Can you smell the refried beans?
EXCHANGE WITH XAVIER HERMOSILLO
Rodolfo F. Acuña Mar 20 15
I could not help myself when I recently replied to Xavier Hermosillo’s outrageous Facebook post on Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio responding, “Arpaio is a fascist. Can’t you smell the re-fried beans?”
Xavier Hermosillo answered back:
“The BOTTOM LINE, regardless of the particular issue on the table at this moment, is that until a higher court overturns the Texas judge, the injunction has the force of law and MUST be respected.
[This order was predicated on the fact that Araipo took Obama to court because a higher court overturned a ruling against Araipio.]
[Hermosillo continued]:He’s DELIBERATELY VIOLATING a federal judge’s order, and only one man has stood up to him.
An intellectual scholar like you knows better. If a judge issued an order approving a topic you support, and some bureaucrat decided to openly violate the order, you’d be screaming to a much different tune.
We live under a system where a judge’s rule or injunction has the power of law until progressively higher levels of power and legal acumen rule differently.”
I responded to the crap:
“Your premise would be true if the majority of the Supreme Court was not corrupt and would follow the law. Citizens United is a case in point. If the Democrats had guts they would have at least brought impeachment proceedings against Scalia, Thomas, and the three other corporate stooges. Irreparable harm is being done to the courts. When I was a kid we did not like but respected the courts. Today very few people believe in justice through the courts. Also falling back on my religious training (I am not a believer) but after 14 years and a lot of reading I know Catholicism. The pedophile trials destroyed the aura enjoyed by the Church. The corruption of Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats is doing the same to government and shredding the Constitution.
After the encounter I received numerous messages asking why I did not just defriend Hermosillo. Why had I accepted him as a friend in the first place? Judgments are often based on history; you can like a person even though they are full of shit. Hermosillo has always been a Rush Limbaugh wannabe. He possesses a certain charm although more often he skirts the creases between racism Chicano nationalism.
I also must admit I appreciate a catchy metaphor like in the early 1991 when the African American community was receiving deserved attention for their rebellion against acquittal of the white officers in the beating of Rodney King. At the time Pete Wilson and his cabal were gearing up for the insidious Proposition 187.
Mexican Americans were resentful with the outcome of the 1990 state redistricting plan and their lack of representation. A growing resentment festered fueled by the fact that Latinos were 40 percent of Los Angeles but only cast 8 percent of the vote. Out of 247 City Commissioners, there were only two Latino councilmembers. Less than 10 percent of the city employees were Latina/o.
At the time, many Latinos wrongheadedly measured progress by comparing it to that of African Americans who made up 13 percent of the population and 18 percent of the electorate. In the aftermath of the horrendous King beating and the rebellions that followed the city allocated cleanup funds, which touched off competition between the Brown and Black communities.
Many Black leaders advocated the jobs should go exclusively to African American touching off a response by Latinos. This brought forth many loud voices –Xavier’s voice was one of the loudest. When he was nominated to be a Fire Department commissioner black representatives and leaders spoke out against it and blocked his appointment.
On the advent of Proposition 187 (1994) Hermosillo, a Republican, spoke out in defense of the immigrant community attacking the Republican party giving way to hyperbole saying Latinos are “going to take back California house by house, block by block,” admonishing non-Latinos to “wake up and smell the refried beans.”
Hermosillo later added, “We are being used as scapegoats. The 41% of the county’s population that is Latino is not leaving. Those racists and xenophobes and even those who are genuinely frustrated about illegal immigration should not look to some Utopian removal of Latinos as the answer, but rather they should wake up and smell the refried beans, because we are here, we belong here, and we are here to stay–and they are just going to have to deal with it.”
Taken at face value, I would have agreed with Hermosillo. However, many overlooked Xavier’s other statements that were angering African American leaders. Hyperbole is the engine of rebellion, Xavier went too far, using the pejorative word mayate (the Spanish term for a black insect) to describe African Americans.
Hermosillo and his supporters took the approach that Latinos deserved it more than Black Americans. First, it was in error to make the Black community the norm. The standard should always be the majority society that despite the fact that they are the minority controls middle class priveleges. In the process Hermosillo pitted Brown against Black.
Judging from Xavier’s behavior today, he has not learned his lesson. He is back in the fold of the Republican Party and is part of a cabal of right wing kooks who have never smelled the refried beans. His wanting to be white blinds him to the dimensions of xenophobia and racism within the Republican Party and Blue Dog Democrats.
It is a mistake to measure Latino progress with Black Americans. Since 1990 the Black Community because of redlining, discrimination, and police violence has fled the city and it has lost a large part of its middle class.
The results are disastrous and they have irreparably harmed Latinos. The truth be told, many black leaders supported us: they were leading voices against police brutality and racism. Increasingly larger numbers were becoming sensitive to the Immigration Question.
At California State University the Department of Chicana/o Studies owes a great debt to African Americans. However, their numbers have fallen and today they are only 3.8 percent of the student body. We miss their energy in fighting issues such as impaction and the privatization of the university.
As a result, we are today more vulnerable to racist onslaughts. We have always had a common history with Black Americans. Unfortunately we have too many Xavier Hermosillos pretending to speak for the community and are stuck in a stage of infantile disorder that has left us alone in the struggle.
Not my hero but the Ben Franklin quote “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately” applies to our relations with other minorities and we should kind in mind “Words and actions should help to unite, and not divide, the people of our various nationalities.”