The National Council of La Raza is taking a strong stand against a vicious message of hate and racism set to the tune of “Feliz Navidad.” The song, called “Illegal Aliens in My Yard,” includes lyrics, which you can read here, which take aim at Latinos and trade on the same old, tired stereotypes about Latinos as scut work doing, taco-cooking, drunk-stolen-car driving, tequila-shooting, kidney-freeloading, anchor baby-having, and spreaders of disease (here, bubonic plague and tuberculosis).
The “parody” is being promoted by the website HumanEvents.com, which bills itself as “the headquarters of the conversative underground.”
The singer who wrote the original “Feliz Navidad” and made it famous is, of course, José Feliciano. He has released a statement denouncing the song:
“I am filled with disgust that the HumanEvents.com website and Talk Radio Network producers Matt Fox and AJ Rice (‘The Fox and Rice Experience’) have utilized the joyful spirit of Feliz Navidad without authorization to spread a message of racism and fear during the Christmas season. While I am reluctant to draw any further attention to this highly offensive recording, I feel it necessary to speak-out and distance my song from such a bigoted political agenda. When I wrote and composed Feliz Navidad, I chose to sing in both English and Spanish in order to create a bridge between two wonderful cultures during the time of year in which we hope for goodwill toward all. Instead, the appalling hate speech presented in “Illegals in my Yard” is revolting to all of us that treasure the true meaning of Christmas. They should be truly ashamed” – José Feliciano
Ashamed, indeed, although I suspect that’s highly unlikely. This is more of the right wing’s racism as “humor.” This is in the same vein as the earlier attempt at racist humor as the “Barack the Magic Negro” song that Joe discussed back in January. While each song targets a different racial group (Latinos, African Americans) both are created by whites in relatively powerful social, cultural positions. And, both are framed as “humor” so that to object is to be, well, humor-less, isn’t it?
It’s no coincidence that both songs also couch their racist attacks to the tune of an already-popular song, so that the catchy tune gets easily transmogrified into a racist message and sticks in the mind. I wonder how many people will now, when they hear the song “Puff the Magic Dragon,” will have a momentary flash on the racist version? Or, in this holiday season, when the perennial popular “Feliz Navidad” will have a split second of thinking about the racist lyrics? These are rhetorical questions without a clear, social scientific answer (I’m not even sure how you’d design a study to measure the effect of these songs). Yet, both speak to the pernicious and difficult-to-address nature of racism today.