Thursday, May 13, 2004

The Brown Peril: GOP values in action

If anyone wanted a nice, clear example of the way supposedly educated and informed minds can be muddled by propaganda and smear campaigns, they should check out what the Washington Times recently reported happened in Palo Alto:
Stanford University students have voted to stop funding the Chicano group MEChA after a series of articles in the conservative Stanford Review accused the organization of racism.

In what is believed to be the first such vote on any college campus, Stanford students voted 1,357 to 1,329 to withhold MEChA's special fees, which amount to more than $40,000. The students voted about five months after articles in the Review cited anti-white statements in MEChA documents and compared the group to the Ku Klux Klan.

The anti-MEChA campaign bore all the hallmarks of Scaife-funded operations like Stanford Review: divisiveness, overheated hyperbole, and outright smears, all for the sake of scoring a symbolic victory against a multiculturalist institution:
"This was a huge, huge victory for us," said Mr. Cohen, a Stanford junior. "We were the only group calling for students not to fund MEChA, and we've been calling for this for years now. We didn't really expect it to happen, so we were pleasantly surprised."

However, campus MEChA leaders said the vote was based on "misinformation," insisting that the modern club no longer subscribes to all the views in the founding documents, according to the Stanford Daily, the school newspaper.

Indeed, the Times report itself repeats this same misinformation as fact, as in this "factiod":
The plan's motto, "Por la Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada," means, "For the race, everything. For those outside the race, nothing."

In reality, this is a phony translation, as I explained some time back:
A more accurate translation of the slogan would recognize that though "Por" translates to the English "For," it is used in a very specific sense of the word -- namely, "On behalf of" or "In the service of". "Fuera" is not "for those outside" but rather refers to the speaker, and means "Apart from." So what the slogan actually says is this:

In the service of the race, everything
Apart from the race, nothing

There is nothing remotely racist, particularly in the sense of being exclusionist or derogatory, about this, of course. The second line clearly only refers to the need to maintain one's ethnic and cultural identity. It is only racist if you deliberately mistranslate it: "For those outside the race, nothing."

Regular readers will recall that I've discussed MEChA at length several times on this blog, including here, here, here and here(Probably the most thorough post is the one cited above.)

Well, as you can tell from the report in the Times, the embarrassing Stanford vote is being hailed as a bicoastal victory against invading brown hordes everywhere.

Meanwhile, over at the Washington Post, we discover that Maryland's governor has similarly, er, interesting ideas about the proper behavior of Latino immigrants:
Ehrlich Calls Multiculture Idea 'Bunk'
Radio Show Remarks Offend Latino Leaders

Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. thinks that multiculturalism is "bunk" and that immigrants should assimilate to their new surroundings by learning to speak English.

And he said so on Baltimore talk radio this week, wading without hesitation into the controversy triggered by Comptroller William Donald Schaefer's earlier public complaint about an awkward encounter he had with a Spanish-speaking fast-food worker.

"I reject the idea of multiculturalism," Ehrlich (R) said on WBAL-AM (1090) radio. "Once you get into this multicultural crap, this bunk, you run into a problem. With respect to this culture, English is the language. Should we encourage young folks here to be assimilated, to learn the culture and values? Of course."

Ehrlich said his views on this topic are "very similar" to those of Schaefer (D), the cantankerous former governor who often uses meetings of the Board of Public Works as a public forum to gripe about the daily indignities of life. In this case, that meant sounding off about not being able to communicate with a Spanish-speaking McDonald's employee as he tried to buy a breakfast sandwich.

"I don't want to adjust to another language," Schaefer, 82, said Wednesday. "This is the United States. I think they ought to adjust to us."

A few days later, the stench from Ehrlich's remarks still lingered. He of course refused to apologize:
A week into the controversy, Ehrlich said he "didn't mean to offend anyone" and blamed criticism on "the politically correct crowd."

"I really believe the incredible support my statement has received all around the state reflects the view of the state," he added.

Of course, I'd just remind everyone of a small point I made some time back regarding multiculturalism: Castigate it for its many sins if you will, but keep in mind that multiculturalism arose as a direct response to, and repudiation of, white supremacism. It would behoove those who attack it now to explain to us just what they have in mind to replace it with.

No comments: