Friday, September 26, 2008
Fernando C. de Baca is explaining himself again today, this time on the Op-Ed page of the Albuquerque Journal.
For those of you who haven’t been following this, C. de Baca was the chair of the Bernalillo County Republican Party before resigning yesterday in the face of outrage over his comments to a BBC reporter that:The truth is that Hispanics came here as conquerors. African-Americans came here as slaves. Hispanics consider themselves above blacks. They won't vote for a black president.
In his op-ed, C. de Baca explains again that the conquistador/slave story was told to him as a child by his grandfather to “…help encourage us when we were discriminated against, or even, as I was on more than one occasion, beaten bloody just because I was Hispanic.” C. de Baca says that it was African Americans who were beating him up.
As I said in my earlier post, C. de Baca should resign.
Does C. de Baca want us to believe that he was discriminated against *structurally* by African Americans in the past? Just to remind folks, African Americans are a very small percentage of this state.
Perhaps so because he then goes on to describe the generational differences in attitudes among Hispanics about blacks, attributing the older generations prejudicial attitudes to anger over being left out during the civil rights movement.
Far be it from me to give a treatise here on that history, how could I? But I do know this—those Hispanics and Chicanos who have worked steadily to eradicate racism in this state over the past decades know that the appropriate target for that kind of anger isn’t African Americans, its Anglos. And they've worked on building solidarity, not division, among oppressed groups.
C. de Baca reveals in his careless, unthinking comments that this isn’t something he’s given a whole lot of thought to, though. Unless, in fact, his comments were about playing politics--to put it into the heads of Hispanics to not vote for Barack Obama.
Either way, his comments were a disgrace, to use the words of Representative Sheryl Williams Stapleton who spoke at a press conference by African American leaders yesterday to condemn C. de Baca's comments (by the way, listening to Stapleton's speech is highly recommended).
C. de Baca wraps up his Op-Ed today by saying that Martin Heinrich and Darren White have no place calling for his resignation because they are Anglo and can’t know where he’s coming from.
First, let me just say, we are talking about the chair of the Bernalillo County Republican Party—which is overwhelmingly white. So think on the logic of that one.
But, second, let me remind C. de Baca that the Conquistadors were European…and when you go around calling yourself Spanish, you’re basically putting yourself in the European American category. Some call it White. From this perspective, I recognize C. de Baca’s comments—the history that undergirds them—and the irresponsibility and lack of personal growth that runs through them.