SAN DIEGO – For Latinos trying to survive the Age of Trump with their dignity intact, the hate just keeps on coming.
Americans can’t make up their minds whether they want to appropriate Latino culture or stamp it out altogether. One minute, everyone in the country is going loco for Latinos; the next, they’ve just gone plum loco.
Let’s focus on 10 incidents from the last several months.
• Ann Coulter told radio host Lars Larson that putting the National Guard on the U.S.-Mexico border won’t be enough to stop immigrants from crossing it unless “they’re going to shoot one and send a message to the rest.” Message received: Coulter is a ghoul.
• Bragging about his deportation record, President Trump told a delegation of California officials: “We’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals.” The next day, Trump claimed he was referring only to MS-13 gang members.
• White House chief of staff John Kelly said undocumented immigrants from Latin America do not assimilate very well because they are often poorly educated and “overwhelmingly rural people” who “don’t have skills.” Of course, much the same thing was said about Kelly’s Irish ancestors.
• Fox News contributor Tomi Lahren came to Kelly’s defense and insisted that welcoming immigrants with “low skills” and “low education” who speak foreign languages is “not what this country is based on.” Quite right. It’s more accurate to say that low-skilled immigration is what this country was built on.
• In Havre, Mont., at a gas station near the U.S.-Canada border, two women were singled out and questioned by a Border Patrol officer who suspected they were undocumented immigrants. The probable cause? The women were speaking Spanish. Both are U.S. citizens. So linguistic profiling is a thing now?
• At a Starbucks in Southern California, a young man ordered a white mocha and an iced caramel macchiato. The word “Beaner,” a racial slur, was on the labels attached to his drinks. Starbucks apologized. The company has a Venti-sized image problem.
• An angry white lawyer named Aaron Schlossberg was caught on video berating two women for the sin of speaking Spanish at a New York deli. He threatened to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He later apologized and claimed that he is not racist. Sure. He just plays one in videos.
• An Albertsons grocery store in San Diego ran afoul of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after allegedly subjecting Latino employees to “a hostile work environment.” What caused the hostility? The employees were speaking Spanish. Remember when being bilingual was an asset?
• Fox News host Tucker Carlson invited Cesar Vargas – an undocumented immigrant and lawyer – onto his show and bullied him. Carlson told Vargas – who wants to become a U.S. citizen – “I’m an American and you’re not. I don’t think you should become a citizen.” Could we take a vote on whether ugly Americans should be able to keep their U.S. citizenship?
• In Georgia, Republican gubernatorial candidates targeted Mexican immigrants. State Sen. Michael Williams campaigned in a “deportation bus” adorned with a message: “Danger! Murderers, rapists, kidnappers, child molesters, and other criminals on board.” Another candidate, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, has bragged he owns “a big truck just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take ’em home myself.”
What in the world is going on? If this keeps up, Latinos in the United States are going to get our feelings hurt. We might even conclude that – even with all the “Help Wanted” signs – you don’t want us around. Someone may have to leave.
But hey, we were here first. Look it up. English settlers in Virginia founded Jamestown in 1607, but the Spanish had established Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico nine years earlier. The Spanish could’ve sent them a gift basket to welcome them to the neighborhood.
We’re not leaving. No way, Jose. The people who should skedaddle are the ones with the problem. You have the problem. So what can we say – except adios.