Rep. Castro Blasts Brokaw for ‘Xenophobia’

Mike Segar / Reuters
Mike Segar / Reuters

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), the twin brother of 2020 presidential candidate Julian Castro, ripped NBC’s Tom Brokaw on Sunday for his “xenophobia” and ignorance after Brokaw said that Latinos needed to do more to assimilate.

“.@tombrokaw, for a celebrated @NBCNews journalist who spent years chronicling American society you seem stunningly ignorant of the Hispanic community in this country,” Castro tweeted. “Unfortunate to see xenophobia pass for elevated political commentary.”

On Meet The Press, Brokaw said that he has “been saying for a long time” that Hispanics “should work harder at assimilation.”

“And a lot of this, we don’t want to talk about. But the fact is, on the Republican side, a lot of people see the rise of an extraordinary, important, new constituent in American politics, Hispanics, who will come here and all be Democrats. Also, I hear, when I push people a little harder, ‘Well, I don’t know whether I want brown grandbabies,’” Brokaw said. “I mean, that’s also a part of it. It’s the intermarriage that is going on and the cultures that are conflicting with each other. I also happen to believe that the Hispanics should work harder at assimilation. That’s one of the things I’ve been saying for a long time. You know, they ought not to be just codified in their communities but make sure that all their kids are learning to speak English, and that they feel comfortable in the communities. And that’s going to take outreach on both sides, frankly.”

Brokaw first tweeted that he felt “terrible” that some of his “comments on Hispanics offended some members of that proud culture.” After that tweet got backlash, Brokaw claimed that his Twitter account failed him “at the worst time” and said he was “sorry, truly sorry,” that his comments “were offensive to many.”

Castro said that in Texas in the 1950s, Spanish was “literally beaten out of children,” and parents “became reluctant to pass down the Spanish language and kids came to associate it with notions of shame and inferiority.”

“That’s one reason why I find it so ironic that often times Hispanics today are shamed if they don’t speak Spanish,” added Castro, whose brother Julian has been criticized by some for not being fluent in Spanish and answering Univision anchor Jorge Ramos’s questions in English.



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