Alaska Lawmaker Doesn't Exactly Apologize for Slur
Rep. Don Young says 'wetback' used to be common, but no longer appropriate
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2013 6:29 AM CDT
US Rep. Don Young speaking to reporters in Anchorage, Alaska, on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012.   (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

(Newser) – An Alaska politician who referred to Mexican laborers as "wetbacks" earlier in the week says he "meant no disrespect" by the term, but stopped short of apologizing, reports the Anchorage Daily News. Rep. Don Young was giving a radio interview Tuesday when, in a discussion about the economy, he used the term. "We used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes," the Republican said of his father's farm in California. "You know it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It's all done by machine."

After bloggers and the media picked up on the quote, Young issued a statement last night, saying he was just using a term that was common when he was growing up. "I know that this term is not used in the same way nowadays and I meant no disrespect," he wrote. But many have not been forgiving. "It kind of opens your eyes to the way Don Young thinks," said the president of the Hispanic Affairs Council of Alaska. "He didn't even pause. It's like that's just what he calls migrant farm workers." (He's not the only Alaska politician making the news.)

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Showing 3 of 21 comments
Mar 30, 2013 11:22 PM CDT
Gasp! a Republican being honest, while attempting to not sound/be racist. Please, continue. Oh, no you are done? What a piss poor attempt at not being a Pigot(my word for a bigot pig:))
Mar 29, 2013 3:33 PM CDT
I actually get where this guy is coming from. I am almost 60, and struggle to keep up with politically correct words. I remember using the word "oriental" in the nineties, and getting dirty looks from Asians---didn't have a clue why... I am not even sure at this point how you would refer to a person of low IQ, and distinguish them from a person who is mentally ill. Us old farts sometimes get it wrong, and it is simple semantics plus poor memory that gets us in trouble.
Mar 29, 2013 12:06 PM CDT
Where is newser story on Roy Blunt the Missouri congressman that let mosanto's write their own protection bill, and then he brought it up for vote.