Ed Driscoll

Hispanics and the Zimmerman Narrative

“A small but interesting thing happened that tells us a lot about the way the narrative of this event is being crafted by the media,” Jonathan S. Tobin writes at Commentary on the post-Zimmerman trial media landscape. Barack Obama appeared on the Spanish-language Telemundo and Univision networks. Two guesses as to which topic never came up:

On a day when the country was transfixed by the debate over the acquittal of George Zimmerman on a charge of murdering Trayvon Martin, no one from Telemundo or Univision even mentioned the case.

In and of itself it’s curious that any presidential interview this week would not contain at least one question about the case. But even Byers didn’t mention the irony here. While the prevailing narrative of the case has been to portray the tragic death of Martin as a symbol if not a practical example of white racism against African-Americans, Zimmerman isn’t white. He’s Hispanic. So it is telling that not only have none of the leading lights of the Latino media claimed him as a member of their community, but in doing so have consciously abstained from dealing with the issue of race relations in America that has become the primary topic of political discussion since Saturday night. At least as far as these interviews were concerned, the Hispanic media seems determined to do nothing to alter the prevailing narrative in which Zimmerman is stripped of his own identity as a minority in order to make the point about racist America in a way that allows the left to wave the bloody banner of Jim Crow unimpeded by concern for the sensitivities of Hispanics.

On Sunday at the PJ Tatler, Robert Wargas essentially anticipated this development, in a post titled “No True Hispanic.” After quoting from the article by someone named Aura Bogado in the far-left Nation magazine that was hysterically titled, “White Supremacy Acquits George Zimmerman” — which seems rather odd, considering that Zimmerman is of mixed-race ancestry (and “blacker than Homer Plessy,” as Glenn Reynolds has frequently pointed out), Wargas wrote:

So, to give a precis of Ms. Abogado’s logic: George Zimmerman is not white, but insofar as he does bad things, those bad things are “white.” No true Hispanic would be so racist as to shoot a black person; he is merely acting according to white societal hypnosis. This is textbook Whiteness Studies, according to which White = Bad, and Not White = Good, so that insofar as Not White = Bad, the Bad =/= Not White. It’s a neat and internally consistent little word game that people in academia and journalism play with one another. (See “No True Scotsman.”)

In practice, the Whiteness Studies game works as follows: All bad things are labeled “white supremacy,” which is defined as a complete and total system of “white” bourgeois logic, law, custom, etc. This system is so pervasive that even when a non-white person does something ostensibly racist, he is only acting according to “white logic,” thus his or her racism is actually white racism. Much of this derives from the theories of the pseudoscientist Frances Cress Welsing, whose definition of racism was white supremacy. Again, word games.

Whiteness Studies works exactly the same way classical antisemitism works, and still does work. Jews are said to be controlling absolutely everything, including people’s consciousness. The Jew is responsible for everything bad, because everything bad is, to the antisemite, the definition of Jewishness. There is no way out of this logic, which is total and pitiless, once its initial premise has been granted. It is a conspiracy theory and thus immune to reason and argument. True white supremacists play this game too. They take everything wrong with society and say it’s the product of non-white values, forces, etc. In formulating her “theory” of “white supremacy,” then, Bogado, too, is operating according to white supremacist logic. Her theory–rather, its essential thought process — is not new. Today it’s called Whiteness Studies and gets people tenure and good salaries at universities. In 1933, in Leipzig or Frankfurt am Main, it would have been known as something else.

Why, yes it would.

Update: All of which answers the question posited by blogger “SooperMexican” at Ricochet: “Why aren’t Hispanics protesting for Zimmerman like African Americans are for Trayvon?”