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Dumbest Commentary About Latinos In 2013

12/23/2013 04:10 pm ET | Updated Dec 24, 2013

There's no doubt that Latinos have become an increasingly important part of American politics and culture in recent years, but that doesn't mean our leaders are getting any wiser. Check out eight of the worst attempts at political commentary about Hispanics in 2013 below.

  • 1 U.S. Rep. Steve King Sinks To New Lows
    AP
    U.S. Rep. Steve King had already stood out before 2013 for comparing immigrants to dogs, then defending the comparison as a compliment. He continued to alienate Latinos in 2013, most notably in July, when he said that for every undocumented student "who's a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

    Whether lashing out as "brazen" Dreamers or inventing crime statistics, King has done more than perhaps any other elected official to degrade the immigration debate and insult the Latino community.
  • 2 Mitt Romney Still Doesn't Get It
    AP
    After flopping among Latino voters with just 23 percent of the vote in the 2012 presidential election, Republican candidate Mitt Romney continued to blame Hispanics instead of himself for his poor performance.

    “I think my position and the position of our party is not well understood at the Hispanic community,” Romney said in an interview with CNN. “I want to see immigration reform. I said that during the campaign. I want to make sure we have a legal immigration system that brings, in my view, more people legally to our country. I’d like to do that.” His views on legal immigration weren't particularly controversial in the Latino community. It was his embrace of "self-deportation" and his opposition to a pathway to citizenship for the country's estimated 11.7 million undocumented immigrants that bothered Hispanics.
  • 3 Ann Coulter Kept Talking
    WikiMedia:
    In the realm of anti-Latino punditry, Ann Coulter set the standard for blending misinformation with insult. Coulter has been on a Latino-bashing rampage since Mitt Romney lost last year's presidential election.

    Generally, she encourages the GOP to avoid bothering with the Hispanic vote at all. In June, she theorized that Republicans could win the Hispanic vote by opposing immigration reform, one of the most emotional issues for the Latino community.
  • 4 Fox News
    America's top-rated news network continues to have a Latino problem. Fox News infuriated the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, with a segment that insulted the children of undocumented immigrants as "children of the corn," presumably a reference to the Mexican diet. In addition to being tactless, the report inaccurately led viewers to believe the state of California was distributing government benefits to undocumented immigrants, when in fact the benefits were destined for their American citizen children.

    It wasn't the only blunder to hit the airwaves on Fox this year. Bill Hemmer of America's Newsroom blasted the Obama administration for offering information about the Affordable Care Act in 150 languages. "Now where is it? Where’s that happen?” Hemmer wondered aloud, apparently unaware that an interpretation hotline offering 150 languages is offered in New York City, where America’s Newsroom is broadcasted. In a more light-hearted episode, the Fox and Friends cast learned from their Latina colleague that not all Latinos are Mexican, nor do they all eat tacos. Ann Coulter routinely appears on the network as for her "expert" commentary on immigration.
  • 5 'Catch An Illegal' Protest
    WikiMedia:
    In an absurd attempt at satire, the Young Conservatives of Texas, a student group, organized a game called "Catch an Illegal," in which students would hunt for people on the University of Texas' Austin campus wearing signs reading "illegal immigrant." Finding one and turning them in to the YCT would earn participants a $25 gift card.

    The proposed protest earned the YCT a rebuke from the U.T. Bill Powers. They cancelled the event, which backfired when actress America Ferrera headlined a pro-immigration reform rally at U.T. on the date of the canceled YCT event.
  • 6 Mexican Music For Ted Cruz
    Getty Images
    Ted Cruz has faced a lot of ill-informed and often offensive insults from those who say he shouldn't be considered Latino. (As a Cuban-American, he is Hispanic, end of story.) CNBC Senior Economics Reporter Steve Liesman took the jabs to Cruz's ethnicity in another direction, cuing up "some Mexican music" to poke fun at Cruz during a segment slamming him over the government shutdown.

    Liesman apologized for the comments.
  • 7 Rick Perry
    AP
    Immigration hawks continued to push obsessively for increased border security in 2013. Despite the fact that illegal crossings are at their lowest level in decades and border cities are among the safest in the nation, the proposed comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the U.S. Senate placated them with more than $40 billion in promised spending on border security.

    Even that failed to satisfy some, like Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who in his more compassionate and rational moments has defended the right of Dreamers to an affordable education and criticized the logic of border fences. In a speech before the Republican Governors Association in Arizona in November, Perry said illegal immigration would become "passé" as the Mexican economy improved -- yet he still blasted the immigration reform as insufficient to address a problem he acknowledged was diminishing rather than growing.
  • 8 Lousiana Official Hates It When Mexicans Learn
    While most immigration hawks want immigrants to learn English, Lafourche Parish City Councilman Lindel Toups isn't interested. In comments to the local press, he played down the importance of libraries to drum up support for his plans to divert money away from them and into prison expansion.

    “They’re teaching Mexicans to speak English,” Toups said of the libraries, which he thought was a bad thing. “Let that son of a bitch go back to Mexico.”
  • 9 Latinos Are American
    Getty Images
    Hispanics have resided in the territory today known as the United States for almost 100 years before Anglos. And yet, when Latino faces appear before a mainstream audience, haters pop up on social media wondering to hurl insults at the presumed "foreigners."

    Several Latino celebrities (all U.S.-born Americans) got hit with such insults, including Pitbull, Marc Anthony, and 11-year-old mariachi singer Sebastien de la Cruz.
    Haters bashed de la Cruz on Twitter for singing the National Anthem, presuming that singer San Antonio native was Mexican. The child star handled the episode with class, answering his detractors respectfully and saying it gave him a chance to "show my cultura."
  • 10 The Return Of The Term 'Wetback'
    WikiMedia:
    U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) angered Latino leaders by referring to the farm workers his family once employed as "wetbacks," a derogatory term referring to migrants of Mexican origin, particularly the undocumented. To his credit, he apologized.

    Despite the uproar, Tea Party-affiliated investor Drew Turiano, who is entering the race for a congressional seat in Montana, called for another "Operation Wetback" in November.
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