GOP leader's racially tinged comments are wrong
Posted 9/20/2008 09:39:00 AM
The chairman of the Bernalillo County Republican Party is facing heavy criticism from within his own party and elsewhere for saying that Hispanics won’t vote for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama because they consider themselves above blacks.
Fernando C. de Baca was quoted as making the comments to a BBC News reporter in a blog posting published on Friday.
“The truth is that Hispanics came here as conquerors,” C. de Baca was quoted as saying. “African-Americans came here as slaves. Hispanics consider themselves above blacks. They won’t vote for a black president.”
The campaign of Obama’s Republican opponent, John McCain, was quick to denounce C. de Baca’s comments.
“Mr. C. de Baca’s comments are extremely offensive and insulting. We believe that Mr. C. de Baca’s comments in no way reflect the beliefs of New Mexico Hispanics,” McCain spokeswoman Ivette Barajas said. “He has no affiliation with our campaign.”
C. de Baca hasn’t responded to an e-mail request for comment sent Friday evening. Democrats, including the Obama campaign, the state party and the office of Gov. Bill Richardson have also not responded.
Republican 1st Congressional District candidate Darren White put out a statement denouncing C. de Baca’s comments.
“Chairman Fernando C. de Baca’s reported comments are reprehensible, ignorant and completely unacceptable,” White said. “Someone who holds these beliefs has no business holding a leadership position in any political party.”
Comments came as Obama spoke in Española
C. de Baca’s comments came the same day that Obama spoke to 10,000 people in Española, the heart of Hispanic northern
“I doubt there are more than 10 percent of Latinos who think that way -- and half of them probably won’t even go out to vote,” Sanchez told him.
Matt Reichbach at NMFBIHOP wrote Friday that he is “a Hispanic with family from the Spanish north. I was at a rally yesterday in Española with nearly 10,000 people who would disagree with C. de Baca’s statement. And it is truly a dumb statement to think and even worse to say.”
Sanchez told Kelly that Hispanics aren’t a homogenous group. Though the federal government defines Hispanics and Latinos jointly as people of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican and South or Central American descent, there is another difference many New Mexicans are familiar with.
Hispanics can be defined as people of Spanish descent. Many in northern
Adding my voice to the chorus
Regardless of whether he had his basic facts about Hispanic history right, I’m going to add my voice to what I expect to be a growing chorus of people denouncing C. de Baca’s comments. While others have expressed in the context of the presidential race that there are some racial tensions between Hispanics and Latinos and blacks, C. de Baca’s comments were largely erroneous and out of line.
Sure, some Hispanics, apparently including (assuming he was quoted accurately) C. de Baca, hold such racist views. There are people with racist views in any culture group. But the polling and other evidence, regardless of what C. de Baca says, shows that the majority of Hispanics and Latinos support Obama. I have come across many conservative, Democratic Hispanics and Latinos who support McCain, but it’s usually because of his stances on the war, abortion or other policy issues, not because of some belief that they’re better than Obama.
While there have been some racial tensions between “blacks and browns,” as Sen. Mary Jane Garcia recently pointed out in a Rocky Mountain News article, the Obama candidacy is helping change that. Garcia, who originally expressed doubts about supporting Obama, now has an Obama bumper sticker on the back of her vehicle.
It seems C. de Baca is out of touch with reality. The opinion he expressed and which he apparently holds is outdated, racist and sad. I agree with White: Someone who holds such beliefs has no business holding a leadership position in any political party.
Update, Sept. 21, 10:40 a.m.
White’s Democratic opponent, Martin Heinrich, said in a news release that he finds C. de Baca’s comments “offensive, short-sighted and horribly racist.”
“Spewing such bigotry proves once again that the GOP leadership of
Meanwhile, C. de Baca said his statement was taken “totally out of context” in an interview with 770 KKOB-AM reporter Peter St. Cyr.
“In the course of talking to (Kelly), I explained that some of the older-generation people, like my grandfather, would always tells us as youngsters that Hispanics came here, I guess it was there way of having us, lifting our spirits, and they would say, ‘Remember your ancestors came here as conquerors.’ And those were his words,” C. de Baca told St. Cyr. “And then they would draw the comparison of the other groups, the Native Americans and so on.”
As for the comment Kelly quoted, C. de Baca said, “The point I was trying to make was that there is a generational difference between those folks who were born before the civil rights and those born in more recent periods. Young people today, whether they be Hispanics or some other race or ethnicity, they can’t relate to any of that, and so that’s what I was trying to convey. The point I did to make to him was that, in my humble opinion, the older set of Hispanics would probably not vote for a black for president, but that the younger ones would flock to vote for (Obama), conceivably.”
Reichbach wrote this about the possibility that Kelly misrepresented C. de Baca’s words:
“The thing is, I can see that I can see C. de Baca’s side of the argument. Anyone who has attempted to explain the oddness of
I’m trying to track down contact info for Kelly to seek comment.