Donald Trump Says Jeb Bush “Speaks Mexican”. So What?
“Jeb Bush is crazy, who cares that he speaks Mexican, this is America, English !!”
This is what Donald Trump said about Jeb Bush last night.
Normally, I don’t like to defend Jeb Bush, whose right wing, pro-corporate policies I object highly to. However, in this case, I think it’s important that we understand the context of Trump’s attack on Bush.
Anyone with a solid high school education understands Donald Trump’s mistake in saying that Jeb Bush speaks Mexican. Bush speaks Spanish.
When Trump says that Bush speaks Mexican, he demonstrates his cultural ignorance. Trump was born into money, and was kept in a cocoon from a young age until he was allowed to burst out into the world, fully uninformed.
The United States shouldn’t be led by a person with this kind of ignorance, but simple ignorance isn’t the main problem with what Trump said. The cultural context is.
Jeb Bush became Governor of Florida instead of Governor of Texas because of a systematic anti-Latino bigotry. His wife is from Mexico, and endured such a huge torrent of racist remarks while living in Texas that they fled the state for someplace less hateful toward Hispanics.
Donald Trump has built his political campaign upon this same fervent bigotry, making people from Latin America scapegoats for every challenge the USA has to deal with. Trump has made this anti-Latino prejudice the main plank in his strategy for defeating Jeb Bush in the Republican primary. In July, Trump tweeted that, “#JebBush has to like the illegal Mexicans because of his wife”.
To refuse to acknowledge that the language most Mexican people speak is Spanish is to to refuse to acknowledge a long history of brutal colonial control of Mexico by the Spanish Empire. It isn’t just ignorance of the moment. It’s an ill-informed systematic cultural distortion.
That distortion doesn’t just affect Mexico and its people. It warps political culture here in the United States as well, as reflected by the English Only demand at the end of Donald Trump’s message last night. When Donald Trump demands that Americans speak only one language, he prioritizes ethnic hatred above freedom. There is no freedom of speech in a country that tells people that they aren’t allowed to use words from languages other than the one approved of by political elites. Besides, there are huge parts of the United States where Spanish has been spoken for a much longer period of time than English, or any other European language.
It would be one thing if Donald Trump simply slipped in his language, and accidentally failed to correctly identify the language Mexican people speak as Spanish. That’s not what happened last night. Donald Trump didn’t just write his tweet about Jeb Bush speaking Mexican. That tweet was almost immediately criticized on Twitter, and Trump campaign staff have seen the tweet. Nonetheless, the Trump campaign hasn’t taken the bigoted tweet down and apologized for it. In classic Trump fashion, Trump is proudly keeping his hatred and ignorance on full central display.
Sadly, it’s Donald Trump’s distinctively unapologetic bigotry that is winning him the support of so many Republican voters. It’s just 7:25 AM, and Trump made his angry, ignorant tweet at 11:00 PM last night, but already, there are thousands of Trump’s supporters retweeting and favoriting his message that Jeb Bush speaks Mexican and that Americans should only be allowed to speak English.