I guess we “others” all just look alike.
Prominently featured on RNClatinos.com, the Republican National Committee’s new Latino voter outreach website, was a stock photo of Asian children, as Think Progress pointed out yesterday, June 14. The Shutterstock image was tagged with such terms as “asia, asian, cheeks, children, cool… future, gang,…interracial, japanese… , poor…. thailand, together, trendy,” but with no reference to Latino/a or Hispanic children.
As Think Progress observed, “the GOP has been making a concerted effort to reach out to Latino voters this election season — but, by any account, this particular effort was less than successful.” Raw Story was less reserved in its response to this latest gaffe (on top of those spelling errors), saying that the RNC has quite “flubbed” its efforts to reach out to Latinos and reviewing other ways Republicans, eagerly courting Latino voters, have displayed some astounding ignorance:
When Rick Santorum campaigned in Puerto Rico earlier this year, he dangled statehood for the island as a prize, but warned its citizens that first they would have to make English their “official language.” Mitt Romney discussed illegal immigration and urged people in this country illegally to “self-deport.”
Bettina Inclan, the coordinator for the RNC’s 2012 Latino outreach program, said that she “didn’t know” the GOP’s (much less Mitt Romney’s) position on immigration and would “have to get back” regarding what is undoubtedly an issue of huge concern for Latino voter. Indeed: The parents of more than a few of the students (and often the students themselves) at the urban Catholic college I teach at in New Jersey have emigrated from Ecuador, Peru, Columbia, Mexico, Panama and elsewhere. Over the school year, many students find themselves missing class to translate for parents in interviews with immigration officials; some few students always disappear during the school year, after quietly mentioning that there are “problems” their parents are dealing with.
The RNC, informed of the error, has removed the photo. GOP spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski informed Talking Points Memo that “an outside vendor developed the site and it is being corrected immediately.” Yes, blame someone else to pass over the question of why, to some, any photo of dark-haired, darker-skinned children will stand in for “Latino.”
As of the writing of this post, going to RNClatinos.com talks you to a photo-less website, http://www.gop.com/unete/unete.htm, via which you can sign up to volunteer for the GOP. The words “Únete Republican National Committee” appear in the upper-left corner of the site, where the Shutterstock photo of Asian children once was placed.
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