Ethno-lunacy at the City Council

At the pre-stated press conference yesterday Speaker Mark-Viverito was asked about Donald Trump’s recent successes, particularly his strong showing among Hispanics in Nevada’s GOP primary. Mark-Viverito corrected the questioner: “Don’t you mean Bernie Sanders’ support among Latinos?”

No, the reporter averred: Trump did well specifically among Latinos. MMV dismissed the idea as ludicrous, saying that at most “150” Latinos voted for him. “There are barely any Latino Republicans in Nevada anyway.”

Maybe if the speaker were more on top of Nevada’s political realities she wouldn’t have been removed last September from the fundraising committee of the state’s US Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto, who wants to replace Harry Reid. You may recall that Cortez Masto cut ties with MMV because of her avowed support for Puerto Rican terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera.

The fact is that about 9% of the GOP Nevada caucus turnout was Hispanic, and about 40% of Hispanic voters went for Trump. Given GOP turnout was around 75,000, that leaves us with at least 2,700 Latino Trump supporters out of 6,750: not millions, but not 150 either. Given that the Speaker won her 2013 primary with less than 36% of the vote, it isn't really her place to minimize other people's electoral margins.

The secret about Latino voters in the United States is that immigration reform is not actually of great importance to them. To listen to Melissa Mark-Viverito and her cronies, one would think that the nation’s Hispanics are united in one voice demanding amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants, but it isn’t true. In this Gallup poll, immigration reform is 5th out of 6 in importance; this Pew Research study shows immigration is last in issues of “extreme importance” to registered Latino voters.

If the Speaker were to emerge from her bubble of Puerto Rican nationalism and Vasconcelosista-style supremacism, maybe she would discover that Latinos in America are more closely aligned with the political mainstream than she is.

Inez Barron gave one of her mini-lectures to the Council yesterday, on the topic of Black History Month. African-American history, according to CM Barron (no relation to your correspondent) “predates Columbus.” As a source, she recommended Ivan van Sertima’s notoriously unscholarly and tendentious work, They Came before Columbus.

This book, which has been thoroughly debunked (when it isn’t being ignored) by actual scholars of pre-Columbian history, posits (basically) that Mesoamerican civilization was built by Mandinka and Nubian émigrés to America about 30 centuries ago. Key evidences—cited by CM Barron—are the giant Olmec heads of Mexico, of which, she told the Council, “the features are distinctly African.”

If looking at ancient statues and imputing to them racial physiometrics sounds a little recherché to you, well you are not alone. As a historiographical tool, it is useless. The entire thesis of African diffusionism to America has no basis in reality. They Came before Columbus belongs to a genre of wacky Cold War-era pseudoscience that includes Holy Blood, Holy Grail; In Search of Noah’s Ark; Worlds in Collision; and The Late, Great Planet Earth, to name a few exemplars.

This isn’t the first time Inez Barron has taken time during a stated Council meeting to go off on one of her weird tangents: recall two years ago when she sang a hymn to the African “bloodline.” One supposes this is her hobby-horse, the way some people are train enthusiasts, or keep canaries. Couldn’t she save it for the weekends, though?

I asked CM Carlos Menchaca, who is Mexican-American, what he thought of Barron’s revisionist version of pre-Columbian history. After all, many critics have pointed out that van Sertima’s thesis is just another form of racist cultural appropriation, this time erasing native Mesoamerican accomplishment in favor of a narrative of African dominance. Menchaca looked at me like I was an unspeakable asshole, and condescendingly said, “I support all histories here at the City Council.” All “histories,” including pseudo-history, are welcome at the circus, I guess.