L.A. Times Asks if County Sheriff Exemplifies ‘Worst’ Latino ‘Traits’

 The Los Angeles Times has published a series of articles asking whether Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva exemplifies the “worst” Latino “traits,” a claim that, if the writer were not Latino, would be widely recognized as racist.

The series of articles, by columnist Gustavo Arellano, is titled: “L.A. County’s sheriff leans on his Latino identity. Does he exemplify our worst traits?”

The series was highlighted by the newspaper as the “editors’ pick,” complete with the “worst Latino traits” headline.

L.A. Times home page, Mar. 27, 2022

In part one of the series, Arellano admits that “Villanueva’s department walks the diversity walk,” and that “Latino supporters think of him as someone sin pelos en la lengua — without hairs on the tongue, a Mexican Spanish idiom for a straight shooter worth admiring.” But he thens suggests that Villanueva “continuously exemplified one of the worst traits of the Latino experience,” without defining what that might be — until part two.

There, Arellano professes amazement at Villanueva’s criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement, which he says reflects a racism against black people that is “latent in all Latinos”:

“For every one ‘Say her name,’” Villanueva proclaimed, “you’d have to say a thousand names of people who were killed. Black people killing Black people.”

Villanueva felt Black people have it far better today than in the past — and what’s keeping young Black people down is themselves.

“Today, [activists are] running around saying that [law enforcement are] slave catchers,” he said. “We don’t have the same perspective in the Latino community.”

That’s when I realized Villanueva was even more Latino than I gave him credit for. He had tapped into the vein of anti-Blackness latent in all Latinos, one that gets exacerbated when Black and Latino communities compete for the same resources in the United States.

Arellano provided no evidence that “all Latinos” share a sense of “anti-Blackness,” other than his own opinion.

In part three of the interview, he reported that

On the term “Latinx,” the sheriff responded:

“The Spanish language does not accept ‘Latinx.’” He went on to ridicule people who use it and “their preferred pronouns and all that s—” in an attempt at inclusivity.

“Latinx” to Villanueva is “kind of a modern creation … where the average Latino says, ‘Screw you.’ The entire language is based on gender. Everything has a gender. Inanimate objects have a gender. El árbol [tree] — it’s not la árbol, it’s el árbol.”

Arellano also notes that Villanueva fought against vaccine mandates, while encouraging his deputies to take the vaccine voluntarily, because 80% of his workforce was “[c]onservative and far right” and would push back against mandates.

Villanueva himself remains a Democrat. He is up for reelection in 2022.

L.A. Times Asks if County Sheriff Exemplifies ‘Worst’ Latino ‘Traits’ L.A. Times Asks if County Sheriff Exemplifies ‘Worst’ Latino ‘Traits’ Reviewed by Your Destination on March 27, 2022 Rating: 5

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