Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles Major and the son of a Mexican immigrant, has been in the news a lot recently. Villaraigosa's new role as chairman of the Democratic National convention made headlines and recently he told journalists that the 2012 Democratic Party platform ought to embrace same-sex marriage. Such comments quickly set off talk that he was placing President Obama in a tough spot.

So journalists have been talking to him, including Dan Morain from the Sacramento Bee. The worst part of Morain's column--Bigotry is a nearly-daily battle for Villaraigosa – is the last line: "the comments on this story had to be closed due to hate speech". This says it all about the ever-present racism happening in this country.

Villaraigosa's victory was a major turning point for Latinos, especially in a city where we make up 46 percent of the population. When he won the election, he declared, "I'll never forget where I came from and I'll always believe in the people of Los Angeles." He has stayed true to this statement, but he has faced tremendous bigotry along the way.

Back in 2005 the right wing and terribly rude radio host Rush Limbaugh recounted meeting Villaraigosa:

Clinton introduced me to the mayor of Los Angeles and I thought it was a Secret Service agent, maybe a shoeshine guy. Turns out he gives me his card and I said, 'Oh, my gosh, it's the mayor of Los Angeles'

If this horribly stereotypical and offensive comment is not considered racism by Americans, I don't know what is.

Every morning when I look online and read the news pertaining to Latinos living in this country, I get enraged and sad when I get to the bottom to the readers' comments. People actually take the time to write terribly harsh and racist affirmations, depicting their shortsighted views with no shame. Latinos are an important part of this country's workforce and culture, I don't care if that workforce it's built by janitors, cooks or bankers. We're here and rest assured, we're here to stay.

Dan Morain's column recounts how as he and the mayor where leaving the Capitol, a middle-aged man said to Villaraigosa, "Go back to Mexico".

Here is the twice-elected mayor of the nation's second largest city, a former Assembly speaker, and a man who will stand on a national stage this September in North Carolina.

And a guy who had never met nor spoken with Villaraigosa told him to go back to Mexico, as if this proud graduate of Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles and UCLA ever lived south of the border.

When Morain confronted this man with the question "Do you say that to mayors all the time?" this fellow responded, "He is a pissant, He is a Mexican... I have no qualms about saying anything to him".

I hope that one day people can move past their prejudice and let Latinos live peacefully in the country that's their home--whether they like it or not.

Do you see these types of hateful comments online? Do you respond?

Image via Getty

About the author

Sofia was born in Mexico and moved to New York in 1997. She has a 6-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy who are usually the main characters in her blog Slap cada día. After  a long career in advertising, last year she decided to leave the corporate world to chase her own entrepreneurial dreams and work on her writing.

 

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