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Culture Watch : Why Do They Say Those Things?

May 27, 1993

When Republican Assemblyman William J. (Pete) Knight distributed a poem that described illegal immigrants as baby-breeding freeloaders, he couldn't understand why there was outrage by Latino legislators and others.

Knight, who later apologized, said he thought the poem was "clever" and "funny." He said, "I didn't mean to offend anyone."

How is it that people who consider themselves enlightened can make casual remarks that others find offensive?

"Subconsciously, we all do it," says a Los Angeles father. "No matter what, you try not to say it and it happens." E2

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