Letters to the Editor: Latinx communities fighting racism don’t need Martinez, Cedillo and De León
In a letter to the editor, “Let them call me a racist,” about his recent statements in response to a report on racism in El Paso, Texas, by the Southern Poverty Law Center, author Jose Antonio Vargas, who himself is a Mexican American, complains about these four congressmen who, Vargas writes, “simply cannot be ignored, marginalized or vilified.” Vargas says that he knows of other Mexican Americans living in Arizona who have similar experiences, and he says that he is “not only a member of the El Paso community, but I am a citizen of Arizona and an American who has been fighting the racist, sexist, white supremacist, right-wing agenda and that has been attacking El Paso and Texas for the last decades.”
The letter also uses as evidence for his claim that his statements have “nothing to do with racism and nothing to do with a fear or hatred of Mexicans.” Vargas’s column in the Arizona Republic and the one in the Phoenix New Times are both on El Paso, and most if not all of Vargas’s work on immigration issues has been published by a right-wing media outlet. Vargas also has expressed his own racist views on other occasions. For example, in 2016 he wrote, “There are a lot more Mexicans than Trump supporters out in [the Tucson] Valley because of the large number of illegal aliens and all the Mexicans in the region.” Vargas seems more interested in attacking Martinez’s comments on immigration than they are in attacking him personally.
Vargas’s attack on Martinez is not based on the contents of a single tweet, as Vargas alleges, but on Vargas’s interpretation of those tweets and his attempt to rewrite them. Vargas also accuses Martinez of “politicizing the matter” and claims that Martinez’s criticisms are “completely false.” Vargas fails to present a single quote from Martinez’s tweets in