Tom Brokaw’s Comments on Hispanics: Racist or Elitist?
One of my friends recently asked me how I felt about the recent comments made by veteran journalist and television anchor Tom Brokaw about Hispanic immigrants.
In essence, Tom Brokaw said the Hispanic community needs to do a better job of assimilating into American culture, learn English and not cluster in minority communities, instead fully integrating into mainstream society.
My friend asked me if I thought that Tom Brokaw’s comments were racist or just elitist and my response was racist.
He, on the other hand, thought the comments only represented an elitist view and not a racist one.
In hindsight, his view that Tom Brokaw’s comments represented elitism is correct.
But, in my humble opinion, those elitist views are based in racism, which states that the White race is better, English is the only language on the planet, or at least in America, and that White culture should be something that all minorities desire to be a part of.
Tom Brokaw said, “A lot of this we don’t want to talk about but the fact is on the Republican side, a lot of people see the rise of an extraordinary important new constituency in American politics—Hispanics, who will come here and all be Democrats.
“I hear when I push a little harder, ‘I don’t know whether I want brown grandbabies.’ That’s also a part of it. It’s the intermarriage that’s going on and the cultures that are conflicting with each other.”
About the need for Hispanics to assimilate more into American culture Tom Brokaw said, “That’s one of the things that I’ve been saying for a long time, you know, that they ought not to be just codified in their communities but make sure that all of their kids are learning to speak English and that they feel comfortable in the communities. And that’s going to take outreach on both sides, frankly.”
PBS correspondent Yamiche Alcindor immediately took Tom Brokaw to task for his comments.
Alcindor said, “I would just say that we also need to adjust what we think of as America. You’re talking about assimilation. I grew up in Miami, where people speak Spanish, but their kids speak English. And the idea that we think Americans only speak English, as if Spanish and other languages wasn’t always part of America, is, in some ways, troubling.”
Do I think Tom Brokaw is a racist?
Do I think Tom Brokaw said something that is racist and based in White supremacy?
He said that Hispanics should not codify in their own communities as if White people do not do the same thing when their neighborhoods become diverse.
Many White Americans want to codify in their own communities as well.
It’s called White flight.
But many in the dominant culture do not see what they do as troubling.
Many only find it troubling when people of color do the same thing as people in the dominant culture.
As a result, I think many in the White community have to understand that they can hold views in line with White supremacy and not hate minorities.
If a person thinks White is right and Blacks (and other minorities) need to stay back then their views are based in White supremacy, which is obviously the definition of racism.
Throughout the administration of former President Barack Obama, I constantly heard people who happened to be White talk about taking “their country” back.
On a side note, I have always found it funny that some people believe that America is only “their country” when it is to the benefit of the White community.
However, when it is time for war, America all of sudden becomes “our country” and Black people like Muhammad Ali, who refused induction into the armed service during the Vietnam War, should put his life on the line for “his country.”
If America is truly Black and brown people’s country, why would anyone want to take it back from them?
But I digress.
Over the years, I have heard from many of my White childhood friends who say that some of their White peers fear the racial changes happening in America and see their power and privilege slipping from their grasp.
While no one is saying that those people are racist or that they hate racial minorities, their views are the typical views of those who subscribe to the ideology of White supremacy.
In their minds, Whites have to control everything.
And everyone else has to try their hardest to look and act like White people, or they are the problem and are in the wrong for not assimilating into White culture.
Unfortunately, many African-American women in corporate America deal with forced assimilation in the workplace, which is actually the epitome of discrimination.
In the field of journalism, many African-American female reporters and anchors are forced to wear wigs or chemically straightened their hair because natural Black hair is somehow seen as unprofessional to their White bosses.
That is basically saying that your natural hair, the way God grows it out of your scalp, is not good enough and has to be changed to look more White because White hair is more professional and more acceptable.
If people do not see the discrimination in that something is wrong with them.
Will brown skin somehow be deemed unprofessional, therefore forcing people of color to bleach their skin like baseball legend Sammy Sosa and rapper Lil Kim?
What bosses are saying to African-American women, and men to a lesser degree, is that if it is not White it is not all right.
That is basically the same thing that Tom Brokaw said about the Hispanic culture.
If you are not letting go of everything that makes you the person that you are and you are not trying like hell to be like the dominant culture, you are truly not American because Americans are White, either in color, culture or behavior.
Those who believe that Whites have to dominate American society subscribe to White supremacy in many respects.
No one is calling them a White supremacist or White nationalist who are out making fools of themselves carrying tiki torches in Charlottesville, Va.
But they want the same thing that those White supremacists want.
They just do not use violence to achieve their goals.
They use the ballot box instead.