Marco Rubio Can’t Represent Latinos Because He’s “White”? Really?

By | February 23, 2013 | 19 Comments


Senator Marco Rubio

One of the Los Angeles Times Latino columnists recently penned – all right, keyboarded – the following observation:

Such reductionism allows Washington to hijack “Latinos” for its own purposes. It allows the media to entertain the absurd notion that throngs of mestizo Mexican Americans from California will one day help carry a white Cuban U.S. senator from Florida to the White House, because they’re all Latino. It enables the Republican Party to think that supporting immigration reform is enough of a solution to having become a de facto white race party. [Emphasis added.]

When a leading Latino civil-rights organization calls itself “La Raza,” the usual excuse is that this means “the people.” But that would be el pueblo. La raza means “the race,” as any Spanish dictionary will tell you.

Obsession with race used to be the province of far-right reactionaries, as exemplified by the KKK and the Nazis. Now, however, it is the province of left-wing people who call themselves “progressive,” but who in fact are throwbacks to an earlier age, a time when race was the first consideration in evaluating a person.

To clarify this point, let us analyze the columnist’s words.

First, he declares that Mexican Americans are “mestizo” – that is, of mixed Indian and European heritage. This may be true for most Mexican Americans, but is it also true for Latinos from Central and South America? The columnist is Mexican American, so he tends to ignore other Latinos. But in any case, so what? The term “mestizo” is itself a throwback to the caste system of the Spanish conquerors of Latin America, called Casta:

In the Casta system, Mestizos had fewer rights than European-born persons called Peninsulares and Creoles, who were persons born in the New World of two European-born parents, but more rights than Indios and Negros.

In short, the very word “mestizo” had its origin in the odious caste-system imposed by white European conquerors, but now it is used as a term of pride by some Latinos. This is similar to the hateful “n” word used by some African Americans as a sort of reverse term of endearment. But just as decent people of all races discourage use of the “n” word, we should also discourage use of the word “mestizo” – and all other words that convey a racial stereotype.

The columnist goes on to call Senator Marco Rubio “white.” Both Rubio’s parents were born in Cuba and are native speakers of Spanish. Rubio himself speaks fluent Spanish. But to the crypto-racist columnist, all this doesn’t matter. Rubio is “white.” And to the columnist, a “white” government official cannot represent a “mestizo.” Oh, really?

Look at the photos of the last three presidents of Mexico: Vicente Fox, Felipe Calderón, and Enrique Peña Nieto. They all look “white.” Indeed, many of the past presidents of Mexico look “white,” with the notable exception of Benito Juárez. (One of the past presidents was even named Rubio.) Are we to believe that someone who looks “white” is incapable of representing Mexican Americans, but is entirely capable of representing Mexicans themselves? This gives new meaning to the word “absurd.”

And speaking of Cubans, what about Fidel Castro? He has ruled Cuba since 1959, recently assisted by his brother Raúl. But after 54 years of oppressive rule, he remains a liberal icon. Yet Fidel and Raúl look “white.” What’s going on?

What the Los Angeles Times columnist is really objecting to is not how Marco Rubio looks, but how he thinks. The columnist calls Republicans the “white race party.” What does he mean?
Consider Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and leading neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson. When Carson spoke so eloquently at the National Prayer Breakfast, and when Thomas speaks anywhere, they are ridiculed and condemned, or at best ignored. Or consider leading political and social commentator Dr. Thomas Sowell. He is completely ignored by the mainstream media. Why? All three of these gentlemen look black. In fact, they look blacker than noted black spokespersons Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

But, you see, Thomas, Carson, and Sowell don’t “think black.” That is, they are conservative. To be really “black,” you don’t need to have a really black skin – you just need to espouse really liberal ideas. This is a new kind of racism, one which obsesses about political leanings rather than skin color.

Now you see why the columnist declared that the “white” Marco Rubio couldn’t represent Latinos. If Rubio were far left, he could be a blue-eyed blond for all anyone cared. The columnist and his liberal colleagues would gush about Rubio’s virtues and proclaim it was time for a Latino president.

But here is the irony. In the past, because of white racism, it was good to be “white.” Back then, Latinos couldn’t be “white.” Even fair-skinned Latinos like Rubio were never accepted as “white.” The same was true of my father. Though he had pale blue eyes and very fair skin, to bigots he wasn’t “white,” because he was a Jew.

Now things have changed. Now because of liberal racism, it is bad to be white. So now a fair-skinned conservative Latino like Rubio is “white,” and even olive-skinned Jews are “white.” Go figure.

