The Republican Stain on Hispanic Heritage Month (OPINION)

Sep 15, 2022
2:29 PM

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

HOUSTON — Thursday is the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, four weeks of celebrating Latino contributions not just to the United States, but to the entire hemisphere.

Meanwhile, Republicans have decided to treat Latinos seeking sanctuary like vermin. They use our friends, family members, and fellow Latinos from our homelands as political pawns to score white power points.

Frankly, it’s disgusting.

Last month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was prepared to send asylum-seekers all over the country. When word got out that his intentions included Cubans, many in South Florida expressed their outrage, leading DeSantis to table the idea.

Yesterday, however, he began fulfilling that promise — but instead of sending Cubans to the Northeast, he sent Venezuelans, playing to the anti-Venezuelan hatred that is often shared by media personalities and influencers in the Miami area.

The fact that he separated those migrants from their friends and families in Florida echoes to the inhumanity of Trump-era family separations. Scoring political points for them is far more important than human lives. Like most politicians, they’re only concerned with staying in office. But only one political party is demonizing immigrants while promoting their hate across the country.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is as guilty of demonizing asylum-seekers as DeSantis or Trump. Abbott has taken money from other programs in the state to fund his pointless political theater dubbed “Operation Lone Star.” In Texas police departments, mental healthcare facilities, and schools have all lost funding due to Abbott’s policies.

While they scream about Democrats wanting to defund the police, the reality is that the only people taking money from cops in Texas are Republicans. A report by the Texas Tribune in April showed both Abbott and former Gov. Rick Perry reallocated funds meant to upgrade communications equipment in small towns like Uvalde — equipment that would have undoubtedly assisted in the response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary three months ago.

Now we find ourselves on the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, watching Republicans getting their rocks off by treating Latinos like dirt. Has anyone else noticed that the only migrants being trafficked across the country are all Latino? That’s not by accident.

Republicans like to use the word “Mexicans” when talking about people crossing the southern border. To them, it’s a catch-all term to make it seem like Latino migrants are the only ones coming. They ignore the diversity of cultures because xenophobia against Latinos is more acceptable than outright racism against Haitians and migrants from Africa. They won’t demonize any Europeans at the southern border, and we all know why.

Many in Latino communities are just as insufferable. Just listen to AM radio in Miami and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

But what is fascism without hypocrisy? Truth is, Latinos like those represented on Miami’s airwaves exist everywhere in the United States. And like those Cubans in Miami who want to overthrow the Cuban government and install a white-centered right-wing regime, anti-immigrant beliefs are found among many of the Latinos in California just as in South Texas.

Such beliefs aren’t new, but as Republicans spread their hate unchallenged — particularly across Spanish-language media — the number of Latinos expressing such is beginning to grow. Maybe some Latinos don’t realize they’re buying into Klan-like language from white politicians who hate them too. I find that hard to believe. Anti-immigrant hatred among Latinos is as intentional and conscious as what bigoted white politicians are doing.

As Pedro “Pete” Arredondo and many others like him are finding out, however, the white power structure will throw you under the bus before anyone else. Art Acevedo discovered that, too. So has Enrique Tarrio. And it’s only a matter of time before all the other Latinos who harbor so much self-hate that they align with white supremacists learn the truth as well.

So, this Hispanic Heritage Month, it is incumbent upon all of us to come together and shut these racist clowns down. Because at the end of the day, what are we can’t celebrate Latino heritage while we demonize those who come after our families did?

The only thing Latinos can count on is white people never considering them white, no matter how white-appearing they are. The last time I pointed that out, the wannabe whites came for me, and I’m okay with that because it’s that damned truth. Even white Cubans who came to the U.S. decades ago were treated like dirt, as are other Latino groups.

But hey, welcome to the United States, right?


Arturo Domínquez is a first-generation Cuban American, anti-racist, journalist, and the publisher of The Antagonist magazine. Twitter: @ExtremeArturo