3.31.2013

To Rep. Don Young: 'Don't be Stupid'

Don Young Violates GOP 'Don't be Stupid' Policy


The cover-up is almost always worst than the crime. An awkward, thoughtless apology is worse than no apology at all. Witness US Congressman Don Young (Alaska), who told Ketchikan Public Radio


“"I used to own - my father had a ranch. We used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes,” – Source: Latino FoxNews

In a sign of changing times, everyone jumped on him for using this racial slur “wetbacks” - even some prominent Republicans. So in an effort to ice the situation, we get this rather half-baked apology from Rep. Young:

“I apologize for the insensitive term I used during an interview in Ketchikan, Alaska. There was no malice in my heart or intent to offend; it was a poor choice of words. That word, and the negative attitudes that come with it, should be left in the 20th century, and I’m sorry that this has shifted our focus away from comprehensive immigration reform.” – Source: Politico


Notice he seems not to understand that intent means nothing. It is good that he had no malice in his heart, but a derogatory term is an insult regardless of whether you say it with a smile or a growl on your face. He makes no apology for the fact that it was even in his vocabulary to begin with. Nor did he explain why he couldn't have just said “Latinos”, “Hispanics”, or simply “migrant workers”.

The reason he doesn't say these things of course is simply because that was the environment he grew up in. His father, family, the rest of the people in his world used the term “wetbacks” quite often, so it became natural to say it. People would be more forgiving if he had said that in the first place, but no – he tries to tell us that such terms should be “left in the 20th Century” as if we were the ones who use such language as recently as 1999. The really sad thing is – many in his party still refer to Latinos in such terms, including some of their most active voters.


Mr. Young, your party is attempting to woo Latinos. Although you are not the first nor the last Republican to insult our brown-skinned brethren, your remarks run counter to the stated objectives of the GOP. To you and all of your knuckle-headed cohorts, I'm offering a free template for you all to use each and every time you need to apologize to minorities.


Yesterday, I insulted (insert name of group) by using an offensive slur. I deeply regret using that term, and will not repeat it again. As I am only human, I ask for your forgiveness and your understanding.”

Correctly identifying the group is key.  You have to show you know how to address them properly.  Then, the apology has to be personal - no references to party agenda or national dialogue on the issue of the day.  A simple, non-partisan, personal and sincere apology is most effective. 

Then, leave it at that.... Accept the humility that you've cast upon yourself, ask for forgiveness, promise to never do it again – and you'd be amazed how positively people will react. I realize it is really, really hard for a conservative to admit to making an horrendous error – especially when it comes to apologizing to a group that you've long despised. But if the GOP really wants to win the confidence of the people and not rely on gerrymandering districts in order to remain relevant, then Republicans will have to man up and take its medicine.

Listen to your leader, Reince Priebus and take heed to the 2012 autopsy report – it hit a lot buttons. Do otherwise, and you and your party will perish.

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