Saturday, October 15, 2022

About that racist meeting involving LA City Council members: Oaxaca is a historically significant state

California. Wikipedia has a whole separate article on the etymology of "California." But the subject here is about Los Angeles, California, particularly the City and the problem created this past week by the President of its City Council.

Specifically in a recording that was secretly made nearly a year ago involving three council members and a union president meeting about redistricting, Council President Nury Martinez made a series of racist remarks about blacks, Armenians, and Oaxacans that has thrown the city government into turmoil. The recording was recently leaked to the Los Angeles Times and you can read the many articles about it. Anyway, Martinez resigned.

More specifically, Martinez called indigenous immigrants from the Mexican state of Oaxaca who live in Los Angeles “dark little people,” adding “tan feos” (“they’re ugly”) and claimed she didn’t know where they came from.

A review of history - something not necessarily among the subjects familiar to Ms. Martinez - could lead her to Benito Pablo Juárez (picture at left), a Oaxacan of indigenous Zapotec origin, who was President of Mexico from 1858 to 1872 and who swapped correspondence with Abraham Lincoln.

There is some debate about how many letters they actually swapped and, because they couldn't visit each other and lacked cell phone technology, how much of their friendship story was fiction. We won't get into that here. The point is that one of the most prominent Presidents of Mexico was a well-educated Oaxacan.

It is troubling that Martinez claims she does not know where Oaxaca is while relying on her Mexican (or Latino, as she calls it) heritage to gain political advantage.

This is a disturbing reminder of how easy it is for humans everywhere to, within their minds, divide themselves into groups based upon race, ethnicity, language, religion, nationality, wealth, education, etc., for no particular purpose except to create conflict based upon artificial perceptions of superiority.

Anyway, the map below emphasizes the location of Oaxaca in the south of Mexico:

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