Calls for Respect, Resignation & Censure Against Anti-Immigrant/Latino Hate Not Enough

Last Sunday, I spent a few hours recounting the history of my neighborhood and a 20 year old racial violence crime that stole the life of a 19 year old son of Dominican immigrants. I didn’t expect to begin crying in the middle of the filmed conversation but I did, especially when thinking how last year I had to explain to my four year old daughter why a mother, like her own, was crying in front of a place her son was killed for being Latino, for being the son of an immigrant.

Yesterday, Kansas State Rep. Virgil Peck made comments that he labeled as a joke, comments that stated that the way to deal with undocumented immigrants was to shoot them from the air, the way one shoots wild animals.

“It might be a good idea to control illegal immigration the way the feral hog population has been controlled—with hunters shooting from helicopters.”

The response from Latino orgs and immigration advocates has been swift. The National Council of la Raza (NCLR) has called for a real apology from Peck. Change.Org almost immediately launched a petition demanding Peck’s censure. The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda has called for Kansas Governor Brownback and the state legislature to denounce and censure Peck.

While all of the above actions are good, and nice, and important, they fail to make the connection that the messages being sent out by legislators, on the state and national level, and the messages being sent by the federal administration itself is that violence is an acceptable way to deal with “those people” – immigrant people, Latino people, our people – our families, children, and vecinos.

As more and more laws get passed across states, like the just signed Utah immigration laws , that attempt to “temper” criminalization by granting temporary work visas, the message is, immigrants, Latinos, can stay/be in the United States as long as we know our place.

As I wrote on Monday, Obama’s handpicked head of Homeland Security continues to show off high deportation numbers while being very clear that it is acceptable policy to shoot to kill along the border with Mexico.

If you are an immigrant who identifies as a woman, you will be dealt with by having your body criminalized and under the constant threat of rape. Your children will be taken away from you or killed in front of you.

And I think of the DREAMers, young people across the United States announcing their undocumented status, and how it feels like twice a month or more there is another petition, another round of calls, another set of actions to prevent a deportation.

This is not a joke and calls for respect, petitions, actions mean nothing if we, as activists, media makers, and advocates continue to look at comments like Peck’s as isolated incidents. The hate crimes, the laws being presented and passed, the deaths are all tied together and send a clear message to those who have a white supremacist vision for the United States. Everything is acceptable. As a community, we need to be clear and model survival, strength, support and resistance.

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14 comments on “Calls for Respect, Resignation & Censure Against Anti-Immigrant/Latino Hate Not Enough
  1. Kudos to Maegan, on this piece. It is very frustrating and sad to hear the callousness and frequency in which Latinos have become a political punching bag.

    It is no longer an “Illegal” problem, hate does not distinguish legal, or illegal, all they see is brown.

    I am so mad, I can no longer keep quiet…how about you ?

  2. Thank you for your kind words and yes. All they see is brown and I think it would be disrespectful and dishonest of me if I didn’t say that brown = illegal= Mexican.

    I hope no one keeps quiet. Our lives depend on it.

  3. Re: “The National Council of la Raza (NCLR) has called for a real apology from Peck. ”

    Forget an apology. He should resign. NCLR is so lame. Who wants an apology from a scumbag? He shouldn’t hold public office at all because he’s unfit.

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  5. I am shock, just a few years black people gain the freedom of equality,
    now its latinos time, they dont have the same treatment as other nations, the inmigration laws are much light for europeans and canadians.
    I´m a supportive of people legalization but when a person needs to waith 20 years ….. sorry we will see a lot of people not matter what push there chances.

  6. wow, this is awful. Thank you for writing about it. By the way, I love your blog, it’s great to have some media analysis through a Latino blog, I feel like all I find in terms of Latino blogs have to do with cooking or design or something!

  7. Hi Juliana and welcome. Thank you so much for your kind comments. I often feel that the way social media promotes the Latino blogosphere it feels that way! I mean I like cooking, don’t get me wrong, pero my love is breaking down the world around us all.

    I hope you will come back!


  8. I hope he does apologize, but I also agree that NCLR is sometimes one step too close to accomodating. I vote for telling him to stick his apology you know where and then making an example out of him. If we did it to Lou Dobb’s stank ass, we can do it to this baboso too.

    I know agressive is not always right, but if someone’s comparing your people to hogs, what kind of people are we if we don’t respond. Especially if the person has some kind of influence.

  9. Hola Sabrina. He did issue a second non apology apology on tv, CNN. It was something along the lines of I’m sorry you all were offended. I will look for the video to put up.

    Ja ja again, I have zero intention of apologizing for any organization porque really given the climate we are living in, calling for people to be shot like animales when we are alrady being shot like animales, well really. If the tables were turned….

    Some orgs like are demanding his resignation. This is closer to what should happen pero then who replaces him. It is not one bad apple. It is the current narrative of immigration now. That is what we need to be tackling.

  10. Yea youre right, but while we tackle immigration, showing how there is consequences for insulting us can help keep our hope alive. Just saying, examples can be powerful. I like too, hope they keep up the good work…

  11. Good Morning Sabina. Si pero I don’t thin they immigration reform is being tackled right now which concerns me greatly. The only thing that is happening is secure communities being expanded and a push toward e-verify.

    And I know I come down hard on the orgs but I also understand that that is the way the nonprofit system works and then every part is gonna play a different role.

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