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F*ck You, Tom Brokaw

Racist old white man says racist old white man stuff. What a shocker.
Image via CNN

Image via CNN

On Sunday's Meet the Press, ancient white male Tom Brokaw forgot he was on camera and had an uncensored moment of ancient white maleness where he let us know how little he thinks of the Latino community's ability to assimilate into American culture:

“I also happen to believe that the Hispanics should work harder at assimilation. That’s one of the things I’ve been saying for a long time, you know. They ought not to be just codified in their communities but make sure that all their kids are learning to speak English and that they feel comfortable in their communities, and that’s gonna take outreach on both sides frankly.”

Ahem. Fuck you, Tom Brokaw. As for your apology? Nope. I don't care that you realized what an jackass you looked like after social media came down on you like a fleet of taco trucks. You don't say something like that unless you really believe it. And guess what? You said it so take your mea culpa and stuff it.

I may not be a famous globe-trotting journalist like you but I did spend the first 40 years of my life in New York City, one of the most diverse cities in the world, while you grew up in South Dakota, one of the whitest states in the nation. So let me tell you about "Hispanics" and their kids. 

In every place I've worked, I've met "Hispanics" and their kids. I've worked in Queens, in Manhattan, in the Bronx, in Brooklyn, in Westchester, all over Long Island, and in Connecticut and New Jersey. Now I live in Alexandria, Virginia and my community is predominantly Latino, so there are plenty of "Hispanics." Since I'm on the PTA, I'm around their kids constantly.

Would it surprise you to discover how few of those kids don't speak English? The ones who don't only arrived in the country within the past few months. I've had kids in Pre-K translate for me so their parents could understand what I was saying. Pre-K, in case you don't know, is about 4 years old. Do you understand what I'm saying? There are children barely out of diapers whose parents cannot speak English who are able to translate for them. 

Obviously, you didn't know that because you think a lack of English proficiency is an ongoing problem. For a world-famous journalist whose opinion is highly sought after, your ignorance is appalling. You might as well have wondered out loud if they carry smallpox. That's how stupid you sounded. Tell me again about how "Hispanic" children are not assimilating.

I know you're over 50 years removed from having kids in elementary school, and being from lily-white South Dakota, you probably have zero experience with a school system that has a diverse student population. My school has kids from over 70 different countries who speak over 100 different languages. We have an entire staff of dedicated English Second Language professionals who teach newly-arrived immigrant children how to speak, read, and write in English. Every school in Alexandria has a staff of ESL teachers for this purpose. I'll bet money that every city larger than Podunk, South Dakota has the exact same thing. 

But, sure, we have to worry about their kids being "codified" in their communities, whatever the hell that means.


I am so tired of making excuses for Boomers and the Silent Generation, especially in the media. "That's just how they are" is worn out. The 1960s were literally more than half a century ago. The bullshit that comes out these people's mouths is so patently ridiculous it's astonishing they can keep a straight face.

Brokaw is representative of a media elite that has no idea what life is like outside of their bubble. He only knows a distorted stereotype of Latinos because he exists in a universe where all of his friends are rich insiders looking out at the hoi polloi and wondering why they’re ruining America. One shudders to imagine what his inside voice has to say about blacks. 

Sure, the racism of people saying they don't want "brown grandbabies" is bad enough, but can't we admit that "Hispanics" not assimilating is just as bad? I mean, my goodness! Their kids don't even speak English! I think. I haven't haven't actually met any so I'm just going by what I've heard but it makes sense, right?

This arrogant and privileged mindset is what led the media to obsess over Trump's white nationalist voters for the last two years while blatantly ignoring Obama's for eight. The only time "both sides" are worth giving equal time is when there is guilt to be assigned. Otherwise, the life experiences of the non-white, non-male, non-conservatives just aren't important to people like Brokaw.

Fuck Tom Brokaw and everyone like him.

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