Esther Valdes Clayton Tries to Speak Up for All Latinos in California
Coronado, a sleepy seaside town in San Diego Bay, became home to a heated race-based brawl after the community’s high school basketball team defeated Orange Glen High School in the championship game. Soon after the end of the tough game, the coaches of both the teams got into a heated argument in front of the Coronado bench. Two excited JV Coronado players tossed the tortilla up in the air and landed on some majority-Latino Orange Glen team members.
This incident so called. started a cascade of events while building “tortilla-gate” and dividing the small town.
Critics immediately called the incident racist, and the Coronado Unified School District Board immediately apologized. However, further investigation cast doubt on any racial motivation and the board later withdrew the racial component of its apology. Yet a conservative board member argues that the incident was racist.
one in pillar Reiterating her belief that tortilla throwing was racist in nature, Coronado Unified School District Board Trustee Esther Valdés Clayton suggested that all California Latinos agreed about the phenomenon: “Latinos will not support conservatives as long as we do this. Fighting about whether Latinos deserve respect or apologies for racist actions, such as throwing tortillas at Latino students.”
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The CUSD Board’s initial statement and apology were prepared in an illegal closed session and issued within 24 hours of the tortilla being thrown. The board later learned that local political activist Luc Cerna had instigated the incident. Serna, who is a registered Democrat and identifies as semi-Mexican, clarified that his motivation for bringing four bags of tortillas into the game was purely celebration. As reported by the San Diego Union Tribune, Serna said tortilla throwing at sporting events at the University of California, Santa Barbara, his alma mater, is a long-standing tradition.
Following these revelations, the board eventually removed the language in its apology, condemning “racism, classism and colorism”.
Valdés Clayton voted against removing the language, apparently convinced that 24 hours was enough time to collect eyewitness accounts, analyze the evidence, and conduct a meaningful investigation. In addition, she suggested that the wealth disparity between Escondido and Coronado was perceived by Clayton as evidence of “classism” and that the trivial fact that Cerna – the instigator – had a lighter skin tone, was referred to as “colorism”. ” was suggested as evidence. The quest for fairness and justice becomes a divisive zero-sum game that escalates group grievances over individual nuances.
There is a disturbing arrogance and prejudice here that treats misconceptions as reality. It morally hijacks California’s second largest voting population on the basis of race in the name of group affinity. Furthermore, it ignores the electoral realities of racial issues in California.
In November 2020, more than 9.65 million California voters, or 57.2% of voters, rejected Proposition 16, a racial preference ballot aimed at reinstating race-based affirmative action, saw 64% of the vote go in favor of Biden. This means 35% of Biden voters didn’t vote According to the Equal Opportunity Center on Proposition 16.
All 10 Counties With the Largest Percentage of Latinos in California voted against Caste based affirmative action. An analysis of exit polls among Latinos in the recent recall election against Governor Gavin Newsom showed a six percent drop in the 2018 gubernatorial election. Evidence that Latino support for conservative causes and candidates has grown, beyond California three percent jump In votes for Trump last year compared to the 2016 election.
Support for real equality—rather than superficial racial equality—was a win-win issue in united Californians across party lines and certainly in all majority-Latino countries.
In her pursuit of a political triage, the irony is not lost when Valdés Clayton claims to speak for the Latino community, claiming that Latinos would not support conservatives. In stark contrast, two Latinos hold key positions within the California Republican Party. Jessica Milan Patterson is the chair of the California GOP and Jordan Gascon is both executive director of the Republican Party of San Diego and president of the Latino American Political Union. Gascon defended the Coronado High basketball team and criticized the countless emotional appeals that inspire and morally hijack Latino conservatives.
Embracing the fashionable whims of racial identity politics may help achieve short-term gains, but maintaining the timeless and fundamental ideals of freedom, discretion, personal responsibility and equality requires discipline and trust. In the present case, these widely shared principles have been eroded by a petty obsession with racial tribalism and divisive Balkanization. Eventually, players on the basketball team – the children of both Orange Glen and Coronado – are either impersonated as martyrs of the hunt or scapegoats for race-based thinking as a universal truth. In the end no one wins.
Dr. Wenyuan Wu is the Executive Director of the California for Equal Rights Foundation and an immigrant of Chinese descent. Alma Munguia-Kostenko is a Coronado Unified School District parent, a former intelligence analyst for the US Coast Guard Reserve, a military wife, and an immigrant of Honduran descent.