[Guest post by Aaron Worthing (a.k.a. “Aaronico”). This is adapted from a post at my blog.]
If there is one thing I am truly sick of in the last two years is the constant accusations of racism and other forms of bigotry against people who merely disagree on policies—indeed, often on policies having nothing to do with race. I have speculated in the past that some of this is based on honest misunderstandings. But then other times it is clear that they are using it for political reasons, and almost always against Republicans or conservatives. Especially pernicious is the claim that the right uses code words and racist “dog whistles.”
So it’s interesting that in New Mexico we have a pretty clear example of a “dog whistle,” and yet it’s done by a Democrat, so I guess it is alright to everyone (with one partial exception). Democrat Diane Denish is running against Republican Susana Martinez in the race for governor. And now suddenly they are all saying “No Tejana Susana.” A Tejana (pronounced like “TAY-han-ah”) is literally a “Texan woman” in Spanish. See the truth is that in Spanish, the X in Texas is supposed to be pronounced more like an H. As I joke (with affection), Texans don’t even pronounce the name of their state correctly. And if you are calling her that in Spanish, then that is all it means: Texas woman.
But if you are otherwise speaking in English, such as, “You should not vote for that Tejana,” then there is a secondary meaning. A Tejano/Tejana also means a Hispanic Texan. Now its lame enough that they are resorting to this silly regionalism (she has lived in New Mexico since the mid-80’s). But what possible relevance is it to highlight that she is Hispanic, too? And a quick google search reveals that this phrase is getting very common on the left.
I mean imagine if during the 2008 campaign, McCain said, “Do not vote for the black man, Obama.” Everyone would rightly denounce that as racist, because it was unnecessarily dragging his race into the issue.
And mind you this is not a subtle code that a lot of people might miss and innocently invoke. I have said we have a whole generation of children who don’t understand why it is racially offensive to depict Obama as a monkey, or eating fried chicken and watermelons; they are so beyond race, they don’t even understand these stereotypes. So you might imagine a young child drawing Obama as a monkey and having no idea of the ugly history he or she is invoking. But although I probably have to explain it to people outside of that region, I think it is safe to say that everyone in that region knows what Tejano/Tejana means.
And if you don’t agree with me, then clearly you are a disabilityphobe. (With apologies to Greg Gutfeld for borrowing his joke.)
Oh, and on a related point, the WaPo recently published a story saying that it turns out that most Tea Party signs are not even arguably racist anyway. I mean there is that. And given reports of “Moby” ringers who infiltrate the protests to discredit the Tea Party, that study might mean even less than you think.
On the other hand, the WaPo offered no opinion on the propriety of this Tea Party video.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]