Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Labeling people a sure sign of bigotry

Listening to bits and pieces of the Matt and Crank program this morning, we’ve finally pegged the way the program comes across as pushing an agenda of bigotry, even if the commentary, itself, does not express prejudicial views.

In the first segment, Matt talked about a FaceBook page where the person ranted against Mexicans who come into the place of business and speak Spanish instead of English.  Because the post was so poorly written, Matt turned the rant into one of his own of how we need to learn English before complaining about Mexicans who don’t speak English. 

“Ok,” you might be thinking, “where is the bigotry?”

Matt, unfortunately, made the same mistake the FaceBook person made.  Anyone in this country who speaks Spanish is a Mexican.  While he made his point that we do need to learn our own language, he consistently pointed out that the Mexicans need to learn English, too. 

If the FaceBook person posted from the southwest, there’s a good chance the person speaking Spanish was Mexican.  Many Mexicans do cross the border into Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California looking for work.

Outside of the southwest, the biggest influx of Latino immigrants are from El Salvador and Guatemala, you know, the two countries we funded civil wars in during the 80’s and left their countries and economies in a shamble.  After funding their death squads and destroying their countries, why should we be upset that they are coming here to look for ways to support their families.  It’s the least we could do for them.

Because they speak Spanish does not make them Mexican.  In fairness to Matt and Crank, maybe they really believe Mexicans should learn English, but the El Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Peruvians, Spaniards, and Lord knows who else don’t need to learn English.  And why just the Mexicans who speak Spanish?  There’s an estimated half a million illegal Canadians in this country and it’s a safe bet some speak French.  Maybe because they’re White, we tend to ignore their transgressions.  Only the Mexicans were worth targeting because they have brown skin.  And if you go back to the June 23rd program where Matt expressed his fears, again, about the White race becoming extinct because the other races are having more children than White people, the bigotry message all ties in.

The next segment talked about a woman who tweaked the breasts of a TSA agent at the airport when the agent was searching her.  For some reason we don’t understand, Matt and Crank needed to point out that the woman was an elderly Chinese woman.  Crank even felt a need to pipe in that maybe in her country, tweaking breasts was an acceptable response much like the French who kiss each other’s cheeks. 

When we, at the Critics Page, see someone of a different ethnic origin, we don’t automatically assume they must be immigrants.  We have to ask.  Why would Crank hear “Chinese” and automatically assume she must be an immigrant?  We brought thousands of Chinese people over here to build our railroads that connected this great country of ours during the 1800’s.  Our use of their labor wasn’t much different than our use of slave labor, but the point is Chinese people have been in this country for many generations.  Many people of Chinese decent in this country are as American as any person of European decent. 

While talking about this woman at the airport becoming a folk hero, Matt referenced the “gay flight attendant” who yelled at the rude passengers and then bailed out.  None of us at the Critics Page followed the story so we don’t know if the flight attendant ever made his sexual orientation an issue, but why would Matt feel a need to make an issue of it?

When telling a story, adding some description to the characters adds a dimension to the story, and, sometimes, is necessary to tell a good story.  In these three examples, we cannot figure out why the ethnicity or sexual orientation of the characters was important to mention and be harped upon to make the point both Matt and Crank wanted to make.  Yes, immigrants to this country should make an effort to learn our language.  Yes, tweaking a TSA agent’s breasts is a bad thing to do and certainly isn’t worthy of folk hero status.  Yes, a fight attendant yelling at passengers and bailing out is nothing to cheer about.  Pointing out the ethnicity or sexual orientation of the three characters in each story serves no other purpose other than to be a vain attempt at perpetuating the negative stereotypes of certain groups of people.  The implied message is straight, White, Christian males wouldn’t behave so badly.

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