During the Texas Tribune Festival this past weekend in Austin, Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro sat down with MSNBC anchor Katy Tur for an interview. At one point, Tur asked Castro this:
How would you feel about the next nominee of the Democratic party if they were caucasian? @JulianCastro: I’m going to support the nominee enthusiastically. #TribFest19 https://t.co/sPnyIApqay pic.twitter.com/yVRgiSNETw
— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) September 28, 2019
“How would you feel about the Democratic Party if the next nominee was Caucasian?”
The question was bizarre and insulting, but Castro didn’t take the bait. In fact, his answer was pretty positive.
“I’m going to support the next nominee enthusiastically if I’m not the next nominee,” Castro said. “I’ve always said that I believe that we should have greater diversity in our party, certainly in leadership but I also don’t believe you can say just because someone is white that they shouldn’t be in that position. So I’m going to support the nominee, and anyone of the people that, the 18 people that are left, would be tremendously better than Donald Trump. I will say, let me answer that question a different way. What I believe I bring to the table is I think that if we’re going to win, that we need to excite that coalition of voters that Barack Obama was able to excite in 2008, and that I’ve been trying to build out there this coalition of young, diverse working people across the United States so we can bring people who are off the sidelines on to the field and beat Donald Trump…”
As for Tur’s initial question? It goes without saying that we are witnessing yet another example of what POC candidates like Castro have to go through in order to appease the white political media and narrative that dominates this cycle. It was another sad attempt to erase the voice of the only Latino candidate in the race, as if Castro being Mexican-American is more of a pain for the Democratic Party than an asset. We clearly understand that Castro is not the perfect candidate (nobody is), but Tur’s question is yet another example of what is perceived as a coordinated push to ignore Castro. It is something he discussed with us this weekend:
It also shows up in other places, like comedy sketches, as Castro’s national press secretary tweeted out after Saturday Night Live couldn’t even parody Castro in a but that featured parodies of several Democratic candidates:
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) September 29, 2019
In the end, this really is about how power thinks it can ignore Castro and the community. No matter whether you support Castro or not, at some point, the community needs to speak out in unison to raise awareness about this invisibility push. If not, nobody will take it seriously, and we will all continue to witness insulting questions that minimize us and make us think that we are not at all a fabric of this country.
Did Katy ask the white candidates how they would feel if the nominee is a minority?
That’s just a crazy question to ask when there are soooo many other issues to talk about.
— Modest Molly (@Im_half_awake) September 30, 2019
Tur’s question was flat-out wrong. And it is our responsibility to inform her about how wrong it really was. Will others join in, or will it be the same uninformed critique that this is yet another “overreaction?” If so, then we will never progress as a community, and the insulting questions will kepe happening.