UPDATED: 12:30 p.m. ET., May 9
Racism is like cancer, ignore it long enough and it will corrupt everything around you including the minds of those it was intended to discriminate against.
A growing number of U.S. Latinos are buying into the far-right, white nationalist narrative that’s seeped in hate and contradicts many aspects of their own culture.
The latest example of this is Mauricio Garcia, the Mexican-American man who was killed by police after killing eight people, including three children at a Dallas-area shopping mall over the weekend. According to reports, Garcia left behind a social media profile filled with white supremacist rhetoric.
Police said Garcia, who was a Dallas resident, opened fire on pedestrians with an AR-15-style rifle at the Allen Premium Outlets mall in Allen, Texas. The 33-year-old was shot dead by police on the scene. After his death, investigators found hate-filled posts targeting racial and ethnic minorities, according to NBC News. Garcia allegedly had an account on the Russian social networking platform OK.ru and shared posts referring to white nationalism, praising Hitler and sympathizing with neo-Nazi beliefs.
It has also been reported that Garcia wore a patch that read “RWDS,” an acronym known to stand for “Right Wing Death Squad.” The symbol is associated with multiple right-wing extremist groups including the Proud Boys. It’s also worth noting that many of Garcia’s posts referred to his mental health.
Another example would be Proud Boy leader Enrique Tarrio. He is of Cuban-American and Afro-Cuban background and has for years spread neo-fascist, right-wing ideologies and promoted political violence in the U.S.
Tarrio was recently convicted of a plot to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6. after Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election. He was arrested March 8, 2022, on a conspiracy charge for his alleged role in plotting the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Before his arrest, Tarrio was given a five-month sentence for lynching a Black Lives Matter banner that was taken from a Black church in Washington, D.C. last November.
Tarrio isn’t the only confused Latino American serving a cause that is against the best interest of people who look like him.
On Feb. 23, a Texas man named Jose Gomez III pleaded guilty to three counts of committing a hate crime after he attacked an Asian family because he believed them to be at fault for the COVID-19 pandemic.
But why are these minorities following the agendas of racist white men?
Just like any other nationality, Latino Americans do not all think the same. How many of them perceive themselves is directly correlated to their unique American experience. Most Americans understand when it comes to advancement in the U.S., white usually wins. This concept affects the self-perceptions of minority Americans. If white is the winning way, why not call yourself white (if you can pass)?
According to Pew Research Center, more than half of Hispanics surveyed identified their race as White (58%), with the next largest share selecting the “some other race” category (27%).
Many Hispanics in the U.S. are identifying as white. This means it’s easier to understand why some of them find solace in right-wing ideologies.
If you don’t relate to the plight of the people who look like you, but instead relate more to the oppressor, you can be convinced that hurting your people is in your best interest.
Nick Fuentes, the leader of a Christian-based extremist white nationalist group is half-Mexican American, he identifies as a white supremacist. He’s constantly peddling hate and even promoting violence against immigrants, some of which could even be his distant relatives. But he doesn’t believe he’s Hispanic, when he looks in the mirror he sees a white man, regardless of his last name.
Other experts point to fake news as a catalyst for Latino Americans embracing white nationalism. According to a report by Nielsen, 28% of news websites where Latinos make up 20% of the audience contained content flagged as mixed, biased, extremely biased, conspiracy or pseudoscience.
Because young people spend so much time on the internet, they can become indoctrinated into right-wing ideas with no oversight or buffer to the truth. Social media sites help amplify untruths that if you are already feeling disenfranchised can easily grab a hold of you.
Misinformation is geared to steer you in whatever direction its creator intended. If that direction is racism it is not inconceivable to have Latino Americans with right-wing ideologies.
Latino Americans have also had a history of anti-Blackness. Black Honduran author Saraciea J. Fennell admits being taught as a young girl that light skin was better than dark skin. During an interview with CNN, she spoke about watching her siblings use bleach cream on their skin because they believed they were too dark.
“Once I got older, I realized it was an anti-Black practice because I was not being allowed to love the skin that I’m in,” she said during the interview. “We don’t tend to see stories publicly shared by those from the diaspora, it makes it seem as though we don’t exist.”
Minorities in America do not need to be on the opposite side of America’s fight for the soul of the country. White nationalists will try to convince anyone they are on the right side of history. Don’t fall for their malarkey to the point where you despise the people who look like you. If you have a voice to be a leader in the Latino community, don’t be bamboozled into fighting for the racists. Your people need you way more than they do.
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