Every few weeks, a member of the Xi Xi Chapter of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. tackles a diversity-related topic that interests her and posts her thoughts for the intellectual benefit of all.
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A Powerful Response Using Tacos – M. Musco
Let’s say you’re a public official in a town where the police force was facing charges of racial discrimination against Latinos. How would you respond to the Latinos in your community? Whatever you do, don’t follow the example of Joseph Maturo, the mayor of East Haven, Connecticut. When Maturo was asked on Tuesday about how he would reassure his Latino population, said he would have a taco dinner.
This kind of quip – which ignores the vast regional differences in cooking among Spanish-speaking immigrants – sounds racist in any context. But when you’re the mayor of a town whose police are being investigated by the FBI for racially motivated crimes, a remark like this is unthinkable. Maturo didn’t just fail to provide a meaningful answer that would address the serious abuse of power among East Haven’s law enforcement – he also reduced a portion of his citizens to a worn-out stereotype.
Maturo apologized for his remark after being denounced by Connecticut governor Daniel Mallory, but the impact of his words will linger for a long time. It’s disturbing that an elected official feels comfortable denigrating a whole ethnic group to the media, though sadly these kinds of remarks represent an all-too-common attitude about people Latino descent.
Meanwhile, activists and citizens are striking back. The mayor’s office reports that hundreds of tacos have been delivered this week.
The interview on video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCUwtfqF4wU
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