Arianna Huffington’s Insulting Treatment of Minorities

The message here is condescending but at least it’s crystal clear: African-American and Latino writers --- and the people who read them -- don’t belong at the grownup table. So we’ll put them at the children’s table instead. Bon appetit.

Maybe Huffington needs to brush up on U.S. history. African-Americans and Latinos are an inseparable part of the American community and part of the nation’s fabric. The history of black Americans in this country goes back as far as the first settlement at Jamestown. Go to Santa Fe, and you’ll find Latinos whose families have lived on that soil for more than 400 years.

Members of both groups fought and died in every war since the American Revolution, often with distinction. African-Americans and Latinos helped build this country by taking jobs than no one else wanted, while putting up with humiliation and state-sponsored discrimination. And through it all, they’ve loved America even when America didn’t love them back.

Huffington thinks that her precious website needs a black section to cover black issues, and a Latino section to cover Latino issues. But what does that mean anyway? African-Americans and Latinos care about the same issues that all Americans care about right now: education, jobs, health care, taxes, immigration, trade, etc.

Huffington could have handled this much better. She could have launched stand-alone products aimed at African-American and Latino readers. If she had done that, there would be no problem. It’s not condescending or insulting to have an ethnic-themed publication or website as long as it’s a separate media product specifically aimed at African-Americans or Latinos.

Yet that’s not what we have here. What we have here is a mainstream product with a separate African-American section and a separate Latino section. And that’s offensive.

If Arianna Huffington wants to build a new home for African-American and Latino writers, then more power to her. Many of them could use the exposure. But she’s not willing to go that far. All she’s prepared to do is to invite minorities into her mansion -- as long as they use the servants’ entrance.