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Why, Some of My Best Friends

April 27th, 2010 · 12 Comments

Scan the last paragraph of George Will’s column on Arizona’s round-up-the-darkies law while I take a deep breath:

Non-Hispanic Arizonans of all sorts live congenially with all sorts of persons of Hispanic descent. These include some whose ancestors got to Arizona before statehood — some even before it was a territory. They were in America before most Americans’ ancestors arrived. Arizonans should not be judged disdainfully and from a distance by people whose closest contacts with Hispanics are with fine men and women who trim their lawns and put plates in front of them at restaurants, not with illegal immigrants passing through their back yards at 3 a.m.

Ho ho! See what he did there? He’s flipping the script! It’s critics of the law—all presumably themselves non-Hispanic—who are out of touch! Because seriously, where would middle-class professionals and journalists outside Arizona ever encounter a Hispanic, except when they need their hedges trimmed or their tables bussed? That’s pretty much all they do, right?

George Will is probably the conservative pundit with whom I most often find myself in agreement, so it’s awfully disappointing that he sounds like such a flaming pendejo here.

Addendum: Yes, of course I get that this was intended as a too-cute-by-half “swipe at ‘limousine liberal’ types” (to borrow Jake Tapper’s phrasing)—but it misfires badly, because the gag only works or makes sense if you think it’s remotely plausible that the limousine liberals in question (at least outside Arizona) are all Anglos who wouldn’t have any contact with Hispanics other than busboys and landscapers, which in 2010 is ludicrous. As with the infamous “He’s so articulate!”, the obnoxious bit isn’t the intentional attack, but the presupposition it reveals.

Tags: Journalism & the Media · Law



12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 K. Chen // Apr 27, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    How is it any more of an issue if the people creeping through your backyard are illegal immigrants (as opposed to legal immigrants, or anyone else for that matter)? Shouldn’t Arizona be more concerned by its supposed rash of nighttime trespassers and lawn-fetishists?

  • 2 open minded freethinker // Apr 28, 2010 at 12:17 am

    Oh get over yourself…

  • 3 Chris // Apr 28, 2010 at 12:25 am

    Seriously dude. Take a step back.

  • 4 DJ // Apr 28, 2010 at 12:40 am

    Racism in America has taken on an “intellectual” pale. My wife – who is Ecuadorian, thus has native features, fair skinned but gets dark with very little sun – has often noted (and I’ve observed it in action) that many who think that they are not racist are exactly that. And, they will make some amazing tactical turns to try and prove they are not.

    Good catch.

  • 5 Jason Attas // Apr 28, 2010 at 12:54 am

    I didn’t read it that way, Julian.

    I think what Will was trying to do was take a shot at the beltway/liberal elititsts who are critical of the AZ law and are running to the defense of the poor, downtrodden, disenfranchised Hispanics, when the only Hispanics they have ever seen have been around are the “fine men and women” who serve their meals and tend their lawns.

    I think he’s trying to point out the hypocrisy of the liberal elite.

  • 6 Julian Sanchez // Apr 28, 2010 at 1:00 am

    I get what he’s trying to do. But the embedded assumption is that the only Hispanics a beltway/liberal elite would meet are landscapers and busboys. Some of us aren’t.

  • 7 southpaw // Apr 28, 2010 at 1:16 am

    The idea that Arizonans have come to this point because they are afflicted with witching-hour immigration routes transecting their lawns is similarly outlandish.

  • 8 Brian // Apr 28, 2010 at 2:09 am

    I probably disagree with you on most things. I’m a far-right Republican. HOWEVER, yeah, George Will’s reference to Hispanics as landscapers and food service workers was tasteless and stupid.

    Then again, I’m biased. The only Hispanics in my social circles are professors and bankers. Oh and some guy who sets up computer systems.

  • 9 K. Chen // Apr 28, 2010 at 3:01 am

    I don’t think theres any particular accusation that Mr. Will was being malicious or nasty. Just betraying an underlying racist assumption in his view of the world.

    So while it was tasteless and stupid, it doesn’t read out of simple rudeness but genuine ignorance.

  • 10 silentbeep // Apr 28, 2010 at 3:01 am

    Julian, I love you for saying this. Seriously. I guess he never met a Hispanic like me who , you know, has grandparents born in this country and a Master’s degree (from an American university! shocker!) George F. Will = Puto.

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