Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia remarked that all minorities are "over on this side" ... then added, "wait, wait, we have a half," referring to Rep. John Anthony, a Republican who is black with Puerto Rican ancestry. In an age where we pass laws, hold diversity training, courts assist with quotas and busing to address institutional racism, we strive to teach skin color is not the test of one's worth or ability.
Ms. Chapa LaVia mocks another representative elected by the citizens for his skin color. She judges he is not like her "side's" pure skin color. She judges his blood lines, not his voice for the people who elected him.
Even as our state house is on fire with mismanagement, can we afford to overlook overt racism as a "personality meltdown?" She revealed more than her personality when she spoke. She revealed her true heart, lack of core principles, her willingness to attack another for their bloodline to get some points on the board. She judged another's ideas and worth solely on the basis of his race.
As a state official, Ms. Chapa LaVia is held to a higher standard than those who may break the laws she is asked to vote up or down. Racism cannot be tolerated in our marketplace, in our educational system, in our public square, and, of all places, racism cannot be tolerated in our government. Our lawmakers must guard the value of all the citizens.
Be gone, Ms. Chapa LaVia. Step down. Your words are not right. Your words are not tolerable. Your words cannot be overlooked. Your words violate the very spirit and intent of the civil rights legislation celebrated this week. Be gone from the state House and work on your own house and heart.
Willard R. Helander