Alaska GOP congressman, Don Young, referred to migrant farm workers as "wetbacks" in an radio interview with Alaska's KRB Radio. Young's exact statement was: "My father had a ranch; we used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes. It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It's all done by machine."

A bit of public outrage and outcry later, the idiotic politician issued an apology statement. But honestly, since when is "weback" not meant as an offense?!

Read more ¿Qué más?: Sorry Latinos, but we're DEFINITELY still racist

Young to issue the following statement as a half-assed apology:

"During a sit-down interview with Ketchikan Public Radio this week, I used a term that was commonly used during my days growing up on a farm in Central California. I know that this term is not used in the same way nowadays, and I meant no disrespect."

Growing up in California as a child of Mexican descent, I heard the term "wetback" used many a time and never once did it occur to me that it was NOT a slur. Wetback has always been a derogatory way of describing undocumented Latinos, and more specifically undocumented Mexicans. Always. It's never ever been a term of endearment.

Does it bother me that one of the most senior Republicans in the House used the term wetback? Yes, it does. But what bothers me even more is his "apology" because he obviously doesn't get it. To say that the term wetback is no longer used in the same way nowadays as when he was growing up is just absolutely wrong.

It is used in the same way. It was never meant to be charming, for crying out loud. It has always been offensive! The outrage over the term isn't about hearkening back to a time when calling someone a wetback was just what you called the brown people picking tomatoes.

Young's apology aslo included the following statement:

Migrant workers play an important role in America's workforce, and earlier in the said interview, I discussed the compassion and understanding I have for these workers and the hurdles they face in obtaining citizenship. America must once and for all tackle the issue of immigration reform.

The sad thing is that I believe him. I believe that he has compassion and understanding for these workers, I believe he meant no disrespect, I also believe he is out of touch with himself and society.

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Add Comment How do you feel about Young's apology?
About the author

You can find Claudya Martinez on her own blog Unknown Mami. Stop by, she loves visitors. Of course you can also find her on Twitter or Facebook.

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Filed Under: racism, wetbacks, politicians
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Add Comment How do you feel about Young's apology?

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So you can call the politician an idiot and that's okay right? Talk about a hypocrite. He said Wetback. SO? Why such offense? If the shoe fits wear it. If it doesn't fit, then so what? I think maybe you need to check your racists views and issues. Wetback is a term used for an illegal alien, not immigrant. Immigrant is a LEGAL person who immigrated here LEGALLY. If you came across the Rio Grande and got wet because you were sneaking into our Country without papers. Your a wetback. Live with it.
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