In My Mind’s Eye: December 7th, 2011

If it isn’t racism, then it’s bigotry

By Robert Miranda

The race for Alderman of the 12th District has begun. As it stands today, the incumbent, Alderman James N. Witkowiak, is facing Jose Perez in what many believe will be a close race.

I mentioned this race on my radio program this past week. I spoke about how Latino leadership has begun to abandon Alderman Witkowiak, and I asked the question, Why?

Not all Latinos have thrown Witkowiak under the bus, there are some who stand with him. But there are those Latinos, who I believe have sent a bigoted kind of message, which puts the our community in a bad light.

During my radio show, a caller expressed his dissatisfaction with the wording I used when I questioned the endorsement made by Voces de la Frontera, an organization that endorsed Witkowiak’s opponent.

I thought it odd that this organization would turn its back on Witkowiak. I said on radio that Witkowiak has marched with this group, was invited to speak at rallies by this group, and had introduced resolutions in the City Common Council advocating for immigrant rights. And the way that Voces De La Frontera responds to his many years of service to their work is to spit in his eye and throw him under the bus?

Latinos are a proud people. We are a people being attacked by the maniacs of the far right-wing. However, we’re not the only ones fighting back. We have friends who are Black, White, and Asians, as well as Middle Easterners. These allies stand shoulder to shoulder with the Latino community as we beat back the tyranny of racism being handed down by political gangsters operating out of the Republican Party and their allies on FOX television, such as Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reily, and local bigots like Mark Belling.

All this brings me to my outrage at Voces De La Frontera’s stand. How is it that a group so dedicated to fighting racism seems to be practicing racism themselves? What does a White man have to do to get the gratitude and appreciation for honorable service to our people?

Maybe I’m just old school, but I always have been taught that we Latinos are a people who respect our friends. That we know who our enemies are, and that we always stand with our friends who have stood with us against our enemies.

But in this race in the 12th Aldermanic District, the message that Voces De La Frontera seems to be putting out is one that reads to me as saying, “we only care about ourselves.” And this I find rather disturbing, because as far I can tell, there is nothing that Witkowiak has done against our community which would warrant such a stand against him. This leads me to believe that there is a racist action being conducted here by certain Latino leaders against a friend of our people, and that I cannot stay silent on.

There will be people who will say that he was just only doing his job, but if that’s the case, then he did his job. So what’s the issue? We toss him out because he did his job? What has Witkowiak done to justify Latinos abandoning a friend? What was Voces De La Frontera’s rationale for voting against someone who has stood with that group? What if anything has Witkowiak done against the immigrant people? At best, Voces De La Frontera should have just stayed out of the endorsement of a candidate in the 12th District.

I said on my radio program that when former State Representative Pedro Colon and his partner Atty. Peter Earle stopped Esperanza Unida from placing a $1 million dollar job training program in the Latino community, many of the leaders said that was just politics. A benefit to the Latino community was reduced by supporters of Colon and Earle to be just a political thing.

Had a white man committed the same act against our community, the cry of racism would have echoed all over the city.

If the actions taking place by Latino leaders against Witkowiak are not based on race, then what is it?

If bigotry prevails, we are no better than those people out there doing to us what we appear to be doing to Witkowiak. We are a better people than what Voces De La Frontera is portraying us to be. Latinos stand with our friends.

Alderman Witkowiak is scheduled to appear on radio as my guest on Taking Sides with Robert Miranda on WJTI 1460AM-radio on Sunday, December 12, 2011, at 11:00AM. Tune in and judge for yourself.

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on December 07, 2011

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