Idiot politician calls Latinos "wetbacks", then says he meant no offense!
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?!
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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.