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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bigots, not immigrants, should be made to feel unwelcome in Charlotte

Posted By on Thu, Jan 5, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Jess George
  • Jess George
Charlotte, like many other cities that have not historically dealt so much with large mixes of racial, ethnic and cultural differences (other than black and white), is riddled with bigotry these days. It plays out in the comments section of Creative Loafing, and it plays out in the comments section of The Charlotte Observer.

This morning, on the Charlotte Latin American Coalition's Facebook page, administrators posted this note that the Coalition's executive director, Jess George, wrote to city's daily newspaper

The Observer published an article celebrating the first Charlottean born in 2012, a boy of Latino heritage named Tommy. What followed was a litany of hateful and racist comments posted on the Observer website, so profane that site administrators disabled all comments.

On the paper's website, Ms. George goes on to say:

While I commend the Observer for removing hate speech, we can do more to curb anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiments. For example, we, including the Observer, need to stop using the word "illegal" when describing undocumented immigrants. It's offensive, dehumanizing and perpetuates stereotypes and comments like those removed from the website. By using accurate and respectful language the Observer can help reframe this issue. Then maybe we can get back to cooing over babies instead of sending them hate mail. Jess George Charlotte

Depressingly, as the Coalition also writes in its Facebook post, the comments in response to Ms. George's letter prove her point. (To see them, scroll down at this link.)

Do we really want to live in a city like this? Or would we rather change it? As editor of Creative Loafing, I would like to make a public appeal to change it.

It is the bigots, not Latino infants, who should be made to feel unwelcome in Charlotte.

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Creative Loafing encourages a healthy discussion on its website from all sides of the conversation, but we reserve the right to delete any comments that detract from that. Violence, racism and personal attacks that go beyond the pale will not be tolerated.

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