Warning: This post includes such childish and disturbing attitudes that it may not be appropriate for children, unless they’re disturbed. The bad stuff is after the jump.
Like most folks raised in Houston, I grew up with the Houston rodeo, which was held in the Astrodome back in the day.
When I was little, my family would attend, and I’d be glued to the action in the arena with complete fascination. While in high school, the Livestock Show next door in the Astrohall was the place to hang out with friends and flirt with the girls. Later as an adult, one year I scored a press pass to the rodeo and attended almost every night of the 20-day event.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was big fun, so frankly I didn’t pay much attention when Mario Gallegos went to war against them a while back.
Besides being a client, State Senator Mario Gallegos is a good friend, and a good guy. He stays close to the folks he represents, knows their concerns, and plugs away at it every day, best he can. He’s had his ups and downs in life, and brings those experiences to the floor of the Texas Senate, with a clearer understanding than most of what regular folks go through. You couldn’t really ask for more than that in a public servant.
So Mario went to war against the Houston rodeo. Yeah, I know – in Houston, the cows don’t get much more sacred than that. I guessed at the time that it was going to go over just about as well as if he’d challenged the Queen of England to a mud wrestling contest.
Mario was, and still is, trying to get the rodeo to increase the transparency and diversity of their operations. Also working on this is Ben Mendez, who heads up the National Hispanic Professional Organization. It’s a big deal – the Houston rodeo organization brings in millions a year.
When Senator Gallegos and I were together earlier this week, after listening to his update on the rodeo fight, and telling me he was persona non grata at the rodeo this year because of it, I did what any socially-conscious progressive from Texas would have done: I asked him if I could have his rodeo tickets. You think I’m kidding. Unfortunately, so did he.
Since I haven’t lived in Houston for 20 years, I might never have paid much attention to this fight. And, I couldn’t testify in court about whether the rodeo is right or wrong, although I’ve certainly seen plenty of situations in which old established institutions could, and should, do a lot more to promote diversity. Those institutions usually have to be shaken and stirred quite a bit to spur them to act, so I’m guessing Gallegos and Mendez have a point.
Yesterday, the attitudes which make their point salient were abruptly, harshly, grotesquely quantified.
Due to local media coverage of this disagreement, Ben Mendez has been getting a lot of emails. Maybe Senator Gallegos has too – I just haven’t asked him about it, and he’s never asked me to write about the rodeo situation.
Several of the worst of the emails Mr. Mendez has received made their way to a friend of his, who forwarded them to Democratic activist Carl Whitmarsh, who through the magic of his 8,300-person email list, put them in a lot of in-boxes yesterday evening.
And at the risk of violating my own rule on my site against publishing filth (not including my picture), I’m going to share them.
It’s worth noting that there is no evidence that any of these emails are from paid employees of the rodeo. I have reprinted them as I received them (except for one, in which I deleted a very long quote not original to the email writer).
From “HIGH taxpayer” firstname.lastname@example.org, who is unclear whether she is a payer of high taxes, or is simply a taxpayer who is high:
It’s not enough that those of us who work for a living provide you and yours (YEAH, I MEAN the minorities…Mexicans in particular!) with their very existence here in this State and City…i.e., food, clothing and shelter, not to mention EDUCATION and MEDICAL CARE (which by the way is bankrupting this state and Nation!)
YOU have the NERVE to gripe and complain at the urging of the Jackson-Lee’s and Quanell X’s (does that ‘X’ stand for 10??) around Houston…YOU have the gall to literally BITE the hand that has been feeding you and those like you……..
As a HIGH taxpayer let me say this: GO AWAY!! WE do not NEED you nor want to hear from you!
From Ray Johnson (email@example.com), who is concerned with liberal noses:
Why don’t you go to Mexico and start your own RODEO. Keep your Liberal hands and nose out of the most successful, best entertainment in Houston.
