Perez: Potty-Mouthed Politics
On Nov. 3, the pro-Latino and pro-immigration PAC Deport Racism published its first video on YouTube. For a bizarre two minutes, the political ad features Latino children hurling profanity at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. A boy who introduces himself as Ricardo accuses Republican candidates of using “offensive words,” and then goes on to offer some of his own. Flipping the bird at the camera, the boy calls Trump “a racist f--k.” His counterpart Rosa quickly follows up, calling the 2016 contender “a racist d--k.”
Unsurprisingly, the video has also been called many things. GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) described the attack ad and its producers as “disgusting.” Trump weighed in during an interview with Fox Business, calling the video “a disgrace.”
The ad’s producer, Luke Montgomery, came to its defense amidst the criticism. In a Nov. 5 interview with TheWrap, the Democratic activist asserted that his video is simply “fighting fire with fire.” Unfortunately, Montgomery is sorely mistaken. Deport Racism’s attack ad marks an all-time low in the realm of political campaigns. Using foul-mouthed children for political expediency is not legitimate activism. Worst of all, the attack ad reveals a glaring misunderstanding of the Latino population in the United States. It is an embarrassment not only to the organization, but also to the roughly 54 million Latinos who call the U.S. their home.
Deport Racism claims to represent a broad coalition of groups committed to social justice. The PAC describes itself as “a movement of Latinos, immigrants and social progressives of all origins committed to fighting for equality and holding candidates accountable in the 2016 race for the White House.” Its leaders, however, have overstepped their bounds in claiming to speak for Latinos across the country. Latino voters are not a monolithic bloc in terms of ideology or experience. A Sept. 9 article from The Hill describes the phenomenon, “There are West Coast Hispanics and East Coast; Hispanics, Hispanics from Central America and Hispanics from South America and the Caribbean.” Yet, Deport Racism’s attack ad distorts such a reality. Instead, the PAC promotes divisiveness, pigeonholing Latinos into trite stereotypes to advance its agenda.
Recent election results have discredited Deport Racism’s inflammatory rhetoric. As reported in the New York Times on Nov. 5, 2014, the conservative Republican Cory Gardner defeated the incumbent Democrat Mark Udall for a Senate seat last year in Colorado — where Latinos comprise 21 percent of the state’s population. The GOP also witnessed the re-election of two Hispanic Republican governors in 2014. Governor Susana Martinez secured re-election in New Mexico. In Nevada, Governor Brian Sandoval won his re-election bid by a landslide. Sandoval received 71 percent of the vote in a state where Latinos constitute over 25 percent of the population. A similar scenario played out in Texas, where Latinos are the second-largest portion of the electorate. Republican Greg Abbott trounced Democrat Wendy Davis in the 2014 gubernatorial election, receiving 44 percent of the Hispanic vote along the way. Each of these cases leaves the bottom line clear — Latino support for Democratic candidates cannot be assumed, as Deport Racism would have us believe.
I watched the attack ad several times, and as a Latina, I found it to be nothing short of appalling. Not only does it severely misrepresent the Latino community in the U.S. for political gain, it also exploits children in doing so. Having grown up in a Cuban household, I can attest to the fact that my mouth would have been promptly washed out with soap or Tabasco sauce if I had used any of the profanities featured in the video. Pathetically, Deport Racism relies on such shock value to garner interest and reel in donation dollars. It couches its rhetoric in expletives without contributing anything of substance. Deport Racism and organizations like it should not be tolerated or taken seriously. A group that hides behind potty-mouthed children to make its point does not deserve a single second of voters’ attention, much less two minutes.