Bud Kennedy, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 2, 2006
ARLINGTON — Race, bigotry, segregation and whether America is a “white country” were topics Friday at a college Republican debate arguing the future of whites and Hispanics in Texas.
When two lecturers finished their race-baiting version of SmackDown, I was wondering: Since when are race and whiteness Republican issues?
Also, how does bringing a white segregationist to the University of Texas at Arlington help promote the College Republicans club?
I’m not surprised that two showboats like Virginia hate-literature vendor Jared Taylor and Arlington La Raza-official-turned-college-prof Jose Angel Gutierrez would jump at the chance to argue before college TV cameras.
I’m simply surprised that Republicans would sponsor it.
The platform of Texas Republicans reads: “Believing all men are created equal, let all be reminded that the Republican Party of Texas is the party of Lincoln that deplores all forms of preferences and discrimination based upon religion, race, color, national origin, gender, age, or physically disabling condition.”
Then why would UTA Republicans sponsor a forum fearing “Hispanicization” — not “illegal immigration” but “Hispanicization” — in a Texas where 7 million Hispanics live legally?
Diana Witherspoon, a marketing junior from Fort Worth, is the club president. She said she was approached by an Indiana man who suggested a debate.
“It’s important to have an open dialogue about how people really feel,” she said Friday before the debate, describing it as an “immigration” event.
But the UTA Republicans’ own announcements described Taylor, editor of a white-activist magazine, euphemistically as a “race relations expert.”
This wasn’t a border debate.
This was a race debate.
Taylor called Hispanics inferior, crime-prone, disease-ridden and disloyal.
Gutierrez defended Hispanics’ equality, saying that Americans of Hispanic descent have won more Medals of Honor per capita than any other demographic group, and that their needs have been neglected by the predominantly Anglo political hierarchy.
Witherspoon said Sunday that she thought the debate was “interesting” and that she agreed to sponsor it mainly because she disagrees with Gutierrez’s political views.
“It’s a travesty that Gutierrez is teaching at our school,” she said.
Gutierrez, a 1960s South Texas activist who co-founded the La Raza Unida Party and helped lead a youth movement for Latino political empowerment, is now a political science professor and a graying lion with a new audience for his speeches about how Anglos “stole” the Southwest from indigenous tribes of both the United States and Mexico.
His oft-quoted line calling for a fight against “gringo” dominance is from 1969. But he still gets a big reaction with lines like the one about how the shifting birth rate among legal Americans will “paint the White House brown.”
He called Taylor — a Yale philosophy grad — a “racist in a suit” and said that when Hispanics marry and raise families, “It’s America.”
Before the speech, Taylor said in an interview that “a Hispanic tsunami” should not be considered inevitable, even though Texas population figures show that border walls and immigration raids would make almost no difference in a state where about 90 percent of Hispanic schoolchildren are legal Texans and Americans.
“To the extent that cultural change can be delayed, the longer the better,” he said in a voice reminiscent of Thurston Howell III of Gilligan’s Island, minus cigarette holder and ascot.
“I think Texas will increasingly resemble Mexico in coming years,” he said. “And what happens if some future Texans decide to quit celebrating the Fourth of July?”
That wouldn’t be anything new. We already have Confederate heritage groups that don’t celebrate the Fourth of July or even say the Pledge of Allegiance.
Witherspoon said the idea for this bigoted farce of a debate came by e-mail from a Lafayette, Ind., man.
Brian Boothe, 28, sent the e-mail. In a phone interview, he said he writes to colleges and radio talk shows suggesting debates over race or religion to “bring out extremes.”
He sent enough e-mails to convince the UTA College Republicans to host the forum after successfully lining up an earlier debate between Gutierrez and author David Horowitz on radio’s Sean Hannity Show.
Boothe said he wanted “a forum where white people can discuss race” because he ultimately wants all races and cultural groups to disband and “all be Americans.”
Goodbye, St. Patrick’s Day and Oktoberfest.
If you missed this poisonous little pairing at UTA, it’s coming soon to a computer near you. Witherspoon said she has donated a copy of the debate video to Taylor to be posted on his Web site.
Or maybe projected on a white sheet.