IN NEED OF SENSITIVITY TRAINING © 2000 ABIP
by Agustín Blázquez with the collaboration of Jaums Sutton
Recently, Lee Alcorn, president of the Dallas National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was suspended from his position and later had to resign for his political disagreement comments about the positions of Al Gore’s Jewish vice presidential nominee, Senator Joseph Lieberman’s.
John Rocker, pitcher for the Atlanta Braves was fined $20,000 on January 31 and ordered to undergo "sensitivity training" for his offensive remarks about foreigners, minorities and AIDS victims (The Washington Post, Dave Sheinin, Sports, pg. D1). Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder, CBS sport commentator, in 1988 had to publicly apologize and was fired for his racist remarks. For some time, sensitivity training has been going on in the U.S. government as well as in the corporate world.
With the imposition in the U.S. of Marxist-rooted "political correctness," Americans have to employ a guarded form of freedom of speech. But this course seems to be developing with a double standard built in, which is being loosely applied at will by the self-appointed guardians of this form of selective censorship. For example, The Washington Post got away with Judy Mann’s January 4 insulting column "Cuban Exiles’ Obsession Is Catching" and the satire of Hank Stuever’s "The Little Merman" on January 29, poking fun at the Elián González story and the Cuban American community, although it is a story of death and suffering. And on April 4, "How Low Can Al Go" another column deriding Cuban Americans by Washington Post’s Mary McGrory.
Post cartoonist Herblock got away unblemished and with no apology for his racist cartoon on April 19, page A26, suggesting that Cuban Americans "dissatisfied with laws of the U.S." be given "free one-way" tickets to Cuba. Would he and the Post say that to black Americans or Jews, sending them back to Africa or Israel? I don’t think so. The Post’s self-imposed double standard makes it "OK."
Despite telephone calls, letters, faxes and emails of protests, unrepentant, on April 21, page A26, the Post’s Herblock portrayed Elián’s Miami family (echoing Castro’s propaganda) as "kidnappers". And April 28, page A30, derides Elián’s Miami family and supporters showing the Cuban flag among the scattered trash.
Even in the nation’s capital, The Washington Post has been distinguished by its malicious attacks toward Cuban Americans in many articles and editorials. This is not a matter of the Cuban Americans vs. The Washington Post’s or Herblock’s freedom of speech. It is a matter of blatant bigotry offending the over one million Cuban Americans in the U.S. Where does "political correctness" stand in relation to Cuban Americans? Why does the Post have the privilege of exercising a freedom of speech denied to Lee Alcorn, John Rocker and Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder?
To be fair, The Washington Post has not been the only U.S. media institution engaging in the wave of insults against the Cuban American minority in the U.S. The New York Times, a pillar of the liberal left, has been among the most racist of American newspapers engaged in the despicable practice of striking out against Cuban Americans. That is a contradiction since the liberals and the left claim to be against all forms of discrimination. What is their justification for disregarding it when referring to Cuban Americans?
The U.S. television media did not lag behind in their attacks against the Cuban American community. From the most "sublime" and untouchable anchorpersons like Dan Rather and Peter Jennings, to the ridiculous like Geraldo Rivera, participated in the bashing of the Cuban American minority, distorting and manipulating the news to satisfy the aims of their bias.
Since Cuban Americans in Miami are being effectively maligned and labeled by the U.S. media as the "Miami Mafia," - echoing Castro’s propaganda - I will not register their comments, because they would be automatically disqualified and dismissed. However, this is what a Cuban American in Huntington Park, California said, "The type of bashing we are receiving in the media is astonishing. The manner in which the media negatively broad-brushed Cuban Americans would be inconceivable if we were any other ethnic, racial or national group. It is ‘Open Season’ on Cuban Americans. This is ridiculous.
