Hispanics can be victims and perpetrators of racism

Hispanics can be victims and perpetrators of racism
Marc Anthony

George Zimmerman and singer Marc Anthony show us that Hispanics can be both a perpetrator and a victim of racism.

Half Hispanic, half white man, George Zimmerman, shot and killed young African-American teen Trayvon Martin, and walked away without a conviction.

He wrongly suspected Martin was up to no good walking through the neighborhood because he was a young black male. It is a travesty that the "stand-your-ground" laws in Florida allowed him to get away with self-defense.

President Obama spoke about the Martin case Friday.

“I think it’s important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that — that doesn’t go away,” the president said. “There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.”

It's true that some Latinos are racist. One only need to examine the class system in Latin America to see racism that places white Latin Americans, with more Spanish blood, at the top, and the dark-skinned indigenous population at the bottom.

In Los Angeles, Latino gangs have targeted African-Americans in hate crimes, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In the wake of the Zimmerman verdict, a Hispanic man was beaten up by a group of African-American youth in Baltimore, according to The Baltimore Sun.

The latest Latino to become a target of hate speech is salsa singer Marc Anthony. He sang "God Bless America" at the All-Star baseball game Tuesday night and some "Twittiots" responded with hate speech, according to the Huffington Post.

"Shouldn't an AMERICAN be singing God Bless America? #getoutofmycountry #allstargame," Tweeted @kriederkid.

"Why is a Mexican, Marc Anthony, singing god bless America? Doesn't he know this is America's song?" Tweeted @BlurNulled.

"Why the (f..k) is a spic singing God Bless America?" Tweeted @chancellorjones.

It's hard to believe that people in this country are so profoundly ignorant.

First of all Marc Anthony is an American. He was born in New York and is of Puerto Rican heritage. Puerto Rico is a U.S. commonwealth and all the people born there are U.S. citizens.

A San Antonio native, Sebastien de la Cruz, who sang the national anthem during the NBA playoffs also was attacked with hate speech on Twitter. He wore a mariachi suit for his performance in English.

These "Twittiots" see a brown-skinned person and make all types of assumptions.

Just as I believe Zimmerman saw Martin walking down the street and made assumptions that he was planning to do something criminal simply because he saw a black youth wearing a hoodie.

We have a long way to go to rid our country of racism and hate of all kinds.

In 2011, there were 7,713 victims of hate crimes reported in the U.S., according to the FBI.

Around 47 percent were victims due to race, 20 percent due to sexual orientation, 19 due to religious belief, 12 percent due to ethnicity or national origin and less than 1 percent for a disability.

People of all races, ethnicities, religions and sexual orientation are victims. Latinos also have been killed in hate crimes.

Remember Marcelo Lucero? He was killed in November 2008 by a group of white Long Island teens.

They were looking to go "beaner-hopping" and found Lucero, an immigrant from Ecuador.

Seven young men were involved in the crime. One received a 25 year sentence of first-degree manslaughter and a hate crime and the others five to eight years, according to Newsday.

This was muted justice for such light sentences. Sadly, there was no justice at all in the Martin case.

The president Friday asked us to confront racial prejudice. We should consider his words.

“Am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can; am I judging people, as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin but the content of their character?” the president said. “That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy.”

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