But perhaps things really haven’t changed that much. Prejudiced people still think of themselves as members of the favored “in” group, and all others as inferior. We used to call them racists. Now we call them progressives. But beneath the thin veneer of self-righteousness, they are all much the same – egocentric bigots.

Contrary to the columnist’s prediction, I believe it is possible for a conservative Latino like Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz to receive a major share of Latino votes. Rather than trying to create more dependency on government, as Democrats do, these candidates would appeal to Latinos’ strengths: belief in God, family, and work. That is the Democrats’ fear – and my hope.

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  • Jay says:

    Latino isn’t a race period. There are white, black, native american and mixed race latinos. You can call anyone Latino that was born in or has ancestors from Latin America no matter what race they are. The writer of this story needs to learn the difference between, race, culture, nationality and ethnicity.

    • You are correct, of course. But most people call Latino or Hispanic a “race,” although there are no pure “races.” What about the organization named “La Raza” or the expression “Viva la raza”? If people define themselves as a “race,” what are we to do about it? Racists used to claim that Hispanics weren’t “white.” Now many Hispanics themselves insist they aren’t “white.”
      Interesting fact: When Sonia Sotomayor was appointed to the Supreme Court, the media were unanimous in claiming that she was the first Latina or Latino to hold this office. But everyone forgot about Justice Benjamin Cardozo, who was so prominent that a law school was named for him. Apparently his name and Portuguese ancestry weren’t “Latino” enough – perhaps because he was a Jew. Once we start down the road of “race,” it is hardly a surprise when we find racists as our traveling companions.

  • Alice says:

    I agree completely with the spirit of this article, but there is still an enormous misconception running throughout. As racist and obnoxious as the LA Times columnist sounds, he is actually correct. Marco Rubio IS white, as were the overwhelming majority of the Cubans that arrived to the US during the early 60’s. Cuba was the very last Spanish colony to be freed from Spain, consequently when the Castro regime took the country, the island had only been independent for 48 years, much less than the Castros have been in power today. That means there were a lot of Spaniards on the island living, reproducing and working. Intermarriage with blacks was every bit as shunned as it was in the States. Indians had all been wiped out by the Spaniards. Marco descends from Spaniards, you know, white Europeans, and as a matter of fact his father did have blue eyes as does his brother, also a politician somewhere in FL. The reason recent Cuban immigrants are so dark is due to the revolution eliminating the racial barriers as well as the huge influx of Angolan orphans into Cuba many years ago. Many Latin Americans, but most particularly Mexicans, have viewed Cubans with great mistrust given the racial divide. In all fairness it must be said that the white first-wave Cubans, were right in feeling violently stripped of their homeland, but they were also very socially segregated and looked down on yes, mestizos.
    BTW, La Raza is originally a Mexican movement, certainly does pertain to race, not people. Other Latin Americans have begun joining them as a result of the hatred for Americans that they develop while living and thriving on American soil.
    I hope this serves to clear some of the confusion. Peace in Jerusalem!

    • You are correct. The Census Bureau does not recognize “Hispanic” as a racial group. Instead, there is “Hispanic white,” which apparently includes “Mestizos,” and “Hispanic black,” which apparently includes many Puerto Ricans. But my point was that this and other racial classifications are no more scientific than the old Spanish system I refer to. In fact, they are no more scientific than the Nazi system, and you know where that led. Racist classifications are like wife beating – there is no “right” way to do it.
      Please see my April 20 column. Thanks for your intelligent comments.

  • james says:

    Rubio is born of Spanish (white European) parents. That is why the Times writer refers to him as WHITE. He’s really no different than an Italian-American, and cannot be considered a minority group member.

    • It depends on what you want. Do you want to get a job or a place in college? Then Rubio is Hispanic. Do you want to be a member of La Raza? Then probably Rubio is out of luck — the so-called “race” the name refers to is Mexican, which of course is not a race, assuming there were such a thing as a pure race. Do you want to represent minorities? Then it’s up for grabs. Even if Rubio had dusky skin, many Mexican Americans would not vote for him because he is of Cuban ethnicity, and Cubans (at least the older generation) are strongly anti-communist, having seen communism first-hand.
      The U.S. Census Bureau states:
      People who identify their origin as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino may be of any race. Thus, the percent Hispanic should not be added to percentages for racial categories.
      Look at the presidents of Mexico. With the exception of Benito Juarez, they all looked European — light skin, and balding, unlike “Mestisos,” who do not get bald. If Rubio can’t represent minorities, how could Fox or Calderon or Pena Nieto represent Mexicans? The more closely you look into the question of “race,” the more ridiculous it gets. If Rubio shares my values, he can represent me, regardless of where my ancestors came from. If we can’t agree on that, we have nothing to discuss.