"It’s not only racist terms like ‘Banana Republic,’ the unfairness also comes in more subtle terms. During Saturday’s demonstrations [April 29, 2000] in Miami, all the networks purposely left the impression that the number of counter-demonstrators was equal to or greater than Cuban Americans. They placed their camera angles at an extremely low position so as to betray the fact that there were only a small number of counter-demonstrators. It is amazing to me that the U.S. ‘free’ press would stoop so low. I saw ‘Geraldo’ last night. He, Travis Smiley and Arianna Huffington ambushed [Miami] Mayor Carollo and degraded the Cuban American community."
From Marina, California, a professor says, "It is terrible what is happening. I cannot even look at the television news, it is so distorted."
A resident of Washington, D.C. says, "I do not understand why we are so hated. I cannot believe it is only due to a lack of international affairs education. We are peaceful, hard working and do not abuse the system. We are not drug addicts or lords, we are constructive, well adjusted, proud American citizens. We fought in Vietnam, we rebuilt cities, we do not destroy properties like the WTO protesters, the anti-American Vietnam groups, so what is it?"
From Arlington, Virginia, a musician says, "Peter Jennings is a disgrace and will some day be exposed as the terrible whatever one could call him . . . certainly not a journalist by any means."
From Astoria, New York, "When Cuba is free, we must have a special room set aside for Peter Jennings. I suggest that we take La Cabaña [Fortress] and turn it into our Holocaust Museum. In one wing, the Peter Jennings Wing, there will be blown up pictures of Peter Jennings obsequiously fawning before Castro and an on-going video will show Jennings talking about Cuba’s advances, while at the same time another screen will flash real statistics about Cuba’s dead, her victims, the reality about Cuba’s indoctrination, brainwashing schools, etc."
From Kansas City, Missouri, "A perfectly painful example was evidenced the night last summer when Coast Guard officials tried to drown four Cuban rafters with water cannons and pepper spray. Because the episode lasted so long, the local ABC affiliate captured and broadcast live a good chunk of the atrocity. In Peter Jennings’ coverage of the incident later that night, ‘the Cuban American Mafia – which had loaded roadways leading to the beach in protest – was in an uproar over nothing again.’ The Jennings video clip showed screaming, frantic motorists and then cut away to two calm Coast Guard officials gently leading the rafters on to vans for transport to Krome and questioning. Funny, the calm that followed that storm only came on high order after many respected, democratically-elected politicians led the charge of civil unrest against injustice that day."
And to add insult to injury, on August 15, in Glynco, Georgia, the Clinton administration represented by Immigration and Naturalization Commissioner Doris Meissner, honored 114 federal agents who violated the home of Elian Gonzalez’s American relatives in Miami and kidnapped the 6-year-old boy, handling him on a silver platter - at U.S. taxpayer expense – to Castro’s regime. This is nothing short of a reward for a crime and major violations of U.S. laws by an administration characterized by its immorality and corruption.
Cuban Americans of all ages throughout the U.S. have been offended and disgusted by the attacks they have being receiving for decades from the U.S. media but especially during and after the Elián González case. They have taken note of this discriminatory and abusive behavior of the U.S. media and the Clinton Administration. The Elián experience has served to unite Cubans in their goal for a free and democratic Cuba, and awaken a new young generation of Cuban Americans born in the U.S., who now is taking an active part in braking up the wall of censorship about the reality of Cuba.
The prevalent misinformation and distortion by the media is one of the main causes as to why the majority of the American people are clueless about what Cuban Americans stand for and who the real enemy has been and still is. America must wake up and demand to learn the real facts of what has been happening in Cuba for the last 41 years. It is time to clearly expose the roots of where "political correctness" is coming from and how the media is using it as a convenient tool to further their political goals. And why Americans are rapidly losing their freedom of expression and becoming political prisoners.
If "political correctness" is a fair movement, it should apply to all. Not as the U.S. media is doing by censuring all forms of freedom of speech that does not agree with their Marxist-rooted beliefs. To be fair, these zealots, guardian of the faith, should, like John Rocker, take sensitivity training, but this time in relation to Cuban Americans and the victims of communism.
Producer/Director of the documentaries COVERING CUBA, CUBA: THE PEARL OF THE
ANTILLES and the upcoming COVERING CUBA 2: THE NEW GENERATION