Good thing for primaries! Texas Republican Chris Mapp showed us just how eye-opening they are when he advocated shooting “wetbacks” (and later defended using the offensive term).
For Mapp, apparently, a piece of property (in this case, a ranch) is worth more than a human life.
Shoot “Wetbacks“ On Sight
As reported in The Huffington Post, Texas Republican Senate candidate, Chris Mapp expressed to the Dallas Morning News’ editorial board how “ranchers should be free to shoot ‘wetbacks’ on sight.” After Mapp’s controversial remarks, the board endorsed his opponent, Senator John Cornyn.
A South Texas Thing?
Mapp isn’t apologizing, and he isn’t pleased with the backlash. As My San Antonio reports, Mapp told the San Antonio Express-News that the racial slur, or epithet, usually targeted at Mexican immigrants, is as “normal as breathing air in South Texas.” As reported in My San Antonio, Mapp also told the original editorial board, “We can’t have illegal immigrants, drug cartels, human traffickers or terrorists coming across our border. Our borders can either be sealed by choice or force, and so far choice hasn’t worked.”
According to recent data from the United States Census Bureau, Hispanics and Latinos made up 38.2 percent of the Texas population in 2012; comparatively, Hispanic or Latinos made up 16.9 percent of the United States population.
Fortunately, it doesn’t seem like it’s a South Texas or a Republican thing. As reported in My San Antonio, Robert Stovall, Bexar County’s Republican Party chairman, said, “‘His views are in no way a reflection of the Republican Party nationally, statewide or in Bexar County.’” Mapp’s senate adversary, Senator John Cornyn, explained that while free speech is Mapp’s right, his words are “‘not the sort of way to gain people’s confidence that you care about them and you want to represent their concerns in the halls of Congress.’”
Latinos and The Republican Party
Cornyn is onto something. Republicans have been scrambling to gain Latinos’ confidence and vote since President Obama’s second 2012 presidential victory. As reported in The Washington Post, a 100-page “autopsy,” or analysis report of the 2012 presidential election, lists seven areas of disconnect between Latino voters and the Republican Party. Per the report, “‘we [The Republican National Commitee] must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform.’” I doubt Mapp’s approach would help the Republican cause much.
According to Merriam-Webster, the term “wetback” originates “from the practice of wading or swimming the Rio Grande where it forms the U.S.-Mexico border” and was first used in 1929. While terms like “wetback” feel crass and offensive today, especially coming from a politician, the United States government has an official history with the term. It employed the term officially in the 1950s Operation Wetback. In 2013, Drew Turiano, an investor vying for a Montana congressional seat, thought that the U.S. should have an Operation Wetback numéro dos.
Epithets Making Headlines
Mapp doesn’t apologize for his controversial remarks because “wetback” is as “normal as breathing air in South Texas.” The sad truth is that he may be right — racial epithets are rampant, and they don’t discriminate; our society seems infected with them. Mapp isn’t the only one that put racial slurs on the map recently. The NFL is struggling to solve the issue of abusive language between players. Arab Americans are devising social media campaigns to ending the use of “the A-word” when referencing “black people.” Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley wants to drop “the R-word,” or “retarded,” from state law because it’s just as bad as a racial slur. While Mapp is making no effort to apologize, Paula Deen doesn’t seem to stop.
Whether or not you believe that words have positive and negative vibrations, words are powerful. Can’t we just all agree that if you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all once and for all?
Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection