Texas radio hosts suspended for 'ethnic slur' (updated)

Responding to outrage from the city's ethnic lobbies, a local radio station in ultra-liberal Austin, Tex., has suspended the two hosts of a local radio show. The men, during some morning banter on illegal immigration, uttered what's being called a hateful "ethnic slur" -- "wetbacks."

An excerpt from the program, as described by the politically correct daily paper, the Austin American-Statesman, related:
(Don) Pryor began using the word during a discussion at the outset of the show about the language used to describe people who are in the country illegally. (Todd) Jeffries noted that the USA Today newspaper uses the term "illegal immigrants" but not the words "illegal" or "illegals" as nouns, and avoids using the term "alien" unless it's in direct a quote.

"OK, so that's not PC," Pryor said.

When Jeffries said the National Council of La Raza, the Hispanic advocacy group, encourages the use of "undocumented immigrants" or "undocumented workers," Pryor asked: "Whatever happened to the good old word 'wetback' ? What was wrong with that?"

"Inappropriate," Jeffries responded.

Later during the discussion, Pryor, the son of local radio legend and humorist Cactus Pryor, said he was merely trying to come up "with a more efficient way of saying it, that's all, and just bring back a little of good ol' classic Americana."

According to Statesman writer Juan Castillo, "many Mexican Americans consider (the term "wetback) hurtful and highly offensive, on par with the n-word for African Americans." However, in a section for readers' comments, some Mexican-Americans say they have no problem with the word to describe Mexicans who are here working and living illegally.

One reader, summing up the controversy that has attracted a massive number of reader comments that reflect Austin's cultural divide, wrote:

I know plenty of Hispanics who use that term regularly to describe Hispanics that come across the border illegally. It's apparently a well-used term in the Hispanic community. But, when a white person uses the term, it's politically offensive. Thank god we have the PC police working to keep everyone in line. God help us. Don't we have more important things to worry about???

The Austin American-Statesman ended up taking down all 290 readers comments -- all made since this morning -- regarding its story on the alleged "ethnic slurs" (i.e. "wetbacks") made by two hosts of a local radio program. Apparently, strong comments by readers regarding illegal immigration -- together with the use of politically incorrect terms such as "wetbacks" -- were too much for Austin's ethnic lobbies. And so the comments had to go: A case of self-censorship by politically correct editors.

Meanwhile, the Statesman has posted audio of comments with this statement: "Editor's warning: Contains offensive language." You can judge for yourself whether the comments are hateful and offensive given the context in which they were made.

Incidentally, Statesman author Juan Castillo, in his article, mentioned alleged abuses evolving from an Eisenhower-era deportation program known as "Operation Wetback." Some quick research I did shows there were indeed some abuses. However, the program also appears to have been a huge success, as this fascinating article notes in the Christian Science Monitor.


Well, wouldn't you know it. The Austin American-Statesman is reporting that the city's "Hispanic leaders" are "not satisfied" with a two-week suspension (without pay) of two radio hosts who used an allegedly hateful word on the air -- "wetback." Accordingly, they're demanding that a local radio station take "further action." I sense you've got lots of good blog posts competing for space -- so I won't blog this on spec. However, I'd be happy to keep an eye on this. As usual, the readers' comments at the end of this article are illuminating. Read'em while you can before the politically correct Statesman deletes them!
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