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The Cowboy And The Good Ol' Girl

December 09, 1990

Besides the sexist title, "The Cowboy and the Good Ol' Girl" (by J. Michael Kennedy, Oct. 21), about the Texas gubernatorial race between Ann Richards and Clayton Williams Jr., your Houston correspondent, J. Michael Kennedy, presents two very telling references to the heavily Mexican-American populated state of Texas.

In the first reference, Kennedy tells about Clayton Williams singing his "Spanish favorites." They are either Spanish-language favorites or Mexican, not Spanish. As the late, former Los Angeles Times columnist Ruben Salazar wrote, "the word Mexican has been dragged through the mud of racism since the Anglos arrived in the Southwest," so that not many Anglos want to use it.

Kennedy's only reference to "Mexican" is when he mentions Clayton Williams "as a teen-ager had gone to Mexican border towns to be 'serviced' by hookers. Here Kennedy felt justified in using the word Mexican.

Whether consciously or unconsciously, the racist message is clear. Now, you might say this is sheer imagination or fabrication, but some of us have been trained our whole lives to catch such racist sniper shots, and they're around every corner. You might not believe this, but that's because they're not shooting at you.

This is a fine example of what I call "white writing," in which white writers and white editors are obliviously insensitive to race, culture and the hidden messages they put out.

JOSE ANTONIO BURCIAGA

Stanford

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