Things That Matter

Latino Politicians Sound Off Over Tom Brokaw Saying Latinos Need To Be Better At Assimilating In The US

@Civilized_Life / Twitter

The Latino community has been in the headlines regularly since President Trump began his campaign in 2015. Our community is often referenced when people talk about the economy, undocumented immigrants, or the latest tweets from the president himself.

However, whatever the topic is, non-Latinos who are voicing an opinion about the subject should at least understand Latinos thoroughly. The internet is a savage place and things have a tendacy to go viral fast. That is the case for journalist Tom Brokaw who made sweeping generalizations that angered Latinos on this week’s “Meet the Press.”

On Jan. 27, famed journalist, Tom Brokaw, said on national TV that Latinos should “work harder” at assimilation while living in the U.S.

Brokaw, an NBC News special correspondent and former “Nightly News” anchor who’s won countless awards for his work as a journalist, said during “Meet the Press” that he’s been saying for a long time that Latinos should work harder at incorporating themselves into the U.S. especially by speaking English rather than Spanish.

“I also happen to believe that the Hispanics should work harder at assimilation,” the 78-year-old said on the program. “That’s one of the things I’ve been saying for a long time, that they ought not to be just codified in their communities but make sure that all their kids are learning to speak English and that they feel comfortable in the communities.”

Haitian-American journalist and White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour, Yamiche Alcindor, appeared on the same segment along with Brokaw and countered his comments by saying he needs to rethink what the U.S. is today.

“We also need to adjust what we think of as America,” Alcindor said. “You’re talking about assimilation. I grew up in Miami, where people speak Spanish, but their kids speak English. And the idea that we think Americans can only speak English as if Spanish and other languages wasn’t always part of America, is, in some ways, troubling.”

Brokaw went even further and described Latino children as “brown grandbabies” and said that Republicans are against “intermarriage” meaning bi-racial relationships.

“A lot of this we don’t want to talk about but the fact is on the Republican side, a lot of people see the rise of an extraordinarily important new constituency in American politics — Hispanics, who will come here and all be Democrats,” Brokaw said. “I hear when I push people a little harder, ‘I don’t know whether I want brown grandbabies.’ That’s also a part of it. It’s the intermarriage that’s going on and the cultures that are conflicting with each other.”

Social media — in particular, Latinos on Twitter such as Joaquin Castro‏ — shot back at Brokaw over his comments.

Joaquin, whose twin brother of Julian Castro who is running for president in 2020, said Brokaw’s comments are xenophobic.

CNN journalist Jim Acosta poked fun at Brokaw for his candid opinion.

It seems Brokaw, who should know facts, never read the Pew Research article that stated that “Latinos increasingly become English dominant by the second generation” and that “by the third generation or higher, Latinos are 75 percent English dominant and 24 percent are bilingual.”

Brokaw is getting schooled on what Latinos in the U.S. are all about.

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) went further to denounce Brokaw’s comments saying his assertion that “the U.S. is not the melting pot that the country prides itself on being, is disinformation as the U.S. has always had immigrants and a mixture of races, religious beliefs, and languages in its history. It is these values in fact that makes the country fascinating and has spread the ‘American Dream.'”

“Assimilation is denying one culture for the other,” said Hugo Balta, NAHJ president and Senior Producer at MSNBC (NBC’s cable news network) in a statement. “Hispanics are no less American for embracing their country of origin or that of their ancestors…being bicultural and bilingual is a strength in an increasingly multi-ethnic, multilingual society.”

The Brokaw tried to apologize on Twitter but his apology didn’t help matters.

In a series of tweets, Brokaw’s apology came off as insincere.

“I feel terrible a part of my comments on Hispanics offended some members of that proud culture,” Brokaw tweeted, to which many Latinos found as passive aggressive. He later tweeted: “My twitter acct failed me at the worst time. I am sorry, truly sorry, my comments were offensive to many. the great enduring American tradition of diversity is to be celebrated and cherished. Yamiche, thank u for your comments. let’s go forward together.”

He finished off his bizarre apology by tweeting: “it worked!Ii got your attention. ‘night”


READ: Here’s How The Editor Of The New York Times Crossword Puzzle Tried To Excuse The Use Of The Word ‘Beaner’

Do you find his comments offensive? Let us know by sharing this story and commenting below!