  • Melchior6 says:

    “Both Rubio’s parents were born in Cuba and are native speakers of Spanish. Rubio himself speaks fluent Spanish”
    Are you serious? Speaking Spanish, a European language makes someone non White.?The origin of his his ancestry and that of many upper class and middle class Cubans is Spain which is in Europe last I checked.

    • Please check out what I said about “Mestizos” and the rest of such racist terminology. If most of the presidents of Mexico looked “white” but were capable of representing Mexicans in Mexico, why isn’t Rubio, who also looks “white,” capable of representing Mexican Americans in the U.S.? Makes no sense.

    • guest100 says:

      Rubio is Hispanic, not white, and that rotten ANCHOR BABY is NOT qualified to even run for president. He was $200,000 in personal debt. If he can’t even manage his household accounts, that ANCHOR BABY cannot manage a country. That leech and his equally leeching parents needs to be deported. And just HOW did he get out of that debt in four short years? Hmm?

  • guest100 says:

    Rubio is a member of the racist La Raza group. The takeover plan is referred to as the “reconquista” of the Western U.S. and it features ethnic cleansing of Americans, Europeans, Africans and Asians once the area is taken back and converted to Aztlan. While this may sound a bit crazy, this organization is quite powerful and its leaders regularly attend congressional hearings regarding immigration. The La Raza council also receives millions of U.S. TAXPAYER dollars each year to pay for their invasion!
    Obama even violated his own lobbyist ban to hire a top National Council of La Raza official (Cecilia Munoz) as director of intergovernmental affairs. Munoz supervised all legislative and advocacy activities on the state and local levels and was heavily involved in the congressional immigration battles before the president issued an “ethics waiver” to make her part of his administration.
    In return, the La Raza council has strongly supported Obama while never the less pressuring him to do more for the race. The group was quick to issue a press release lauding the president’s “historic appointment” of Sotomayor to the nation’s highest court, calling it a “monumental day for Latinos.” No mention of the judge’s membership in the group, however. Rubio is part of all this.

  • Dear Guest 100: You need to take a good, deep look into your own heart. Not long ago, Jews, Italians, Greeks, and even Irish were not considered “white.” Perhaps you would find articles more to your liking on National Vanguard.

  • tony5000 says:

    Rubio is also a member of La Raza (literally translated, “The Race). This racist group’s whole focus is “RECONQUISTA.”
    You old white people. It is your duty to die.”
    La Raza leaders speak out!
    Augustin Cebada, Brown Berets; “Go back to Boston! Go back to Plymouth Rock, Pilgrims! Get out! We are the future. You are old and tired. Go on. We have beaten you. Leave like beaten rats. You old white people. It is YOUR DUTY to die … Through love of having children, we are going to take over.
    Jose Pescador Osuna, the Mexican Consul General OPENLY BOASTS of invasion, “We are practicing ‘La Reconquista’ in California.”
    Richard Alatorre, Los Angeles City Council. “They’re afraid we’re going to take over the governmental institutions and other institutions. They’re right. We will take them over … We are here to stay.”
    Excelsior, the national newspaper of Mexico, “The American southwest seems to be slowly returning to the jurisdiction of Mexico without firing a single shot.”
    Professor Jose Angel Gutierrez, University of Texas; “We have an aging white America. They are not making babies. They are dying. The explosion is in our population … I love it. They are shitting in their pants with fear. I love it.”
    Art Torres, Chairman of the California Democratic Party, “Remember 187 — proposition to deny taxpayer funds for services to non-citizens — was the last gasp of white America in California.”
    Gloria Molina, Los Angeles County Supervisor, “We are politicizing every single one of these new citizens that are becoming citizens of this country … I gotta tell you that a lot of people are saying, “I’m going to go out there and vote because I want to pay them back.”
    Mario Obledo, California Coalition of Hispanic Organizations and California State Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under Governor Jerry Brown, also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton, “California is going to be a Hispanic state. Anyone who doesn’t like it should leave.”
    Professor Fernando Guerra, Loyola Marymount University; “We need to avoid a white backlash by using codes understood by Latinos …”

