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Tuesday, August 25, 2015


These are different kinds of racism in the United States, in this case, against brown peoples. There are many kinds and here are but a few examples:

Saturday Night Live: The kind that excludes: In all its years, SNL, which has launched many careers, has had a virtual “no Brown people need apply” policy. It is said that outside of white actors in “brownface,” no comics of Mexican origin have ever been employed by SNL and only 2 Latinos – with non-Latino sounding last names (meaning it was difficult to know they were Latinos) have been hired there in all its 40+ years. The racism there is so extreme and so normalized that it doesn’t even turn up as a topic either on google or google scholar.

Hollywood: The kind that invisibilizes: Chris Rock noted last year that Hollywood as a whole is racist, and even more specifically against Mexicans because they are virtually shut out the industry, this amid millions of brown peoples in its immediate surrounding:

Jay Leno & other comics: The kind that dehumanizes: The racism he pedaled throughout his career was the kind that made people comfortable. His racist jabs, under the guise of humor, dehumanized migrants/Mexicans virtually on a nightly basis, which had the effect of normalizing that dehumanization. His “humor” was so effective that he has many defenders that to this day claim he was simply telling “jokes.” Many other comedians did the same, but none were as influential as he. Read: Did you call in Mexican:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio: The flagrant kind: His racism is akin to Alabama’s Sheriff Bull Conner, an unrepentant bigot and segregationist. His flaunting of his intentional racial profiling policies against Mexican migrants led to him to lose in a federal civil rights case and actually, I believe he has lost many, many more court  cases: and an update:

Law Enforcement abuse: The violent and deadly kind: Most people in the country are familiar with the brutality against Blacks in this country, though it is highly unlikely they are aware to what extent outside of the few dozen cases that have been highlighted in the media this past year. During this same time, hundreds of Brown peoples have also been brutalized and killed by law enforcement throughout the country, generally outside of the eye of mainstream media. Here is one case that symbolizes this blindspot by the mainstream media, the case of Luis Rodriguez out of Moore, Oklahoma. His last words were: “I can’t breathe,” which can be heard at the beginning of the tape. Akin to virtually all cases against Black-Brown-Indigenous peoples, no charges were filed against the five officers involved:

The Mass media: The kind that dehumanizes and disrespects: Media types have for decades referred to migrants without documents as “illegals,” “wetbacks” and “anchor babies,” seemingly unaware of the dehumanizing effect of the denigrating terms.

Census Bureau: The demographic [genocide] kind: When the Census Bureau continues its throwback practices of, in effect, forcing brown peoples to identify as “Hispanics” – a name that invisibilizes their Indigenous background and that emphasizes the people that colonized the Americas. Also, their practice of imposing a white identity on brown peoples also manifests when hospitals/morgues issue birth and death certificates, again, denying the indigeneity of brown peoples:

Education-Ethnic Studies: The silencing kind, Arizona style: The disappearance of the history of brown peoples in this country. This is true nationwide, but in Arizona, right wing politicos actually created a “law” (HB 2281) that, in effect, bans not just books, but  worldviews that do not comport with Greco-Roman views and values. The primary target was Raza/Mexican American Studies and the Indigenous curriculum and philosophy it was based on (In Lak Ech-You are my other Me and Panche Be-To seek the Root of the Truth. This silencing is little different from the Inquisitional priests of the 1500s that staged auto de Fes (book burnings) that made illegal the possession of Indigenous books and knowledge:  HB2281 is still being challenged in the courts.

Supermarkets: The Cultural kind: You walk into a national supermarket and come across a special aisle labeled: Hispanic food. When you go down the aisle you realize that 99% of the food is actually Mexican, and more specifically, Indigenous. The foods usually are corn, beans, squash, chile, nopales (cactus) and many other foods that are Indigenous to this continent, not Spain or Hispania.

Fraternities and sororities: The making-fun-of-Mexicans kind: White students dressing up like Mexicans for “Fiestas,” Halloween or Cinco de Mayo is traditional on U.S. college campuses. Of course, when called out on it, they always retort that they were either honoring (the way American Indians are honored by the Redskin football team) or were unaware that dressing like Mexicans is a form of disrespect. Of course, these groups are equal opportunity bigots as this is also generally directed at African Americans and American Indians:

Donald Trump: The fascistic kind: There are few precedents for his brand of racism, at least in this country.  He seems to embody every kind of racism listed above, and more. He is not the first politico to call for a 2,000-mile wall, nor is he the first to call for the overturning of the 14th amendment, which guarantees birthright citizenship. Also, he is not the first to call for the mass deportation of migrants and their citizen children (according to him, whether it is 11 or 30 million) akin to Operation Wetback. Almost all right wing politicians in Arizona have called for those measures over the past 10 years:


What makes Trump unique is that he truly is buffoonish, whom people want to dismiss and not take him serious, yet, no one is even close to him in the Republican primaries. He does resonate with many in this country who are not even capable of recognizing that their views are racist. Another thing to remember is that many within the Republican Party actually hold very similar views on immigrations, sans the vitriolic language:

1 comment:

  1. Roberto,

    Excellent overview of the current exegesis of racism in America. Some may be shocked to learn about how capitalism victimized / enslaved two other races before settling on West Africans for plantation slavery.(see: 1493 by Charles Mann, sections on Jamestown and indigenous slave trade). Racism has its origins in capitalism because it pays, and it continues to pay dearly for those who profit off of its divisive social impact.

    Mass incarceration in the US is victimizing immigrants and African Americans as a human industry for mostly senseless profit driven motives. The direct connection between institutional donors to politicians from those corporations for legislation and contracting is the sign of a fascist state. Donald Trump is now their poster boy - whether he wins or looses.

    We continue to hear the national media almost exclusively address the issue that represents less than 4% of Americans, the 11 million undocumented, all the while the elusive benefits of capital continue to hold African Americans, Native Americans,and yes poor Whites from entering the now mythical 'middle class'.

    The base line economic issue of economic disparity and the attempts of powerful institutions to keep our focus away from the 96% of the population's main challenge, is how racism is now being sold in this election cycle. Immigration reform is a no-brainer (it will have little overall economic impact, though mostly positive); however economic reform will be fought by both parties receiving funds to continue the distortion of the major causes of disparity, unequal access to education, health care, union rights' for collective bargaining and the economic institutions in the US. The offer of "consumer choice" in light of free trade agreements is really a choice for self-destruction of our own economic well being. When criticized, opponents are called unrealistic, and that global free trade is inevitable.

    That conclusion is the flip side of "choice", it is a message of no choice but to submit to the myth of the magic hand of the market re-balancing for economic productivity. Such beliefs continue to prove irrational in light of the 2008 world depression but represent a religious belief in phantom economics.

    Tens of millions of Chinese workers are now learning what that market re-balancing is all about; losses of life savings and dire poverty.


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