After two shorter syndicated columns, Linda Chavez wrote a lengthy piece on conservatives, Hispanics, and immigration for National Review Online, published Monday. Today those named in Chavez’s “The Company You Keep” and other immigration-policy experts respond to Chavez.
I have known Linda for years. She is a good friend. Good friends are not immune from the tendency to misspeak occasionally, however. In her initial column that has caused so much anger, Linda was “intemperate,” to say the least. Although there is a certain degree of “anti-Mexican” animosity among some who are opposed to illegal aliens, it was not appropriate to characterize those who oppose illegal immigration as a bunch of racists, as Linda’s column seemed to suggest. I have already shared that perspective with Linda. In addition, I do not share Linda’s critique of Heather Mac Donald in her long NRO
Nonetheless, Linda has done more for the conservative movement and the preservation of traditional American culture than many of those who are criticizing her combined. What concerns me is the inclination among conservatives to cannibalize our own. It seems to me that we should acknowledge the right to disagree on specific issues, and not hold it against those who disagree with us within our conservative family. I have encountered a number of conservatives, unfortunately, who are willing to throw her overboard merely because of her column. I have read a number of blogs that have been unbelievably harsh and intolerant of Linda’s right to be against the prevailing sentiment about immigration. For example, last week, I ran an ad in the Washington Times about preferences and immigration. Linda was one of the signatories. I had two individuals ask, “Why are you allied with Linda Chavez?” This is ridiculous; Linda doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment.
– Ward Connerly is founder of the American Civil Rights Institute.
Linda finds my attitude towards Mexicans “distasteful.” Well, there is no arguing with taste. I find distasteful Linda’s implied assertion that I and Heather Mac Donald are bad company for National Review to be keeping.
On “Aztecs”: It is a pretty good rule of civilized society not to take offense where plainly none was intended. Neglect of this rule causes bar fights. It also, however, enables one to recalibrate and re-recalibrate the offense-o-meter without limit, ensuring that one need never abandon one’s pose of lofty moral superiority towards one’s less refined fellow citizens.
As well as violating a sensible social rule, this endless evolutionary advance to ever thinner skin prevents us from talking about obvious and important features of reality. I was astonished a few months ago to be told by piece. Joey Kurtzman that the word “Irishman” is now politically incorrect. I should not have been. A chap in Iowa was fired from his job the other day for referring to a co-worker from Mexico as — gasp! — “Mexican.”
I hasten to assure Linda that I would not be so outrageously uncouth myself; but if I see a lawn crew whose profiles bring to mind Mesoamerican art work, I think “Aztecs” is crisply descriptive of the situation. I know next to nothing about Mexico — I am not, in fact, aware of having any “attitude to Mexicans” at all — but I have a vague impression that Mexican indigenes are proud of their Aztec heritage.
Linda expresses her “hope that most conservatives” would find “troubling” (there’s a Hillary Clinton word if ever I saw one!) my “view that race and ethnicity should be a factor in deciding whom to admit to the U.S.”
Here’s a suggestion for Linda, and for anyone else who would like to see race-consciousness, race pandering, racial favoritism, racial separatism, and racial hostility purged from our society: How about we stop importing tens of millions of people who cherish their racial identity? Hispanics, for example, whose most prominent U.S. lobbying organization is named National Council of The Race. (Oh, but I see from Linda’s previous sentence that only 52 percent of Hispanics consider themselves as belonging to The Race. So that’s all right, then!)