement of “political prominence” by minorities in the South. Ruben claims that minority politicians will not be recognized by minority activists unless they are Democrats. Activists are not against Scott, Rubio and Cruz because they are Republican. African American and Latino activists are against these three because they support anti-minority legislation.
Por favor Ruben, you should have looked at the voting records and public statements of these three United States senators before making your claims. All three have been anti-immigrant, anti-health care, anti-education, in short, anti-every policy important to the African American and Latino communities. Scott, Rubio and Cruz are not held up as examples of minority achievement because they stand for anti-minority policies.
I agree with Adolph Reed, Jr., a much respected and admired political scientist, when he stated that Scott was a “token” put up by the Republican Party to veil the racism that underlies the party’s public policy agenda and provide psychological mollification for those casting votes who don’t wish to be thought of as racists.
One interesting thing that Ruben pointed out was that 93% of African Americans supported President Obama in the last election. What he failed to point out was that more than 70%, some estimates go as high as 75%, of Latinos voted for the president. Black voters moved to the Democratic Party, they originally were strong Republican voters, as a result of the support the party gave to the Civil Rights Acts in the 1960s. Latinos have supported Democratic presidential candidates at approximately the 65%+ range since we started polling them in 1980. As a matter of fact, the anti-immigrant rhetoric spewed by Republican Party activists and politicians and those organizations supporting politicians like Scott, Rubio and Cruz, have moved Latino voters closer to the Democratic Party.
Ruben, not only are all three of these senators Tea Party sweethearts they appear to be aiding and abetting the party’s attempt at alienating all minority voters. Technically, these three might not be considered “tokens” but co-conspirators in the effort at driving minority voters away from the Republican Party. Still, if these three senators were representative of their communities they would not be supporting anti-immigrant and other anti-minority policies; rather they would be actively speaking out against the Tea Party.
[Photo by Gage Skidmore]