Sunday, May 20, 2018

Indecent. Intolerant. Inane. Incendiary. Not Racist.

This is journalism.  CNN's Eric Levenson, Paul P. Murphy and Gianluca Mezzofiore report

The man who berated employees and customers for speaking Spanish in a New York City cafe has a history of aggressively confronting strangers on their identity.

Aaron Schlossberg, an attorney in New York, was identified as the man in a Fresh Kitchen in Manhattan who angrily told employees and customers to speak English because "This is America!"

"If they have the balls to come here and live off my money, I pay for their welfare," he says, incorrectly asserting that undocumented immigrants are eligible for federal public benefits. "I pay for their ability to be here. The least they can do ... is speak English."

They referred to Schlossberg's history of aggressively confronting strangers on their identity" and afterward provided context to the charge.  The following, however, is- as the British call it- "rubbish" as Sarah K. Burris of Raw Story writes

The New York attorney who has become known as “Racist lawyer bro” has now been kicked out of his law office by his landlord the New York Daily News reported Thursday. Earlier in the day, he had simply been prevented from entering.

Aaron Schlossberg went on a racist rant in a coffee shop against Latino employees speaking Spanish to other Spanish-speaking customers. The incident was filmed on cell phone cameras as the man threatened to call ICE on the workers, assuming they were undocumented.

Since the video has gone viral, Schlossberg has been mocked and stalked by reporters. Protests took place outside of his office with tacos and a mariachi band. Reporters have been waiting with cameras. Not a welcoming crowd to others sharing the building of Schlossberg’s law office.

“We have terminated his services agreement with us,” said Hayim Grant, the president of Corporate Suites. He also said that he was “completely shocked” by the clip of Schlossberg’s racist rant.

Schlossberg wasn't concerned that the individuals were undocumented. He ignorantly assumed they were illegal immigrants. She may consider them "undocumented"- surely she does- but to him they are "illegal."

But that's not the primary problem. In the space of four paragraphs there are three references to "racist."  In the following, and last, three paragraphs there is one refernce to "racist."

Raw Story, with an unapologetically leftist slant, does not pretend to be The New York Times, CNN, or even the Fresno Bee. Expressing an opinion- or as in this case, assuming- that the rant in question is "racist" is therefore legitimate.

But her opinion is wrong.  Hispanic- or the similar, but different, Latino- is not a race.

This is not a technicality nor even a argument in favor of the contemporary (and somewhat accurate) perspective that race is not a valid construct. It is merely that Hispanics/Latinos are not all of the same color. Raul A. Reyes in the Huffington Post explains

The U.S. Census Bureau defines Hispanic/Latino as referring to “a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.”

They key words here are regardless of race. In fact, Hispanics can be white, black, Asian, or multiracial. That’s because the term “Hispanic,” like “Latino,” refers to an ethnicity, not a race. And a majority of Hispanics actually self-identify as white. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 53 percent of Hispanics chose “white “ as their race, while 36 percent chose “some other race.”

Journalists, bloggers, New York City lawyers, anyone with an opinion owe something to the truth.  Those CNN journalists, who point out that illegal immigrants are ineligible for most federal public benefits, understand that. Beyond even the hate and bigotry, Aaron Scholossberg does not (or pretends not to).  We shouldn't follow his example.

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