Sunday, April 16, 2006

Denver Post Columnist, Cindy Rodriguez, Loses Memory of Past Column

Cindy Rodriguez, writing in today's Denver Post, under the headline, "All Latinos feel hostility from dispute," asks the remarkable question:

"How did it become so ugly?

People are furious over immigration. We're not debating. We're screaming at each other, some of us using profane words and trading accusations."

Of course, the remarkableness about Ms. Rodriguez's quote is not so much that she is right about the ugliness of the polemic which has been created with regard to illegal (the adjective she does not use) immigration, it is, rather, that less than two weeks ago Ms. Rodriguez herself was comparing those of us who dare to use the word "illegal" as a noun are (dare I provide the litany again!) "Nativists, racists, brainwashed people, reactionary commentators, hate groups..." not unlike the despicable spew and spit of the Aryan Nation wingnuts which Ms. Rodriguez also likened a few of us to less than two weeks ago.

"Profane words and trading accusations..." Ms. Rodriguez ought to read her own columns.

Rodriguez goes on to decry the perception from former Colorado State Senator Polly Baca that people are giving her "...dirty looks..." presumably because people perceive her to be an illegal (once again Rodriguez doesn't use the adjective) "...immigrant."

Interestingly, Rodriguez latches on to a comment from Ms. Baca:

"It's the same as the bigotry I experienced as a child," Baca said. when she was a little girl in the '40s, she had to sit on the side pews with her family at St. Peter's Church in Greeley. Only Caucasians could sit in the middle."

Wondering here if Ms. Baca's banishment to the side aisle at St. Peter's was not something more inherently reflective of the Catholic Church, rather than a blanket presumption of societal bigotry? That the Catholic Church--even in Greeley--would allow such hierarchical ("Caucasians v. everybody else) discrimination is, of course, no surprise. Protestant sects actually allowed the up front pews to be bought (perhaps the Catholic Church did, too) and the rest of the good folk sat in the back or on the sides.

Incidentally, I was raised Catholic during the '50s and remember no such separation at All Saints in Southwest Denver. But, that was Denver, not Greeley. I suspect that, even then, Denver would not have given a Musgrave or an Allard the time of day, which argues for a Greeley state-of-mind, or Flatlander mentality that probably affected the clergy as well as the, um, "Caucasians" up north.

Ms. Rodriguez continues her column with a little story about an experience Delio Tamayo, a veterinarian and Columbian immigrant who has lived in Denver for thirty-five years, had in an "...upscale bistro..." Tamayo and his friends were speaking Spanish and, so the story goes, received the perceived rancor of a "...couple..." seated nearby. When the presumably (Rodriguez doesn't tell us) Anglo (Caucasian?) couple passed by, the man made an inappropriate remark to Tamayo's group. Tamayo (who was my and my mother's veterinarian for years) asked the couple to join his group for a drink and, well, Rodriguez tells us it became a "...teachable moment."

Good for Dr. Tamayo, who I deeply admire and respect and who my mother absolutely adored.

But, again, Ms. Rodriguez, continues to try to morph this issue by making that end-run directly to the word "immigrant" and pirouette so conveniently around that essential adjective "illegal."

Finally, it would be remiss of me not to mention that the final paragraph of Ms. Rodriguez's Sunday piece included the word "illegal." She wrote:

"But as TV tabloid shows continue to portray illegal immigrants in a negative light, Latinos like Tamayo will continue to experience increased hostility."

May I suggest, Ms. Rodriguez, that as long as the likes of, oh, say Jose Angel Gutierrez who is a Professor at the University of Texas, Arlington, continues to raise his voice in a particular rhetoric of threat and intimidation--witness my earlier post--and, yes, hostility, there is going to be little room for a meeting of the minds on this issue; an issue that cannot and must not ignore that fact that illegal entry into the United States is a crime. Period.

And, oh, by the way: I am not an Anglo or a Caucasian (thank you very much, Ms. Baca) I am an American, a citizen of the United States of America.

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