Tam meant Mexicans, not all illegal aliens
This is in reference to Wilbert W.W. Wong Sr.'s letter yesterday, headlined "Tam used right word for illegal immigrants."
Per the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, one of two definitions describes the term "wetback" as "usually offensive: a Mexican who enters the United States illegally."
Had Rod Tam been referring to illegal aliens, he would have said "illegal aliens." He didn't; he used an offensive expression. Politicians should be accountable for what comes out of their mouths; it's part of the responsibility they take on as leaders. Not to mention that what a person says gives us insight into his/her attitudes.
Tam should meet with Hispanics in Hawaii
I am very disappointed by City Councilman Rod Tam's use of a racial slur during a public Zoning Committee meeting last month. Being Mexican I am deeply offended that an elected official will use derogatory terms in a business meeting. Now the City Council and Tam want the issue to go away simply because he issued an apology stating that he didn't know what the term meant. Had he owned up to his mistake and taken full responsibility for the term then I would have accepted his apology. Now, he has stated that he will not meet with members of the Hispanic community, more than 100,000 strong in Hawaii, face to face to issue an apology.
Tam's comments should anger not only Hispanics but every ethnic group in Hawaii, because disparaging remarks by public elected officials help form a social norm in our society that using that kind of language is OK. What a great lesson to our kids: You can use whatever language you want and all you have to say is "I didn't know what it meant" and nothing happens to you.
The people of Hawaii should not again elect Tam as a public official until he accepts the full responsibility of his comments and agrees to meet with members of the Hispanic community.
It's not the same as using racial slurs
I believe that all this news about City Councilman Rod Tam and his "racial slur" about "wetbacks" has been blown out of proportion by the community. The term "wetbacks" is not even a racial slur; it originated in the 1920s as a way to describe the illegal immigrants who crossed the Rio Grande river, getting wet. It was even used by the U.S. government in a crackdown on illegal immigration in 1954, Operation Wetback.
This is not a racial slur. A racial slur is intended to be derogatory to all of that race, not a specific group of people. It is not derogatory to all Hispanics; it merely refers to any illegal immigrant from Mexico. I am disappointed with the Hispanic community for jumping on Tam, when the term does not affect them or refer to them, just illegal immigrants.
Also, regarding Suzanne Green's remark (Letters, June 4) about how if a more represented group had an ethnic slur used against them, a more immediate reaction would be seen, most of the slurs of those groups refer to the entire group and are meant to be derogatory (example: I am Japanese, "Jap" was intended to be insulting to all Japanese, originating during World War II).
I would appreciate if this nonsense about this being a "racial slur" would end because it only refers to a small group of people, illegal immigrants from Mexico, not all Hispanics.
Obama-Clinton union is a frightening idea
An Obama-Clinton ticket?
Don't even think of it. The resulting confusion and chaos coming out of the White House would be even worse than another eight years of George W. Bush.
And further, Barack Obama might need a food taster before every meal. A horrendous thought.
Gerhard C. Hamm
Gas cap didn't cause chaos, hurricane did
Jim Henshaw (Letters, June 4)
slams the late gasoline price cap by saying sarcastically, "... let's reintroduce the hastily repealed gas cap that caused chaos and no savings."
First, the gas cap did not cause the chaos in the market. Hurricane Katrina (Aug. 23, 2005) and a major fire at a large California refinery occurred at the very moment the gas cap came on line. Those two simultaneous catastrophes and a spiking world demand caused the "chaos in the market." Henshaw can verify this in the media from that period at the Advocates For Consumer Rights Web site: www.scottfoster.org/afcr/
Please get it right, Mr. Henshaw.
Advocates For Consumer Rights
Goodbye to a furry family member
Several years ago, 19 years to be exact, we brought home a small, fuzzy-haired dog with long ears and a long nose. Because of his color, the family named him "Keokeo." Being part toy terrier made him tough even when he was a pup. He never ceased to look for a beef - small or big dogs, it didn't matter.
His life was simple. He liked to watch television, especially the dog shows. I asked him one time if he wanted a hot dog and popcorn while he was watching TV. Two big front teeth told me not to interrupt him while he was watching his dog show. I never did ask him again.
He tried singing a couple of times when the "American Idol" show was on ... somebody called the cops. He had a never-ending desire to protect our home and our family. When Mom occasionally went to hang clothes on the side of the house, which was dark, he would sit right by the gate and watch her. When she was done and walked back into the house, he made sure she went into the house first and then he would follow her back into the house.
But like everything else, his life and his body parts began to falter as the years went by. But he never once gave up his responsibilities of protecting the family and his love for all of us as we showed him our love for him.
On May 24, 19 years from the date we made him a part of our family, we were informed that medically there was nothing they could do to extend his life span. It was time for this warrior to enter the kingdom of "dog heaven." As he lay in the hospital and the family said their goodbyes to him, I whispered in his ears and told him, "Thank you for your love. Thank you for all you've done for us, and thank you for being part of our family, my dog, my son."
As we walked out of the hospital, he raised his head, smiled, put his head down and went to sleep forever.
He was our dog, he was our son.