Opinion | The Most Ridiculous Part of the L.A. City Council President’s Apology

Nury Martinez, the disgraced former president of the Los Angeles City Council, says there is “no excuse” for the racist remarks she made a leaked recording that infuriated city dwellers and horrifying people all over the world. She was right as much. To treat a Council member’s black child as a little monkey is utterly vile and obvious.

She said she was sorry, and she should, even though I always wondered: Apologize for the hate and hurt she’s caused, or sorry that she’s in now a wounded world?

But Martinez, in his necessary apology, also said something ludicrous – ludicrous but relatable. “As a mother,” she admitted, “I know better.”

As a mother?

I am not a mother. I’m not a father either. But, miraculously, I also know better. And I am both amused and offended by the notion that having children often gives someone more sensitivity and a sharper conscience. If that was the case, this world would be in a significantly better state than it is now. It’s a stalemate with parents – you can’t throw a binky without hitting one – and somehow the bigotry and ruthlessness are working well.

Statement by Martinez, who resignation from the Council on Wednesday amid a national uproar over her remarks, raised another popular but controversial idea, that women in general and women leaders in particular do not split reflexively and without cause like men. That’s them more people merge instincts, more people nurture naturally – and as such, show greater concern for the welfare of future generations.

Martinez, after all, doesn’t say “as a parent.” She specifies her gender, and doing so promotes gender if a woman is conceited. I admit that, I admit to being a conceit. I really think we would be well served with more women in leadership roles, in both the public and private sectors, and not just a matter of representation.

But I also think that our discussions on the matter can be taken lightly and that our analysis of the evidence is selective. When we in the media admire a female prime minister (Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand, Sanna Marin in Finland) we often liken her to an allegory of women’s untapped potential. When not (Liz Truss in the UK, Giorgia Meloni in Italy), we tend to shy away from such grand generalizations.

Martinez’s racist remarks occurred during a meeting last year with three men: Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, who serve with her on the City Council, and Ron Herrera, who heads a group powerful local labor organization. It is unknown who created and released the recording, but later The Los Angeles Times published an article about it on Sunday, Martinez stepped down as chairman of the Council – despite not being a Council member – and later announced his resignation. That failed to quell the public fury, which led to her abandoning the council altogether. Herrera also resigned. There were widespread calls, including from President Biden, for Cedillo and de León to step down from their posts.

The whole bad episode speaks to the pervasiveness and brutality of racism, even among people of color – Martinez was the first Latina Council president – and even among members of the same ethnic group. ethnicity. In the recording, Martinez calls Oaxacan immigrants from Mexico “little black people”.

As we all know but too often overlooked, racism comes from every corner of society, in all shapes and stripes and sizes. Parents, regardless of their responsibility, are responsible for modeling ethical behavior for their children and instilling good values ​​in them. Martinez’s apology insinuating that parents have some special effort to rise above prejudice and hate will be news to anyone who has witnessed them resist school inclusion. study or denounce gay teachers as “clumsiness.”

And suggesting that women tend to be empathetic has edited a lot of them and large chunks of history out of the picture.

Historian Linda Gordon says in a 2018 article in Mic by Jack Smith about her book The Return of the KKK, which chronicles the role women played in the rise of that hate group in the 1920s. The headline on the article: “Why Women women have always been essential to white supremacist movements.”

In this month’s Air Mail, George Pendle wrote that Italy’s Meloni “is the most spectacular example of a recent trend in European politics in which charismatic women have taken power from far-right political parties and led them to increasingly legal. Just look at Marine Le Pen in France, Alice Weidel in Germany, Pia Kjaersgaard in Denmark or Siv Jensen in Norway.” Pendle specifically mentions “a rather disturbing obsession with what Weidel calls ‘genetic unity’.”

Here in the United States, I am rather alarmed by current members of Congress such as Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, just to name two prominent women in the MAGA brigade. By the way, Greene has three kids, and Boebert has four, proving that moms are just as messy as the rest of us. They are selfless and narcissistic, creators and destroyers, open and closed, color blind and color conscious.

It’s not because she’s a mother that Martinez should know better than throwing racist insults. That’s because she’s human.


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