“We used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes.” — Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska (interview March, 2013)
Racial Slurs were once common in our society, but we have progressed and embraced the enlightened era of PC (political correctness). Gone are the days of Whites openly using racial slurs to and about Brown, Yellow, Black and Red people. For many older minorities, this new reality seems too good to be true… and IT IS. Racial slurs remain a staple of our American society.
Old habits die hard and often reconstitute. Many individuals who use slurs do not do so openly and publicly. They often do so covertly in the following sequence: 1- hesitate, 2- survey the immediate environment, 3- make an “I’m safe” judgement and 4- lower their voices before uttering the racial slur. It would take an ignorant, callous and out of touch person to publicly use a racial slur. These people simply do not exist, or at least that’s what a former misguided college teacher incredulously asserted in her comments on my research paper. Well, former college teacher, meet United States House of Representatives Member Don Young, R-Alaska.
After the uproar caused by Rep. Young’s “wetback”comment, he issued the following statement: “I used a term that was commonly used during my days growing up on a farm in Central California. I know that this term is not used in the same way nowadays, and I meant no disrespect.” Thanks Don. I’m sure Latinos and Hispanics rejoiced at your quasi apology knowing you use the slur so freely and publicly, yet you do not have malicious intent (read sarcasm). As the brouhaha grew over the slur and subsequent non-apology/justification, Don was compelled to say the magic “get out of political hell” words, “I apologize.”
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