Funny thing, how people who make the loudest proclamations about how skin color and ethnicity have no relevance to a person’s prospects in life, often turn their attention to skin color or ethnicity ahead of anything else.
Along those lines, there were lessons aplenty in the Wisconsin Legislature’s Black and Latino Caucus pondering the admission of White legislators who represent districts with predominantly Black or Latino populations. Apparently unacquainted with the concept of irony, the caucus opened the New Year by saying it would allow Whites to meet with their minority peers, but not to vote on caucus issues.
That could have been enough of a story all by itself, but when you’re in the business of racial credentialing, things get complicated. Questions arose over the Legislature’s newest Hispanic member, State Rep. Jesse Rodriguez, being invited to join the caucus.
If you thought that would be automatic, you probably didn’t realize that Rep. Rodriguez, an actual legal immigrant from El Salvador, is—how to put it politely?—controversial, and not in any of the good ways. Rep. Rodriguez, you see, is (cover the children’s eyes,) a REPUBLICAN!
State Rep. Mandela Barnes (D-Milwaukee), who chairs the Black and Hispanic Caucus, commented for a Racine Journal-Times story about Rodriguez’ potential participation. Seven paragraphs in, Barnes, no doubt inadvertently, tips us off to what the caucus is all about. It’s not really about race or ethnicity, it’s about peddling the same old Liberal crud. In this case, race and ethnicity serve as convenient firewalls against criticism of failed policy ideas.
Rep. Rodriguez knows how to offer that criticism. In the Black and Latino Liberal Caucus it might have been a dose of reality even more unwelcome than voting by White legislators.