Arizona Strikes Again: State Rep Suggests Statewide "Caucasian Day" to Counter "Latin American Day"


It's a concept so cliche it's even painful to type: privileged, usually-white person is so offended by the concept of Latin American Day (or Black History Month, or MLK Day, etc) that s/he suggests a "Caucasian Day" to counteract the debilitating effects of "reverse racism." It's exhibit number one in people not understanding the concept of overwhelming white privilege, which persists even as Latinos, African-Americans and other non-white racial groups surpass whites in population. 

In this case, it's Arizona State Rep. Cecil Ash. After State Rep. Richard Miranda proposed the induction of a statewide Latin American Day—a small consolation considering Arizona's rampant anti-Latino policies—Ash countered, "I just want them to assure me that when we do become the minority, you'll have a day for us." Clearly, his statement upset some—even once he said he was "joking"—and he was compelled to clarify his remarks to a local news station (via Mediaite):

“Yes, I think it was appropriate. It was appropriate for the mood that was in the House and I think that if and when the Caucasian population becomes a minority, they may want to celebrate the accomplishments and the contributions of the Caucasian population the same way,” Ash said.

It's quite tone-deaf. Even as the US Latino population has increased, the opportunities for us in powerful positions has not been commensurate. For instance, of 435 members of the House of Representatives, only 31 are Latino, and both unemployment and poverty rates are higher for blacks and Latinos than any other group. 

But Ash's statement was also, perhaps, revealing about the fear and anxiety that drives legislation like Arizona's SB 1070 and anti-ethnic studies bills—the concept that if the minority becomes the majority, whites will be supplanted and lose majority-power. 

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at February 6, 2012, 7:21am

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