Yesterday, The Plain Dealer published a front-page article
on recent census results that found that Latino surnames Garcia and Rodriguez have creeped into the top 10 most common surnames in America. The PD, never one to pass up a chance to be cutesy — this is the same paper that provided cut-out midge masks after bugs swarmed against the Yankees — gave the story to a guy named Smith, who began the article, “Congratulations Garcia and Rodriguez. Welcome to the club.” Robert Smith then extolled some of the hassles of having such a common name — like ordering pizza.
“If a surname signifies numbers in America,” Smith continued, “you and other Latinos have made a lasting mark.”
Hey PD: Thanks, man. I’ll watch out for the pizza shit, esse
Understand what I did there? See, my name’s Garcia
(forget about that Anglo shit after the hyphen; I just use that to get tables at fancy restaurants). So I, Latino Last Name Guy, responded to Smith, Common White Dude Name Guy. Trust me -- it was historic.
Of course, the real story is the comments posted in response on the PD’s website
. Sort of like wearing a leather gimp suit and waving a gay pride flag outside of the Westboro Baptist Church
, mentioning Latinos in Cleveland is bound to spark a healthy, reasoned debate. Good ol’ “rael1” kicked off the roundtable with, “I wonder how many of those are legal immigrants?." Noted pundit “Chappell” then started his rant engine slowly, with “I don't hate Mexicans but they really have no business here when we have so many issues that need to be worked out among ourselves.” He blasted into third gear for his next comment, mimicking a foreign accent and declaring, “Yes, you be a like Native Americano a defeated people. We kick a you butt and take a you land. Now go away!”
You see what happens you try to publish a nice, cutesey article, PD? Readers sign on and denigrate Native-Americans and Mexicans, typing with an inadvertently Italian accent. You just can’t win. -- Gus Garcia-Roberts