by Ana McKenzie
It could be a review of an art exhibit from Guatemala or a new Mexican restaurant. It could be an opinion piece about a three-legged unicorn named Jose. No matter what the story is about, if it has even a pinch of Latino, bigots will litter the story's comment section with their worthless two cents.
With all the emotion it incites, it's as if "Latino" has become the new f-bomb.
Last week, we posted a blog Aileen Arreaza, a regular contributor to CL, penned that aired her frustrations with comments Mitt Romney made to a group of wealthy supporters in secret videos obtained by the magazine Mother Jones. In Romney's words:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what... These are people who pay no income tax. My job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
Arreaza's parents came to the U.S. from Cuba as political refugees in the early '90s, penniless (it was illegal for Cubans to hold U.S. currency at the time) and in search of a better life. Once in the states, they applied for government assistance and received benefits that housed and fed them and their two children. Her dad worked, eventually starting his own construction company, and her mother went to school, learned English and earned a master's degree.
We were given opportunities we desperately needed, and thanks to those opportunities, we achieved success. And we fell in love with America.
Can you imagine how different our story would be if the president at the time had decided to write us off like [Romney] decided to write off 47 percent of the country?
Did the blog's first comment touch on anything remotely close to Arreaza's argument? Of course not.
You fail to mention if you are illegal or legal. If you are legal, Welcome!!!
If not, please return to Cuba until you are willing to put forth the time and effort to become a U.S. citizen. Thanks!
There are others like it, but that comment has stuck with me like a bad flu. We encourage discussion and barring any sort of threats to the author's life would never censor it. "CityOfIdiot's" comment is just another reminder of a problem that's stifled intellectual progress in this country for centuries: fear of the unknown.
Or, as "Brian, your savior" put it a few comments later: "CityOfIdiots, you are a xenophobic asswipe."