Lubbock Councilman Victor Hernandez Pens Race-Based Defense for Anti-Abbott Remarks
“I will not apologize for being an American of Mexican descent,” said Lubbock Councilman Victor Hernandez in response to the controversy over his reportedly referring to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott visiting a Hispanic restaurant while campaigning as AG Abbot having “came into our house uninvited.” The implication was that AG Abbott, being white, was not welcome in a Hispanic community without Councilman Hernandez’s prior approval. Neither AG Abbott nor anyone else on record attacked the councilman for being of Mexican descent.
The initial reported remarks that started the controversy also seemed to attack AG Abbott’s 32-year marriage to a Latina woman as being a ‘prop.’ The controversy reached new heights as Lubbock’s mayor publicly apologized on behalf of the city over the embattled Councilman’s reported statements. Councilman Hernandez, however, denied that the “props” remark was directed at AG Abbott’s wife. Interestingly, the councilman did not address the “came into our house uninvited” aspect.
What purpose Councilman Hernandez had in implying that a causal relationship exists to his having made racially divisive and seemingly racial-separatist remarks and him being of Mexican-American descent remains unclear at this time.
State-wide media, predominantly left-of-center, addressed the controversy while failing to raise objections to the “came into our house uninvited” remark.
Councilman Hernandez is no stranger to public scandals and spats. In 2013, Hernandez survived a recall effort organized by former Lubbock county commissioners over allegations of official misconduct.
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Councilman Hernandez's full letter is presented below:
My name is Victor Hernandez and I am the current Chairman of the Lubbock Chapter of Tejano Democrats.
As you know, I delivered a statement publicly this past Wednesday (February 26, 2014) concerning the overall negative tone being taken against the Hispanic community by Republican candidates vying for their party's nomination.
Since then, commentary on my statement has included two primary assertions. The first concerns the use of the metaphor "our house" and the second, concerns a tale involving candidate Greg Abbott's wife and the word "prop." Since I have publicly addressed both of these issues, I will not revisit them here.
However (and related to the responses by the Abbott campaign to my February 26th statement), I must admit that I find perplexing the fact that the Abbott campaign responded to my statement at all. Surely it cannot be because of any clout I sway in either local or state Republican Party politics. And, surely it cannot be because of any personal financial wealth which I could contribute to his opponents.
After much thought and reflection, I realized that the Abbott Campaign is not faint-hearted when it comes to me personally but rather, the Abbott Campaign is afraid of the message I, and others across the state (including his fellow Republicans), have brought forth. Sadly, the message the Texas Republican Party fears is one of basic humanity, i.e., Hispanics are "people," Hispanics are fellow "human beings," Hispanics should be respected, engaged and understood.
One would believe that all people, whether seeking political office or not, would recognize these basic tenets. One would believe that, in the year 2014, we should not have to have this discussion at all. And, one would believe that the Texas Republican Party would not engage in such tactics.
I will not apologize for being an American of Mexican descent. I will not apologize for being a Texan of Mexican descent. I will however, apologize to all people of goodwill, regardless of race or ethnicity and, regardless of party affiliation, for the insensitivity being exhibited by the Texas Republican Party towards the Hispanic community.
The Latino community is not a problem to be dealt with or worse yet, to be dismissed. The Hispanic community is very much a part of Texas, the Hispanic community is very much a part of America.
In closing, my name is Victor Hernandez. I am a person. I am a human being. I am a first generation American of Mexican descent. I am a first generation Texan of Mexican descent. I deserve to be respected, to be engaged and to be understood.