    • I can’t verify any of your quotes, but I am posting them as references for our readers. But the irony is that the organization called “La Raza” and the Spanish-language network Univision are for Hillary Clinton. They remain notably cool toward Rubio, because he reversed himself on amnesty – and because, like Cruz, he is an ethnic Cuban, and Mexicans and Cubans often don’t get along. If you don’t like Rubio, you should like Hillary even less, despite the fact that she is clearly “white.”
      Frankly, this whole race thing makes me sick, and I will post nothing more on this depressing subject.
      When I was a child, one-third of all the Jews in the world were murdered because we weren’t “white.” But now, if I went back to the university, I would have to take a course in “white privilege” – and be told that as a “white” I couldn’t understand how minorities feel. Pass the air-sickness bag; I may need it.

  • Alexander says:

    “Back then, Latinos couldn’t be “white.” Even fair-skinned Latinos like Rubio were never accepted as “white.””

    This statement is so wrong,it’s not even funny.Prior to this “La Tino”/Hispanic b.s coming on the scene,no average American would have thought of someone as nonwhite simply because they were of Latin American ancestry/origin or had a Spanish last name.PS:I’d expect this type of ignorance from liberals,but to hear it coming from a conservative is just plain sad.

    “In 1849 Gonzalez became a naturalized United States citizen under a law that offered citizenship to free whites who had lived in the country for at least three years before the age of 21.“é_Gonzales

    “Perez was a member of the White Citizens Council and an organizer of the white supremacist Citizens Council of Greater New Orleans. Perez researched and wrote much of the legislation sponsored by Louisiana’s Joint Legislative Committee on Segregation.“

    • David Stolinsky says:

      You never heard anyone called “beaner” or other offensive terms? You don’t know Latinos are included in “people of color”? You haven’t heard that when a university had a “no whites” day, Latinos were allowed? Yes, some Latinos discriminated against blacks – some still do. And the discrimination was returned. But that surely doesn’t prove that the white power structure accepted Latinos as equals. They didn’t accept Italian “grease-balls” or “Dagos,” or Jewish “kikes” or “Hymies” either. And what about the organization “La Raza,” which includes some Latino politicians as members. Let’s agree to disagree.

  • Ray says:

    Dear Mr. Stolinsky,

    I agree with you to a point. The [primary] reason why the Los Angeles Times Latino columnist would not vote for Rubio is because he is a Republican. You are right that if Rubio or any other white Hispanic were running for president, that writer would [no rather, might] vote for him if he were a liberal democrat [read this as one who would oppose the wall and give amnesty to all border crossers], yet, I’m not entirely sure. You see, chicanos are very nationalistic. The entire “Latino” label is the creation of chicano activists who in the 60’s and 70’s wanted to cement their political power which was limited to the West Coast. They wanted to become a national force [as blacks had done and whom they patterned themselves after] and to improve their public relations standing which was hurting from newspapers identifying chicano assailants by their national origin. In order to accomplish this a chicano congressman was able to get a law passed mandating the US Census to stop referring to Hispanics by their national origin and instead just call them “Hispanic.” Over night, everyone from down in Argentina all the way up to Cuba became Latino. We were no longer, Cubans, Argentines, Puerto Ricans, Bolivans, Peruvians, etc… We all become Latinos. The only people who really benefited from this were chicanos. No longer would newspapers refer to Mexican American criminals as “Mexican Americans,” they would hence forth refer to them as “Hispanics” [which later turned to “Latinos” because radical Spain hating chicanos thought that the term “Hispanic” harkened too much to Spain]. Now chicanos could hide behind the anonimity of the Hispanic label and more upwardly mobile Hispanics like Cubans would be muddied by the association. This brief radio pod explains the what happened:

    My point is that there is no latino vote, simply because there is no monolithic “Latino” people in the way that its been presented in the US. The latino vote is made up of different Hispanic groups with different socio-economic, racial and historical backgrounds. Indeed, many Hispanic nationalities don’t even like each other. Politically speaking, amnesty and the wall is not even on the radar of most Cubans and Puerto Ricans, Cuba is not the radar of most chicanos in deed, Cuban Americans become enraged when they see radical latinos wearing che t-shirts.

    Because approximately, 90% of all Latinos in the US are Mexican Americans, they will continue to vote for the most part as one solid group, but don’t necessarily expect other Hispanics to vote like them, or for them to vote for a Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. I just don’t see it. I’m afraid nationality and race does play a role in the Hispanic vote to one extent or another.

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