Colombia Is On Alert After Six Candidates Running For Mayor Have Been Murdered In The Past Six Weeks

Things That Matter

Colombia Is On Alert After Six Candidates Running For Mayor Have Been Murdered In The Past Six Weeks

Stern / Instagram

Yesterday saw police in Colombia arrest two people in connection to the death of Orley García, the mayoral candidate for the municipality of Toledo. But the wildest thing is that García isn’t the first mayoral candidate to have been killed this election cycle in Colombia. In fact, he’s actually the sixth

The most heartbreaking death was that of Karina García.

Pinterest / The Guardian

The 32-year-old was running to be the first female mayor in the rural municipality of Toledo when she was attacked. Following a day of campaigning on September 1, García was returning to her hometown of Suarez when the car she was traveling in was shot at, before being set on fire. Six people died from the attack, including García’s mother, three local activists and a candidate for the municipal council, who were also in the car at the time. According to authorities, a grenade was used in the attack. Somehow, though, García’s bodyguard, who was driving the vehicle, survived.

Before she was killed, Karina reported receiving threats and asked for security.

Twitter / @JZulver

A reward of almost $44,000 has been offered for information leading to the capture of the dissidents who were responsible for the murder of Karina García, who is survived by her husband and three year old son. It seems like a case of too little, too late, though, as García had already reported to authorities that she was on the receiving end of death threats. It was only in August that four armed men confronted members of her campaign, ordering them to take down banners and posters supporting her candidacy. García took to social media, calling on authorities to protect her and her fellow candidates against harm. “Please, for God’s sake, don’t act so irresponsibly,” she said in a video posted to Facebook on August 24. “This can bring fatal consequences for me.”

Authorities are blaming the killings on FARC rebels.

Instagram / @stern

And just who are FARC? The Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, on the most fundamental level, are a guerilla movement that began in 1964. Motivated by Marxist-Leninist leanings, on paper they’re a peasant force that promotes anti-imperialism. However, what this means in practice is that they kidnap, ransom, drug run and extort their way into opposing Colombian authorities and consolidating power. By the time 2016 rolled around though, the group was running out of steam. This led to a ceasefire accord between FARC and the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos. June 2017 saw FARC hand over its weapons to the United Nations.

Yes, FARC legitimized itself legally but several dissidents disagree with that decision.

Instagram / @leperejulot

Obviously, that’s not the end of the story. Despite the peace deal, and despite the fact that FARC had officially announced its transformation into a legal, political party, there are still plenty of dissidents out there who disagree with the change and still operate under the original FARC doctrine. What’s most likely sparked the recent mayoral candidate killings is FARC’s announcement, on Youtube no less, that it’s resorting to violence due to the Colombian government’s failure to comply with the peace agreements from 2016. Of course, Colombian officials heartily disagreed with this statement, and responded with offensive strikes against FARC.

This has basically turned into tic for tac killing.

Twitter / @Citytv

And the repercussions of the violence and killings are far-reaching. Beyond the devastated friends and family left behind, this also spells trouble for the democratic process in Colombia. Because who’s going to risk running for office, if they’re risking not only their own life, but the lives of their friends, family and coworkers? And who’s going to even consider turning up to vote, when the candidates themselves are being murdered, left, right, and center? It’s hard to conceive of cultural and legislative change in a country where part of what needs to be changed is what’s preventing change in the first place.

The other thing to keep in mind is that this is the exact kind of violence that people are fleeing when they arrive at the US border and make an appeal for asylum.

Instagram / @every_day_donald_trump

It’s a legitimate fear: the operation of gangs and cartels negatively impacts on the safety of the citizenry, as well as influencing the way that the entire country can be governed. However, because US legislation under the Trump administration states that asylum seekers cannot be granted refuge against gang violence, it means that these people have no choice but to go back to their country of origin and continue to risk theirs and their family’s lives. Something’s gotta give – otherwise, we’re going to see a lot more deaths at the hands of these gangs.

At this stage, we can only keep our eyes peeled for more news coming out from Colombia, as the elections are to be held October 27, across almost 1,100 municipalities. Unfortunately, with the murder of the sixth mayoral candidate in Colombia, this marks an even more violent election season than that of 2015, which saw the deaths of five mayoral candidates.

