Across America, Latino Community Sighs With Relief

Daisy Hernandez, National Public Radio, January 12, 2011

I wasn’t the only person on Saturday who rushed to her Android when news came of the Tucson shooting. I wasn’t looking however to read about what had happened. My auntie had already filled me in–“Someone tried to murder una representante. People have been killed,” she’d reported. What I wanted to know was the killer’s surname.

{snip}

It’s safe to say there was a collective sigh of brown relief when the Tucson killer turned out to be a gringo. Had the shooter been Latino, media pundits wouldn’t be discussing the impact of nasty politics on a young man this week–they’d be demanding an even more stringent anti-immigrant policy. The new members of the House would be stepping over each other to propose new legislation for more guns on the border, more mothers to be deported, and more employers to be penalized for hiring brown people. {snip}

In short, the only reason the nation is taking a few days to reflect on the animosity in politics today is precisely that the shooter was not Latino.

It’s painfully ironic that a gay Latino man came to the aid of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the storm of gunfire. Daniel Hernandez [no relation], an intern with the congresswoman, ran to Rep. Giffords and helped to stop the bleeding. If a judge hadn’t blocked provisions of Arizona’s SB 1070 law, the intern’s surname would have easily qualified him as a target for police under different circumstances on Saturday. {snip}

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