Cesar Chavez Google doodle flap: Conservatives fight back

United Farm Workers President Cesar Chavez
(Paul Sakuma / Associated Press)

I still don’t think Google insulted Christians around the world when it chose to honor Cesar Chavez rather than focus on Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday, which happened to be the 86th birthday of the late civil rights icon.

And I still think it was a mistake for American conservatives, at the very moment the Republican Party is desperately trying to make inroads with Latino voters, to denigrate Google’s home page design by insulting Chavez. (Dana Perino, former spokeswoman for President George W. Bush, said she thought the homage to Chavez was a “hoax.”)

Clearly, both issues strike a nerve with readers. But most who took time to write said they simply felt that Google had slighted Christians on their most sacred day.


“So let me get this straight,” wrote James Hill. “Because some conservatives were upset that Google chose to put up the image of a union organizer who is Latino instead of a religious image on the holiest of holidays for millions of Christians, a holiday also acknowledged by non-Christian religions, that means that they are being intolerant?

“Perhaps you are being intolerant of the deep feelings that Christians have for Easter and the surprise that any labor organizer of any ethnic group would be chosen to be honored instead of Christ on Easter Sunday. The next time you point your finger at someone as being intolerant, make sure you aren’t standing in front of a mirror.”

A small number of readers offered praise: “Fabulous article that said exactly everything Latinos were feeling yesterday when we read the Christian hate all over the Internet,” wrote a representative of the group Latinos Matter, who described the group as “a bunch of political geeks who use Twitter to inform Latinos about issues we feel are important. We started after a colleague told me that it didn’t matter that Latinos as a demographic were exploding in the U.S., because we ‘didn’t matter.’ Latinos don’t vote, don’t care, so therefore, don’t count. We don’t see it that way….As the Latino population grows in the U.S., we feel it is important that we become more engaged and knowledgeable about all of the issues that affect us. Mostly, because we do matter.”

Several raised the issue of Chavez’s nuanced position on immigration.

Hispanic Pundit compared him to the Minutemen, the self-appointed vigilantes who patrol the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Your one-sided story of Google and Cesar Chavez ignores the Cesar Chavez that many of us Latinos loathe: specifically the strongly anti-immigration side,” wrote H.P. “Who do you place as more downtrodden - farm workers already lucky enough to live in the USA legally or those immigrants living outside of the USA hoping, praying, and wishing to have even a farm workers job inside the USA? I place the latter as FAR MORE important. Yet it is precisely they that Chavez sacrificed in order to help those in the USA already….Cesar Chavez is a mixed figure in the Latino community. He did some good, but at the expense of many others. He was, to put it bluntly, a minutemen of his time and to just ignore that and praise him as comparable shows just how biased the LA Times has become.”

“I wonder why you didn’t champion Cesar Chavez’ committment to restricting immigration?” wrote L.H. “Chavez and Dolores Huerta, cofounder and president of the UFW, fought the Bracero Program that existed from 1942 to 1964. Their opposition stemmed from their belief that the program undermined U.S. workers and exploited the migrant workers. Since the Bracero Program ensured a constant supply of cheap immigrant labor for growers, immigrants could not protest any infringement of their rights, lest they be fired and replaced. …Surely today Mr. Chavez would not be welcome in the Democratic Party because he vehemently opposed illegal immigration and blanket amnesty and its terrible impact on Union jobs. Common sense to most, illogical to a Liberal.”

As for the issue of whether the Republican Party is doing enough to attract Latino voters, L.H. noted that Latino Republicans outnumber Latino Democrats in the U.S. Senate by 2 to 1.

“I think GOP outreach is just fine. Two presidential elections does not sew up a minority group forever. Remember outreach is not giving a group ‘stuff,’ it’s big ideas that inspire liberty and freedom. Eventually the Democratic Party will run out of other people’s money and where will Latinos be?”

Because I am a sucker for people who tell me The Times does not have the courage to print something, I leave you with this from L.H.

“The worst thing a Liberal or the LA Times could ever say to discredit Chavez is he was a devout Catholic and loving father. That ain’t gonna sell in Hollywood. I understand why you did not have the courage to print this fact.”

Twitter: @robinabcarian