THE BLOG
05/31/2016 12:23 pm ET Updated May 31, 2017

An Open Letter to Chris Matthews

Dear Chris,

First let me say, I have been a faithful viewer of your show and MSNBC for many years. I have always enjoyed your direct approach to issues, as well as your ability to challenge a guest when the B.S. meter gets triggered. However, this past Friday, May 27th, I was quite disturbed by what I saw on your program between 4:07 and 4:17 p.m. pacific time. It was 10 minutes that I believe exposed a need for some real examination.

At 4:07 as Jacob Rascon (one of the few Latinos to have a presence on MSNBC) was covering from the midst of the protests, you commented, "So here we hear USA from the Ameri-- well, um, the people taking the conservative view, let's put it that way..." I almost fell out of my chair, knowing what you almost said was, "So here we hear USA from the "the Americans..." Three quarters of one word not only rattled me, you could see it rattled you too. Please go back to that episode and you'll notice there were a lot of non-Latinos also protesting. Unfortunately your focus was only about Latinos and later admitting your "Ameri..." comment, was a "slip." I hope to point out what could be an opportunity for growth from this "slip."

Chris, Google recently decided to address what they call "unconscious bias" across their entire organization. The video is online. What facilitated their inward view of themselves, was when they looked around and found a very insular corporate culture. They came to the realization that even the most well-meaning people, don't "consciously" see their own shortcomings. I would ask you and your colleagues to consider a similar inward reflection. Perhaps start with your booking logs over the years and see how many Latino guests you have had on your show. My guess will be that the number of "American Latinos," would be substantially below that of which you may "consciously" believe it to be. It's an easy fix, call me I can get you the "hook up" to lots and lots of smart Latinos that can intelligently discuss everything from immigration to particle accelerators and everything in-between. I got your back.

Then at 4:09, Joy Reid, who eventually made a plethora of salient points during her appearance, first tried to answer a question of yours when she said, "I can tell you that at the moment, net migration from Mexico..." You immediately cut her off with, "No, no, whose doing anything, I know, I know, I know the arguments..." Had you let her finish her point, she was about to say, "Net immigration from Mexico, is ZERO." A point you claimed you know, but knowledge that your audience and Ann Coulter, we will find out later on, could have benefited from.

What could have been your "unconscious bias" at work, was also evident at 4:12 when Ann Coulter stated, "You have Mandarin Chinese with signs for Trump, Make America Great Again, written in Mandarin." You complacently or unconsciously responded and I quote, "Yeah." It took your guest, Joy Reid, going toe to toe at 4:17, to try and correct Ann's constant use of the term "Mandarin." Your response was "Yeah."

Then at 4:13, Ann Coulter took to your earlier "the Ameri-" comment, like a cultural dog whistle, when she bellowed, "Because you got it right before, when you 'slipped' and said something about the protestors versus the Trump supporters when you called the Trump supporters 'The Americans.' They are the Americans! Chris, it's amazing what kind of ignorance three quarters of one unintended word can create. Imagine what the multitude of speeches Trump and his surrogates are making, that are not unintended, but blatantly calling for people to allow their fear to overtake their common sense. To your credit, you rebounded with, "First of all that was a 'slip. I was looking at the American flag against the Mexican flags and it was a 'slip.'" Boy was it.

Lets continue down the "slippery" slope. At 4:15, you said to Joy Reid, "American flags, Confederate flag now showing, a Mexican flags, I never thought the Mexican flags was a particularly good public relations move here by the protestors..." I couldn't agree with you more. Latinos do themselves a disservice, by carrying Mexican flags at a rally like this. That said, how on earth could you dress down Latinos about a bad PR move and not mention the Confederate flags as a bad PR move? Mexico is our neighbor to the south that has many positive qualities about it. The Confederate flag came from some other "neighbors from the south", that used that flag in a civil war to try and preserve "hate and slavery." Slight difference in the intentions don't ya think?

Throughout the segment, Joy Reid, made very smart data driven observations. As a Latino, I am thankful for her perspective, but would ask that perhaps you actually have a Latino on your show to discuss Hispanic issues in the future. When you discuss African, Gay, Jewish, veterans issues, you often have members of those communities on as guests, but for some strange reason, when Latino issues are discussed, we are too often invisible. Easy peezy fix Chris.

Lastly at 4:18 you seemed to have lost complete control of your show, when Joy tried multiple times to correct an unapologetic Ann Coulter who commented, "But it isn't. As I told you, they have Mandarins in the audience..." Joy, brilliantly countered with, "It's not 1913, they are called Asian Americans, not Mandarins!" Had you let Joy finish her sentence earlier at 4:09 about "net immigration being zero," Ann would not have made her next diatribe which was, "We are having an 'Invasion,' of people across the southern border." Invasion? Really? The only invasion that's happening, is of people that will never get into MENSA. It was right there that I realized Ann Coulter isn't even intelligent enough to be ignorant. Yet you have her on your show as a paid guest, to espouse her distorted views. Wow, what am I not getting here?

My favorite moment came when Ann in her best Jan Brady impression tossed her blonde locks and forth and tried to set Joy in her place saying, "No, you're not going to police my language, they are Mandarins!" Talk about a Marsha, Marsha, Marsha moment. Classic. I only wish that Joy had challenged Ann to use the "N word," the "C word," the "K word," or the "F word," on the air. Words that the Black, Female, Jewish and Gay communities have fought so hard to eliminate from our vernacular. Amazing how Ann Coulter felt so empowered to say no one can police her language on cable television. Gee I wonder where she could have gotten that from?

To quote your compadre Lawrence O'Donnell, here is my "Final Word." I believe you are a good person with the greatest of intentions, but I ask that you and the entire MSNBC organization have some introspection as to how to create a real change for our community, which is one of the many parts of the fabric that we call America and "Americans." Sadly, the press with their monolithic perspective of our community, have helped make the words, "Hispanic," synonymous with, "not American." And as you showed, it can and does happen. There are rarely stories about how Latinos are the economic and growth drivers for America, war heroes and a multitude of other narratives that remain untold. I, like millions of other Latinos, am a 14th generation American. My family was here before there was an America or a Mexico for that matter. Near the end of her appearance, Joy said, "This is old America versus new America." Chris, strive to be like Joy said, "A new America," and avoid any more "slippery" slopes.