On Monday, an article reached the editorial staff at Being Latino. It appeared on the National Review Online website Monday morning and was written by Jay Nordlinger, the magazine’s award-winning senior editor.
What’s noteworthy about the article — and why someone thought it might be of interest to the editors at Being Latino — jumps out from the third paragraph, when Nordlinger uses a slur against Latinos:
“Truth is, some conservatives lamented that he [Reagan] had indeed ‘grown’ in office. He had gone out of his way to accommodate liberals and moderates, and to accommodate the Kremlin. He was raising taxes, spending like crazy, welcoming wetbacks, pursuing arms control. One common cry from the right was, ‘None of this would be happening if Ronald Reagan were alive.’ “
Clearly, there are other, less offensive words Nordlinger could’ve chosen instead of “wetback” — and some that are more offensive. He’s an experienced writer (and a former speechwriter for George W.), so it’s safe to assume that he used the word “wetback” deliberately, after at least some thought.
Why he chose this word and not others, we may never know for sure. Maybe he thought the word was harmlessly racist, just as most racism in America these days is said to be harmless. So by calling Latinos wetbacks — and be sure he was calling all Latinos wetbacks, because it’s doubtful a man who publicly uses such words is sensitive enough to know the difference between a Mexican and a Honduran, or even care to know the difference — Nordlinger gets to offend an entire minority group while like-minded conservatives defend his verbiage as merely rude for rude’s sake.
“It looks to me like Mr. Nordlinger used the w-word to be ironic,” writes one commenter. “Nothing offensive about it in this instance–and for the record, because I have a feeling that replies to this comment will be loaded with accusations of racism, I am not a racist.”
If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck….
In the end, though, the jokes on Mr. Nordlinger. In this, another one of his attempts at “gibe,” he reveals the clouded thinking shared by the group he calls “we righties.” While he’s calling Latinos “wetbacks,” he’s also pointing out that Ronald Reagan couldn’t get the presidential nomination in today’s Republican Party.
Nordlinger tacks back to the Republican line in the next paragraph by showing us how conservatives remake history to fit their narrative:
“Anyway, that was a long time ago. He is now our Saint Ronald. We have moved on to calling Mitt Romney a marshmallow. No conservative ever said a bad word about Reagan (and all Frenchmen joined the Resistance).”
He ends his short piece by begging Chief Justice Roberts — who seems to be channeling his inner Reagan as of late — to stop growing (Oh yeah, did we mention that the article is titled “Against Growth”?)
We’ll end this piece by telling you how much we Latinos really miss Reagan right about now.