La Raza Hispanic Activists More Desirable Than Patriot Minutemen in Kansas City

-By Warner Todd Huston

Which would you find more desirable in your community: a group that advocates to abide by U.S. law, or one that advocates to break U.S. law? Well, leave it to an American newspaper to present a story as if a member of a group that advocates for America is a less desirable person in the community than a member of a group that promotes ideas against America. In a story on the La Raza Council’s threat to move their annual convention out of Kansas City, Missouri, the Kansas City Star has labeled the patriot group The Minutemen a “militant group” but nowhere is there harsh labels in their story for La Raza, the Hispanic illegal immigrant advocates. In fact, La Raza is treated like a completely respectable organization throughout the story with the Minutemen treated as if they should be something to be ashamed of.

In June, Kansas City mayor Mark Funkhouser appointed Minuteman Civil Defense member Frances Semler to the Kansas City park board and this has caused the illegal immigrant advocates to threaten to take their convention business elsewhere.

The nation’s largest Hispanic rights group is warning it may cancel its 2009 convention here because of a controversial Kansas City park board member.

As it turns out, this park board member is “controversial” because she wants Federal immigration laws enforced.

The story goes on to call the patriot organization, The Minutemen, a “militant group opposing illegal immigration” and warns that the city would lose up to $15 million in business (coupled with the NAACP pulling their convention, as well) should the La Raza folks pull their convention out of Kansas City. The story gives the La Raza group quite a bit of space to act wounded and regretful that they have to leave the city… unless they are successful in forcing a Missourian legally appointed to a city board to resign.

“It is very troubling that we would be in a position to reconsider but in fact we are,” Murguía said during a trip to Kansas City. “I don’t know there is a way short of her stepping down that we could salvage this. This is offensive on many levels. We want the mayor to understand it is something that sends a very wrong signal to the Hispanic community about what the city represents.”

There is, indeed, something troubling here. That a group based outside of Kansas City should imagine they have the right and power to tell a city who they can and cannot appoint to their city parks board. Now THAT is “troubling,” don’t you think?

It is also troubling that Mrs. Semler is presented throughout the story as the problem and La Raza is constantly presented as the good guys. What is also troubling is that the story presents the politicians in Kansas City as bending over backwards for this La Raza organization. Rick Hughs, head of the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association, for instance is doing his best to accommodate this La Raza group.

… a meeting Thursday with Murguía went well and he is hopeful that La Raza’s concerns about Kansas City can be addressed. He said he has not heard from anyone with the NAACP about its concerns.

“We still have it (La Raza convention) very much in our pocket and we all want to work toward a good, amicable solution,” he said. “These are two critically important groups and we want to keep them on the ground with us.”

Sadly, not a one of the Kansas City politicians quoted seem outraged that this outside group is making threats to the city over the make-up of a city board and trying to force their outsider’s opinions on the operation of the city.

Still, is this reasonable behavior from La Raza? Is it reasonable that one person on a city park board is enough of an “outrage” to their sensibilities to force them to pull their business from the city? One person who is in no position to create and nurture city policy is enough for these La Raza radicals to claim foul? Is this the sort of radical organization that Kansas City should want in their town in the first place, one that doesn’t respect the local city fathers, our laws and communities?

Why does the Kansas City Star not plum that angle of the story?

The militant positions of many members of the La Raza styled movements are well known. The founder of one La Raza group, Jose Angel Gutierrez, for instance, once wrote that, “we have got to kill the gringo, and what I mean by that is if the worst comes to worst, we have got to kill him.” But, we don’t even have to search out any of the extremist views of their most radical members to illustrate how upside down this incident in Kansas City is. All we have to do is go right to the La Raza home page to get a hint of their radical views and policies.

For instance, Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO has written in one press release:

“The congressional Republicans’ strategy to scapegoat our community failed overall, and will prove even costlier in the long run by creating a backlash among Latino voters,” she said, noting a shift of 11 percentage points in Latino support for Democrats compared to the midterm elections…”

Yet, no Republican has “scapegoated” anyone. Members of the GOP that are against illegal immigration are merely upset that our laws are blatantly being broken and our social support systems stretched to the breaking point by the very people that La Raza wants to continue to sponsor in contravention to our culture and our laws.

Janet Murguía also wrote that she wanted to send a “warning to those elected officials who believe that immigrant bashing is a strategy without consequence,” and added, “Not only has that strategy been rebuffed by the broader American electorate, but Latinos are taking notice of politicians willing to malign their community just to get elected.”

Yet, once again, no politician has “maligned” any immigrant. Her radical rhetoric is intended to stir hatred and fear not to further reasoned debate.

Worse, La Raza has a policy against the enforcement of Federal immigration laws that says in part, “State and local law enforcement agencies should not enforce federal immigration laws” because it would be “detrimental to the Latino community.”

So, which group is more “militant”, Kansas City Star? A group like the Minutemen who want to observe and enforce the law of the land, or one that wants to threaten political parties, threaten city mayors, and advocate to break Federal laws?

So, why is Frances Semler treated like the bad guy and La Raza courted like they are all that is good in the world?

Missourians should ask this question of the Kansas City Star and their own politicians before those politicians bow to the will of La Raza.
Warner Todd Huston’s thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites such as,, men’ and among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a guest on several radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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