Patterico's Pontifications


Dog Whistling in New Mexico: “No Tejana Susana.”

Filed under: 2010 Election,General,Media Bias,Race — Aaron Worthing @ 10:34 am

[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.]

19 Responses to “Dog Whistling in New Mexico: “No Tejana Susana.””

  1. Being a native of New Mexico, I can tell you that even though the number one industry in the state is tourism and mostly from Texas, there are many that see Texan as a slur and I guess that Ms. Denish is hoping to play on the worst sides of our public. We will see…

    Addiction Analyst (9a596e)

  2. I’m not sure that “tejano/tejana” is insulting, but of course I live well east of the Mississipi.

    However: I think it is a “dog whistle” in the other direction–the intended audience is Hispanic voters, and the intended message is that she really does not share their presumed values. After all, she’s a Republican, and we all know that Republicans are anti-Hispanic

    kishnevi (225b9d)

  3. Susana comments here

    here you can hear some dirty socialist cumquat burble about how “this election isn’t just about our history and our culture” before he gets all racist on Susana

    This election isn’t about history or culture at all at all at all, cumquat. This election is about whether New Mexico should be led by job killing Sierra Club whore Denish or by someone what wants to help create jobs.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  4. hey guess what the fromage du penis what is getting all racist on Susana in the second link above cause she was born in El Paso?

    His name is Brian Colon. He was born in New York.

    stupid hypocritical dirty socialist cumquat

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  5. I’m not sure that “tejano/tejana” is insulting, but of course I live well east of the Mississipi.

    What makes the tactic so ridiculous is that Martinez is from El Paso, which might as well be its own little city-state. It’s certainly not “Texas” in the sense that most New Mexicans would think of the term.

    This is really just a last-ditch desperate attempt by Denish to appeal to New Mexican ethnic tribalism; I doubt it’s going to have that much effect on the numbers overall. I’m sure the last thing she wants is an investigation of where all the Democrats in the New Mexico statehouse are from.

    I am curious as to how many of these Denish voters are fans of the Dallas Cowboys.

    Another Chris (2d8013)

  6. BTW, Aaron, you’re not being nerdy enough. When I see “the Blog that must not be named” I think of Lovecraft.

    kishnevi (879749)

  7. What makes the tactic so ridiculous is that Martinez is from El Paso, which might as well be its own little city-state. It’s certainly not “Texas” in the sense that most New Mexicans would think of the term.

    This is a very good point.

    I’ve always considered El Paso to be more like New Mexico (and old Mexico) than Dallas.

    This is tribalism. It’s lame. I’m glad the candidate is making the old democrat tribal argument again. The GOP almost always wins in those cases (eventually). As happyfeet says, this is the paycheck party vs a job killer inside some special tribal boundary named for her convenience. Only an idiot would vote for Denish. I think many Hispanics are pretty alert for this kind of crap and won’t fall for it.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  8. Dustin makes me think of a line on king of the hill once.

    They were in Wichita Falls, watching the cowboys training camp, and Bobby says something like, “wow, we are in north Texas.”

    And Hank says: “North Texas? More like southern Oklahoma!”

    I laughed my @$$ off, but all the non-Texans around me didn’t get it. [I am not probably not really a Texan in any meaningful sense, but i lived there long enough to know the culture.]

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  9. I agree with Addiction Analyst that this will be effective with New Mexicans who are sensitive about arrogant Texans that regularly visit their beautiful state and act like they own it. (I know, I’m one of them.) I also agree with Dustin that El Paso fits in better with New Mexico and Old Mexico than Texas.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  10. I don’t see why this is surprising – after all, their Dear Leader’s been trafficking in this kind of slur and slime almost since the first day that anyone had the gall to disagree with him.

    Dmac (84da91)

  11. I’m not a native New Mexican, but have lived here for over 7 years. Anti-Hispanic slurs really don’t play well in New Mexico. About half the population are native Spanish speakers. Is it an anti-Texas slur? You bet. Is that ridiculous? You bet. Is it a racist “dog-whistle”? That’s laughable.

    Aaron (b4ec19)

  12. I dunno. I like Texans and Texas pretty well, at this point in my life, and I’ve lived in NM since I was like two months old.

    But a Texan laying any kind of claim to NM? Them’s fightin’ words, heh.

    Maybe they could get away with laying claim to Hobbs, just like we could get away with laying claim to El Paso. That whole stretch is kinda Disputed Territory.

    Leviticus (e87aad)

  13. So, Texan is a race now?

    El Rey (94c69c)

  14. El Rey, did she say “Texan”? I thought she said “Tejana” because of the Susan’s race.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  15. On the early maps (I remember how excited I was when it came in the mail, personally signed by Sam Houston – Heh!),
    didn’t Tejas extend all the way to the Rio Bravo Valley into what is today Colorado – which was one of the disputes leading up to the Mexican-American War?

    AD-RtR/OS! (3e2169)

  16. I live in southwestern NM, less than 50 miles from the borders with both Texas and Mexico. While I personally have nothing against Texas or Texans, I can assure you that this is a slur, and a pretty cheap shot at that. For whatever reason, El Pasoans (the Texans we meet the most often) are reviled in New Mexico, although they are usually here as tourists and spending money. Don’t be fooled; the Denish ads are getting more desperate and definitely meaner.

    Kevin in NM (76ea65)

  17. Too much of our water is already going to Texas. I don’t trust any candidate who is receiving money from Texas bankers, “Tejana” or not. As a hispanic, the word Tejana meant a female Texan. After reading about people being all upset about it, I thought about it, and I think you are reaching. If it was a racist slur,it was highly ineffective,it went over my head. I seriously doubt the party would purposely
    shoot themselves in the foot with their base for absolutely no political advantage. Think!

    Pedro (7f5252)

  18. As a hispanic, the word Tejana meant a female Texan.

    So it has something to do with being hispanic, you admit. Since it has that meaning for you because you are hispanic. How interesting that Susan is also a Hispanic.

    I seriously doubt the party would purposely
    shoot themselves in the foot with their base for absolutely no political advantage.

    You don’t believe a democrat could make a racial appeal? I guess you’re not Vietnamese, then.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

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