Here’s What Happened When Alyssa Milano Live-Streamed Her Gun Reform Discussion With Ted Cruz

Things That Matter

Here’s What Happened When Alyssa Milano Live-Streamed Her Gun Reform Discussion With Ted Cruz

milano_alyssa / Instagram

Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano has long been using her platform to creatively advocate for political change in America. In the past, she’s even called on women to partake in a sex strike in response to the onslaught of abortion ban bills that swept the nation. More recently, she’s taken to calling out the elected officials whose careers are most benefitted by the National Rifle Association (NRA). The Congressperson who received the highest donation from the NRA and other gun-rights organizations is none other than Texas Republican Ted Cruz. 

The two have been spitting fire at each other via Twitter for the last few weeks. All of it culminated in an actual, real-live, live-streamed meeting between the two Tuesday morning. Why was it live-streamed? Because Milano wanted to make sure “the American people can hear your bullshit 1st hand.”

Alyssa Milano told Ted Cruz that part of the reason she wanted to meet was to make sure he was a human being. Literally.

Credit: @BIZPACReview / Twitter

“That is why this meeting was so important to me,” she told him during the live stream. “I wanted to look at you in the eye and know that you really are a human with a heartbeat.” Ted Cruz started the meeting by telling Milano that he was a fan of “Who’s the Boss?” and “Commando,” while Milano started by letting Cruz know his politics on gun control “has made you almost like this caricature of a villain.”

The two talked for more than an hour on gun control, with Milano beginning the conversation by imploring, “I’m asking you, begging you, to have the courage to lead.” In the room was also Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was murdered during the Parkland shooting. 

Cruz didn’t make any revolutionary statements throughout the meeting, arguing that merely having a civil discussion is a triumph.

Credit: @SenTedCruz / Twitter

“This is a divided time. This is an angry time. … I think it is beneficial for is to have a human conversation,” Cruz said. “I also hope that just seeing people on different places on the spectrum, treating people with civility and humanity, that is contagious.” Instead of agreeing to introduce or urge the Senate to discuss new gun control laws, Cruz instead wanted to “focus on policies that would really stop these crimes.” Cruz claims to be leading the charge on preventing mass shootings in America by proposing harsher prosecutions of gun cases and making background checks more “accurate.”

Cruz and Milano agreed to meet last week, after tweeting jabs at each other over their stances on gun control.

Credit: @Alyssa_Milano / Twitter

We hear that a lot, right? The “God-given right” to own guns in America. Cruz decided to respond to Milano, tweeting, “it is of course not the right to a modern-day firearm that is God-given but rather the right to Life & the right to Liberty. Essential to that right is the right to DEFEND your life & your family.”

Cruz gave a lengthy (for Twitter) response to Milano:

Credit: @tedcruz / Twitter

He went on to say, “The right to self-defense is recognized repeatedly in the Bible, eg Exodus 22:2: ‘If a thief is caught breaking in at night & is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed.’ (Note, though, verse 3 says it IS murder if during daylight (ie, not self-defense). The Declaration of Independence acknowledges our rights thusly: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” And, for that reason, the Second Amendment provides “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, SHALL NOT be infringed.” It wasn’t to protect people’s ability to hunt, or to shoot target practice, but to defend their lives, their homes & their families. Stephen Willeford exercised that fundamental right when he risked his own life to stop the Sutherland Springs murderer, saving countless others as a result.” 

Just like that, the meeting was born in resentment and frustration but seemed to end in civil resentment and frustration.

Credit: @Alyssa_Milano / Twitter

After the meeting, Milano tweeted, “He was gracious. I’m unsure if it changes anything. But appreciative for the opportunity to bridge the divide with civil, meaningful discussion.” Cruz described the meeting as “productive and respectful.” Basically, nothing noteworthy really happened except for that Alyssa Milano gave Ted Cruz a hug. What is noteworthy is that civil discourse cannot sway the NRA-lined pockets of Ted Cruz.

READ: Ted Cruz’s Legal Team Believes That His Fight For $10,000 Is The Same As Rosa Parks’s Fight For Civil Rights