While acknowledging Brokaw's legendary status, Rep. Joaquin Castro called out the "stunningly ignorant" remarks. Castro tweeted, "Unfortunate to see xenophobia pass for elevated political commentary."
Brokaw later apologized for his remarks.
.@tombrokaw, for a celebrated @NBCNews journalist who spent years chronicling American society you seem stunningly ignorant of the Hispanic community in this country. Unfortunate to see xenophobia pass for elevated political commentary @MeetThePress https://t.co/nKoLhjWdbk— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) January 27, 2019
The San Antonio Democrat, whose twin brother Julian is currently running for president, gave a history lesson on assimilation in Texas in the 1950s.
"At many schools if you spoke Spanish you were hit by a teacher."
This led to parents being reluctant to pass their native language on to their children. The ironic result now, Castro noted, is that Hispanic politicians are criticized if they are not fluent Spanish speakers — a criticism that has followed both Castro brothers' career.
Self-proclaimed white supremacist and congressman from Iowa, Steve King, once said that Joaquin and Julian "took Spanish lessons to qualify as retroactive Hispanics."
Meanwhile, white politicians like Beto O'Rourke and Tim Kaine are overwhelmingly praised for their ability to speak Spanish.
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