The Cap Times | December 2017 |
This is intended to be my upbeat year-end column, though it begins with some downbeat anecdotes.
A front-page story in a recent Sunday New York Times opened with an account from an Iowa high school basketball game where radio announcers started “riffing” on the Hispanic names of players from the other town. “They’re all foreigners,” one announcer said. “As Trump would say, ‘Go back where they came from.’ ” The story went on to report a national spike in hate incidents based on FBI crime data during the Trump campaign and presidency.
Days earlier, when a man set off a pipe bomb in New York City’s subway system, injuring him and wounding three others, Trump’s spokeswoman instantly connected the incident to “immigration reform,” even though the perpetrator had come from Bangladesh seven years ago with a special visa unrelated to the current immigration debate.
Of course, when a white guy murders 58 people and wounds 500 from a hotel suite in Las Vegas, as happened this fall, the president says nothing about the ethnicity of the shooter or the rapid-fire weaponry enabled by the National Rifle Association. Can you fathom the reaction from Trump, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and Breitbart News had that shooter been non-white?
Almost every week, I am furious about some fresh racist outrage directed at Latinos or African-Americans or both, a reflection of the rampant nativist populism that has swelled in the Trump era.
Yet the response to me from my acquaintances of those communities is often one of bemusement and some version of this, verbalized or not: We appreciate that reaction from a privileged white fellow like you, but this stuff was happening to us long before Trump. Our focus is to care for and lift up our community, not to be apoplectic about the latest outrage.
This lesson was illustrated anew for me recently when a group of Madison’s Latino leaders visited our editorial board. They were from a coalition called the Latino Consortium for Action, which includes 19 Dane County organizations. They meet with us periodically to discuss initiatives and illuminate issues.
The meeting began with…continue reading>>