Thursday, January 13, 2005
Which Way for Latinos?: Dr. Galarza v. Alberto Gonzales
Version en espanol: http://www.laopinion.com/print.html?rkey=00050117140603219133
The category "Hispanic" has become common currency to such a degree that my attempt in this article to redefine it in negative terms was lost on some readers who read my piece as actually supporting the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales. The issue was complicated further in the Spanish translation in which "Hispanic" became "hispano," a generic term used by many recent immigrants and one that does not connote the (a)political attitudes I ascribed to "Hispanic."
In my opinion, Gonzales should not have been confirmed. His ascension to the position of Attorney General further demonstrates how the Bush administration has perfected the practice of using token minorities to further a reactionary agenda. Any race or ethnicity-based political agenda will have to confront this development for decades to come.
For Mexican Americans, even those who find reasons to be proud of Gonzales and Lt. General Sanchez, there is the inescapable irony that both men acted as links in the chain of command that led to the torture and abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Guantanamo. Both were "simply" following orders but both were guilty of grave ethical lapses and the betrayal of their professional (legal and military) codes of conduct.