Things That Matter

Texas Lawmaker Cesar de Leon Has Resigned After Being Recorded Using The N-Word

Cesar de Leon, a city official from Brownsville, Texas, recently sparked a scandal after being caught on tape using racial slurs. Despite calls for his resignation, de Leon says he will remain in his post.

Roughly two weeks ago, an audio recording was leaked featuring Brownsville City Commissioner Cesar de Leon saying the N-word. While the N-word is the most offensive thing that is said on the recording, the entire clip is really disturbing.

The Brownsville Herald reports that de Leon was talking about two black district attorneys who worked for the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office.

“There are a couple of [F-word and N-word] that Luis Saenz is getting, and I don’t know where he is getting them from,” de Leon says in the recording. “They are coming down to my [F-word] city and now they are trying to [F-word] put everybody in jail because they think we are a bunch of Mexicans that hit our wives, which couldn’t be further from the [F-word] truth, but that is how they see us.”

WARNING: Profanity And Strong Language

News Revolt / YouTube

That recording, which was shared on social media, forced Brownsville District Attorney Luis Saenz to comment on de Leon, who works in his office.

“The people of Cameron County expect me to hire the most competent prosecutors that I can find, without regard to their race, and that is what I strive to do. Mr. de Leon’s remarks are very shameful and hurtful,” Saenz said, according to The Brownsville Herald. “It is extremely disappointing that they are made by a lawyer and a representative of the City of Brownsville.”

De Leon did apologize, somewhat, for what he said. He didn’t, however, apologize for actually saying the N-word, only that he the general public had to hear it.

I want to begin by apologizing,” de Leon said in a statement to The Brownsville Herald. “I want to apologize to the citizens of Brownsville or whoever had to listen to those tapes because there is a lot of profane language and that was a private conversation. It was never meant to be public, but it’s very important that people understand that I’m very apologetic.”

Many lawmakers in the city have expressed they want de Leon to resign.

Saenz told NBC affiliate KVEO, “His remarks stand for themselves, speak for themselves. They are racist today, they were racist yesterday, and will be racist tomorrow.”

Veronica Sanders, a Brownsville assistant district attorney that de Leon was referring to in the recording said, according to NBC: “He is not a representation of what Brownsville is or how Brownsville thinks. When you have a person who steps out and says something like that I think it’s time for you to step down.”

On Tuesday night, de Leon addressed the City of Brownsville in a public meeting and said that while he did something terrible, he will not give up his seat.

BPL Social Media / YouTube

“I made a terrible mistake, but please believe, I still stand against injustice, unfair, and unlawful treatment of any American regardless of race, religion, age or social standing. I will not stop honoring my commitment to the people of Brownsville, nor will I back down in my fight for our great community.”

According to the Brownsville Herald, the people that were in the commission chambers – mostly made up of residents of Brownsville – applauded de Leon when he was done speaking.

Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez released a statement when the recording came out saying that de Leon’s hate speech “violates the character of our city.”

“The opinions expressed on the audio recordings do not in any way represent the beliefs or policies of the City of Brownsville or its residents. As Mayor of the great City of Brownsville, I denounce the use of racist language or behaviors. We must not allow these comments to detract from the progress that our residents, city staff and City Commission have made to establish Brownsville as an inclusive, welcoming community that values diversity.”

UPDATE: 

On Friday, October 6, Cesar de Leon submitted a letter of resignation, citing conflicts of interest as his reason for stepping down. “There’s a conflict of interest that has risen between my profession and the commission. Because I’m a practicing attorney conflicts could arise because of the city,” said de Leon to the Brownsville Herald.

READ: Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks SB4 In Texas, But The Fight Is Not Over

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Prince Harry Says Being Married to Meghan Markle Taught Him About Unconscious Bias: ‘I Had No Idea it Existed’

Things That Matter

Prince Harry Says Being Married to Meghan Markle Taught Him About Unconscious Bias: ‘I Had No Idea it Existed’

Photo by Rosa Woods – Pool/Getty Images

Prince Harry continues to shed his upper crust image by tackling important social issues head-on. On Monday, the Duke of Sussex sat down with UK Black Lives Matter activist Patrick Hutchinson for a conversation with GQ. In the conversation, Prince Harry admitted that he “had no idea” unconscious bias existed before he experienced it firsthand through the treatment of his wife, Meghan Markle.

