Without engaging the cerebral cortex.
So advice columnist Margo Howard (daughter of the late advice columnist Ann Landers) tweeted her confusion about why Telemundo Chicago was covering and tweeting about the Blagojevich trial:
Not sure why Telemundo cares. Their soap operas off?
To which State Representative Deb Mell (sister-in-law to Rod) replied:
Wow that is so racist
An NBC news producer responded:
@Telemundochgo crews covering #Blagojevich each day
So Howard responded:
I knew that from the 1st trial, which I covered. Wondered why then
But never spent a few seconds to find out. More:
Not racist at all, & not meant to be. Y would People in Mexico care? & they ARE known for their shows.
Well, I’d guess most people don’t mean to be racist. But we still manage on a regular basis even without any intention whatsoever. Or so we say. But I digress.
What’s racist here? Is it what she actually said?
In my opinion, the racism shown in this set of tweets is more about not having to take notice of another group of people at all. And obviously knowing nothing about what is going on. Yet still coming from a place of privilege. She probably came from the recent Splainer Convention. (Which is the longest, largest damn convention in the history of the universe.)
It seems pretty obvious that Howard isn’t really reading @telemundochgo’s tweets. Because if she did, she’d realize it is a Chicago news station in Spanish. And here’s the blip from Telemundo’s twitter site:
¡Hola Amigos! Telemundo is a U.S. Spanish-language television network. It is the essential entertainment and news source for Hispanics. Gracias por seguirnos.
It’s in English, so Howard should have been able to read it. Did she? Nobody knows. But quite obviously she equated a Spanish-language station with Mexico. Not even considering the millions of people in the United States who speak Spanish. It’s probably our second language.
Journalist Alba Mendiola (who won an Emmy for best reporter in 2004) kindly updated her:
Dear Margo, Thanks for reading my tweets. Telemundo is an American television network that broadcasts in Spanish.
our local station has been covering local news in Chicago since 1985. Myself, 10 years. big Hispanic audience.
Howard acknowledges she did not know this. But then she feels the need to add the following:
Talk about much ado about nada. From not knowing that @TelemundoChgo broadcasts to the US to being branded a racist is quite a leap.
How long would it have taken her to find out Telemundo broadcasts in the U.S. (not “to the US”)? Five seconds. That is, if she wanted to know, or felt she needed to know, or if she were even aware that she did not know.
Interestingly, she uses the word “nada” in her lastest tweet. It’s an example of what Jane Hill refers to as “Mock Spanish” (“The Everyday Language of White Racism,” 2008):
Mock Spanish works to create a particular kind of “American” identity, a desirable colloquial persona that is informal and easy going, with an all-important sense of humor and a hint — not too much, but just the right non-threatening amount — of cosmopolitanism, acquaintance with another language and culture. At the same time that Mock Spanish helps to constitute this identity, it assigns Spanish and its speakers to a zone of foreignness and disorder, richly fleshed out with denigrating stereotypes. (pp. 128-129)
That is, Spanish speakers = Mexicans in Mexico. Foreigners.
Oh, and here’s one little more tidbit:
11 women on #blagojevich jury & 1 man. He must B suicidal by now.
But some of her best friends are women. And Spanish speakers. Hasta la vista, baby!