Holiday Message of Hate & Racism from Right Wing Conservatives

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, 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 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.


  1. No1KState

    Psychologists have found that when disparagement humor is used, it gives the impression that sexism/racism/ -ism is okay in that particular environment. So for right now, spaces where people can sing the songs without being reprimanded are probably spaces where there’re gonna be some type of existing hostilities. As for the future, they’ll be constant reminders that things are quite “right,” as it were. As a child, we’d sing “any, many, miny, moe” to make decisions like who’d be the first counter for hide-n-seek. After I learned what the lyrics really where, that it wasn’t a “tiger” that’s caught by the toe, it just served as a stark reminder of what was. And it made me question what “is,” as it were.

    Aside from that, I feel really bad for the Latin community. This song is racist, nothing less. No matter how the conservatives try to laugh it off, it’s racist plain and simple.

  2. gokemidoro

    What with the recent news about Sarah Palin’s Dad talking about her apparent “dislike” of the “Asian thing”, I find this news not all that surprising.
    Jose Feliciano has every right to be enraged. Why take a song with such a positive message, and turn it into something ugly, at this time of the year?
    I could go on with queries as to their motives, but it’s useless, because they aren’t worth it.
    I’m absolutely sure now, that Lindsey Graham’s assertion that the GOP, if they stay this course of “EXclusivity”, will end up as only a club, will be proven correct.

    I post this on Christmas day, to stand in agreement and support of Mr. Feliciano’s outrage at these small-minded fools.


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