Another Republican is causing trouble with the Hispanic outreach program. Don Young, Alaska's lone House member, used the term "wetback" in a radio interview.
Rep. Don Young, who used the term “wetbacks” to describe Mexican immigrants in a radio interview Thursday night, issued a full-scale apology this afternoon for using the derogatory slur after a barrage of criticism from Republicans and Democrats.
“I apologize for the insensitive term I used during an interview in Ketchikan, Alaska,” Young, R-Alaska, wrote in his second statement of the past 24 hours. “There was no malice in my heart or intent to offend; it was a poor choice of words.”Young is, predictably, the face of the Republican Party this week despite the fact that (1) he is the sort of big-spending, non-evangelical moderate that we're supposed to elect more of and (2) most Republicans outside the Land of the Midnight Sun can't stand him. Sarah Palin even supported an effort to primary Young back in 2008! (and is there any doubt that Young would be the first House Republican to sign on to "comprehensive immigration reform?") None of this matters, of course. As long as Young is insulting Hispanics, he is Mr. Republican, Mr. Tea Party & Mr. Conservative.
But, who is being hurt by Young's slur? Nobody. Sticks and stones, and all that (plus, Ike had some kind of guest worker program back in the good old days called "Operation Wetback," so at some point the term was socially acceptable).
On the other hand, imagine all of the casualties from the latest scandal out of urban America: a conspiracy directed by the superintendent of the Atlanta School District to raise test scores by literally changing kids' answers on standardized tests:
In the two and a half years since, the state’s investigation reached from Ms. Parks’s third-grade classroom all the way to the district superintendent at the time, Beverly L. Hall, who was one of 35 Atlanta educators indicted Friday by a Fulton County grand jury.
Dr. Hall, who retired in 2011, was charged with racketeering, theft, influencing witnesses, conspiracy and making false statements. Prosecutors recommended a $7.5 million bond for her; she could face up to 45 years in prison.
During the decade she led the district of 52,000 children, many of them poor and African-American, Atlanta students often outperformed wealthier suburban districts on state tests.
Those test scores brought her fame — in 2009, the American Association of School Administrators named her superintendent of the year and Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, hosted her at the White House.
And fortune — she earned more than $500,000 in performance bonuses while superintendent.
On Friday, prosecutors essentially said it really was too good to be true. Dr. Hall and the 34 teachers, principals and administrators “conspired to either cheat, conceal cheating or retaliate against whistle-blowers in an effort to bolster C.R.C.T. scores for the benefit of financial rewards associated with high test scores,” the indictment said, referring to the state’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Test.
Reached late Friday, Richard Deane, Dr. Hall’s lawyer, said they were digesting the indictment and making arrangements for bond. “We’re pretty busy,” he said.
Am I stepping out of bounds in assuming that Dr. Hall and her confederates are liberal black women? Probably not, as Hall was feted at the White House in 2009.
(apropos of nothing, have you heard about the arrest of Elba Gordillo, presidente' for life of the Mexican teachers union? She's accused of stealing $200 million from the union with Neiman Marcus providing crucial evidence of multi-million dollar shopping sprees. For the Children, of course.)
That African-American kids are cruelly trapped in failing schools is beyond dispute. Also beyond dispute is that those failing schools are not educational institutions, but are little more than jobs programs and money pits. And the cheating is national, and systemic with similar scandals brewing in El Paso and Ohio.
Yet, somehow, Don Young is a Big Problem for Republicans, perpetually flat-footed in their effort to make in-roads into minority communities; while Dr. Hall is part of some crazy "local" scandal and everyone else involved in urban public education is great because they care so much for The Children (and vote Democrat).
Reality is that Don Young is a cheesy semi-corrupt octogenarian pol with virtually no voice in his party outside of Alaska. Reality is that Democrats, the Party of Education, have had one-party rule over urban school districts for decades and destroyed them, stunting the development of god-knows how many millions of minority kids. And, apparently, it's enough to hold up the obscure likes of Don Young as representing the tip of the spear of some sort of unspeakable GOP Jim Crow for Democrats to retain their death-grip on the votes of minorities. (those who show up at the polls at least. Urban precincts are notorious for the fraudulence of their electoral returns).
Instead of convening seminars and writing op-eds in the Wall Street Journal, Republicans eager to court black or Hispanic voters should show up at these sh*** schools and help lead a revolt by those parents who care enough about their kids to change this noxious reality.