Ohio Gov. John Kasich has become the latest 2016 presidential contender to draw attention for an apparent generalization related to Latinos. During remarks yesterday at a golf club in Orange County, California, Kasich praised Latinos for their family values and their work ethic, then drifted into a discussion about a Latina hotel maid, reports the Los Angeles Times. "A lot of them do jobs that they're willing to do, and that's why in the hotel you leave a little tip," he said. She also left him a note inquiring about his stay. "Is that just the greatest thing?" said Kasich. "So, you know, we can learn a lot and she's Hispanic, 'cause I didn't know it at the time, but I met her in the hallway—asked her if I could get a little more soap,” he said, laughing.
Critics have pounded on the remarks as condescending—accusing Kasich of equating Latinos with service-sector workers—but a Republican spokesman says Kasich "was talking about how great the service was and how we should respect everyone in our society no matter what their job or position might be." At the Washington Post, Janell Ross doesn't buy it. "Kasich and many other Americans don't run across Latino golf club owners, lawyers, doctors, artists and astronauts in their daily lives," writes Ross. "And, as such, they apparently have no sense of the range of interests, habits and skills that exist in any other population can also be found among Hispanic Americans. If they did, they might recognize just how problematic Kasich's comments really are and just how hard it's going to be to explain them away."