From Kathryn Clifton (firstname.lastname@example.org), with significant unintended irony, and many many capital letters:
EVERYONE SUMMITS BIDS THE SAME…PERHAPS IF YOUR PEOPLE SPOKE ENGLISH AND SUBMITTED THEM IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE THEY MIGHT BE ACCEPTED… WHY DON’T YOU SPEND YOUR TIME TEACHING YOUR PEOPLE HOW TO SPEAK OUR LANGUAGE…WE LIVE IN HOUSTON TEXAS SPEAK OUR LANGUAGE
YES IS GIVES ME INSIGHT….SAME OLD THING DIFERENT DAY…YOU PEOPLE WANT SOMETHING FOR NOTHING…YOU TAKE AND TAKE AND TAKE AWAY FROM OUR GOD GIVNE RIGHTS, YOU TAKE OPPERTUNITIUES THAT YOU HAVEN’T EARNED, YOU KEEP YOU JAND OUT AND TAKE AWAY FROM MY CHILDREN…I SAY ENOUGH OF YOUR BULLSHIT…START YOUR OWN DAMN RODEO AND LEAVE US ENGLISH SPEAKING TAX PAYING HARD WORKING AMERICAN CITIZENS THE HELL ALONE….I’D RETHINK THAT PROTEST YOU HAVE SCHEDULED…..THERE’S ALOT A PISSED OFF ANGLOS OUT HERE JUST WAITING TO LET THEIR VOICES BE HEARD! BUT THANKS FOR YOUR EMAIL YOU IDIOT!
From Jeff Kitzman (email@example.com), who plays the “you fricken Mexicans” card:
Why don’t you go get a job and start your own rodeo? I’m really sick and tired of you fricken Mexicans wanting everything that all the rest of us have worked for for years to make great. Start out with getting your own people to obey the laws and pay taxes. Keep them from sending there non english speaking kids to school on the tax payers dime. And keep them from having babies and using the hospitals for free. Then we will talk about you interfering with a rodeo that has done good things for people for years.
From Ty Davidson (firstname.lastname@example.org), who must be exhausted after using all those exclamation points:
I have an idea! Go have your own rodeo in MEXICO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
From Les Jordan (email@example.com), who was kind enough to include his place of employment and his contact numbers:
In answer to your accusations against the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
I believe you are correct to be proud of your heritage and I am extremely proud of mine. I know if I did not like it here in Texas, USA I would go back to the place of my ancestry.
So may I suggest you and your followers get out of Texas and head south. I understand everyday is Mexican Heritage Day!
Texas Star Foods
Tejas Food Brokers
From Cindy Knapp (cindy.knapp@WorleyParsons.com), who was kind enough to include her phone number:
Go back to Mexico.
From Gail Caffey (firstname.lastname@example.org), who “finds” things a lot, and who, while urging high school graduations, indicates through her lack of proper grammar that she might need a few additional classes herself:
I find that if your ethnic background of people or the Hispanic community wanted to be a part of the rodeo they would be able to do that by paying their membership dues and volunteering their time just as anyone else out there on the rodeo committee does at this point.
Maybe if the Hispanic community would find something better to do with their time, they could be part of a great organization that I belong. They should learn to volunteer their time and not take from others for something they have not worked for. I find that you as an individual just want to make a name for yourself and this seems to be a way for you to do it. Why don’t you find another organization to pick on? Also if you look into the back grounds of what is required you will see that it takes for someone to graduate from school with a certain standard of grades. If I recall your Hispanic community is the ones that are listed on the highest drop out rates of none graduating. You all have to practically pick these children up yourselves just to get them to school and get the just barely passing to graduate. Maybe as a community you should be teaching them better morals and discipline.
From email@example.com, who apparently speaks for all Caucasians nation-wide, and who proclaims “I are sick and disgusted:”
I – along with the rest of the Caucasian population all over the USA – are SICK of and DISGUSTED by the whining, crying and accusations from Hispanics and Blacks to have more opportunity and freebees and handouts and charity and welfare. All of you are living in a self-defeating irresponsible world of entitlement. Also — Blacks are NOT African-Americans unless they were born in Africa and moved here. They are BLACK or NEGRO, if they care to be singled out for their race. But if they and you were true AMERICANS you would choose to be called just that – AMERICANS. Do you see white people demanding to be called CAUCASIAN or WHITE?? No! We’re AMERICANS. Period….
Well thank you for that, Mr. or Ms. Starnes. I are sick and disgusted too. But not the way you think.
The emails are illustrative of attitudes most of us wish had been buried deep, long ago, but which we fear remain far too close to the surface. They should serve as a reminder that, as far as we would like to think we have come, the ugliness of racism and hatred has not strayed far; and merely waits for the day when caring people cease to stand watch.
While we all love to pat ourselves on the back for how far we have come, we also need clear reminders of where we have yet to go.