August 20, 2003


While Katie Couric complains about GOP candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger being “the son of a Nazi party member” and international media outlets assail Schwarzenegger adviser Pete Wilson as “anti-immigrant” and “racially divisive,” the liberal press has been stone-cold silent on Bustamante’s connection to one of the nation’s most virulently racist organizations. . . .

MEChA has been dismissed by some as a harmless social club, but it operates an identity politics indoctrination machine on publicly subsidized college and high school campuses nationwide that would make David Duke and the KKK turn green with envy. MEChA members in the University of California system have rioted in Los Angeles, editorialized that federal immigration “pigs should be killed, every single one” in San Diego, and are suspected of breaking into a conservative student publication’s offices and stealing its entire print run in Berkeley.

MEChA’s symbol is an eagle clutching a dynamite stick and machete-like weapon in its claws; its motto is ” Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada (For the Race, everything. For those outside the Race, nothing).” . . .

Why should Bustamante, a public figure already known to have used a racial epithet in the past (he infamously used the word “nigger” while addressing a Black History Month event two years ago) get a pass?

I guess I should be surprised that this story has gotten so little attention, but I’m not.

UPDATE: Here’s a DeWayne Wickham piece on Bustamante’s use of the n-word. Bustamante apologized, but it’s what slipped out. One can only imagine how people would respond if Bush — or Schwarzenegger — made a similar slip. And it doesn’t explain MECha.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Pedro Cardenas emails:

I attended Cal-Berkeley and although MeCHA’s politics are backward, as a group it’s rather harmless. It’s all bark, no bite. Just clueless college kids playing revolutionary and for what it’s worth, you get that a lot at Cal from many groups. (At a high school level, they weren’t that much better. I attended Garfield High in East Los Angeles and didn’t know of its existence until after graduation. I’m sure most people were surprised as well).

Not surprising — but the point is the group’s racism, not its effectiveness. Most white-supremacist groups are equally ineffectual, but a major-party candidate’s membership in one would get a lot more attention than this has gotten. That’s a double standard.

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