The GQ conversation focused on hot-button topics like structural racism, unconscious bias, and the responsibility of white people to educate themselves on the aforementioned topics.

Prince Harry started the conversation of by commending Hutchinson for his activist worth and adding that there’s still “lots of work to do” when it comes to dismantling racism worldwide. The conversation turned personal when the two began to discuss unconscious bias, with Hutchinson broaching the subject.

“There are a lot of people who either don’t think that [racism] exists or they don’t want change and they’re fighting against it. And I don’t know what these people are afraid of,” said Hutchinson.

Prince Harry became personal, revealing that his background as the literal Prince of England had made him ignorant to the widespread nature of racism before.

“Unconscious bias… having the upbringing and the education that I had, I had no idea what it was. I had no idea it existed.” He then admitted: “Sad as it is to say, it took me many, many years to realize it [existed], especially then living a day or a week in my wife [Meghan]’s shoes.”

Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle started dating in 2016, Markle has been on the receiving end of vicious media attacks–many of them fueled by racism.

At the time, Prince Harry condemned the British press for their treatment of Markle. He released a statement decrying the “racial undertones of comment pieces” and the “outright sexism and racism of social media trolls” that Markle has to deal with. Recently, Meghan spoke about the hate her and Harry receive for being in an interracial marriage.

Prince Harry described unconscious bias to Hutchinson as largely beyond people’s control, but worth addressing once you’re aware of it. “No one’s blaming anybody,” Prince Harry said.

“You can’t really point fingers, especially when it comes to unconscious bias. But once you realize or you feel a little bit uncomfortable, then the onus is on you to go out and educate yourself, because ignorance is no longer an excuse.”

Both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been on the receiving end of criticism for their vocal support of the Black Lives Matter movement and their video campaigns urging people to vote in the upcoming election.

About dismantling structural racism, Prince Harry said, “It’s going to take every single one of us to really change things and anyone that’s pushing against it really needs to take a long, hard look at themselves in the mirror.”

He continued: “This isn’t black versus white…This is a global movement. The train has left the station. If you’re not on it now, then get on it because there’s so much that we can do.”

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Amy Coney Barrett Has Refused To Acknowledge That Systematic Racism Exists

Things That Matter

Amy Coney Barrett Has Refused To Acknowledge That Systematic Racism Exists

Pool / Getty

We know LGBTQ rights, birth control, and race are under threat as Amy Coney Barrett as President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. We know that that conservative judge has been evasive in answering comments about her beliefs which, if appointed, would steer her in making fundamental decisions that could affect American citizens’ lives for decades. Still, though we knew things are bound to go sideways as most things under the Trump administration have, we didn’t realize that an educated woman living in today’s world would refuse to acknowledge a basic societal fact: that “systemic racism” exists in the United States.

In written responses submitted Tuesday night, Barrett repeated her refusal to say whether “systemic racism” exists in our country.

After Sen. Mazie Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii asked her to explain her view of the existence of “systemic racism” in the United States, Barret refused the opportunity to acknowledge its existence.

“At the hearing, you acknowledged that racism persists in our country, but you refused to answer where there is systemic racism, calling it a ‘policy question.’ You also refused to answer other questions based on your view that they are ‘policy questions,’” Hirono wrote in his questions. “What makes a statement a policy question rather than a question of fact?”

“I believe that racism persists in our country, but as I explained at the hearing, whether there is ‘systemic racism’ is a public policy question of substantial controversy, as evidenced by the disagreement among senators on this very question during the hearing,” Barrett replied. “As a sitting judge and judicial nominee, it would be inappropriate for me to offer an opinion on the matter.”

Barrett’s approach to the question is not totally uncommon. Previous Supreme Court nominees have avoided answering questions concerning precedent. Barrett clung to the approach during her confirmation hearing last week while sitting before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Barrett used this as a standard and repeatedly cited it as a reason for dodging questions.

Systemic racism exists within our country without question.

It persists in our academic settings, workplaces, as well as in our court and judicial system. The fact is that when a certain group dominates a majority of positions of decision-making power, others struggle to exist and get by let alone get ahead. For generations and right now, white people have been the dominating group with decision-making power and people of color have suffered as a result. Acknowledgment is a vital part of making this change. Particularly from our leaders.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Barrett’s confirmation on Thursday afternoon.

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