Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has been on the receiving end of quite a few racist slams by the media. Since he stepped into the national political scene as a Senator in 2010, Rubio has been called a “piñata,” a “coconut,” and slammed for being “primitive” by pundits and writers alike.
Here are 6 of the most racially-charged insults that have been hurled at Rubio:
1. “Republican Piñata”
In an article for Mother Jones, Kevin Drum calls Rubio a “Republican piñata,” explaining that his success in the polls after last week’s debate has made him a target for other Republican candidates to bat at.
“Rubio better watch out,” Drum writes. “It’s his turn to get knifed in the back in the great scrum called the GOP primary.”
He was called out on Twitter soon after the post was published:
Drum responded in a post, that his depiction of Rubio wasn’t offensive at all, and that everyone was simply misunderstanding what “piñata” means.
“‘Piñata’ is a common term for anyone who’s getting beat up, Hispanic or otherwise,” he explained.
He added that those on the left should shut up about his gaffe, because it’s taking attention away from Republicans, who Drum says are the real racists.
I think it does real harm to the cause of fighting racism and sexism. In bigger doses it makes us all look silly, and provides an endless series of excuses for ordinary folks to get exasperated at us and for conservatives not to take any of it seriously. We really need to stop this. If conservatives want to be offensive, at least make them work for excuses to ignore those of us who care about this stuff. We’re making it too easy for them.
2. Rubio Isn’t Really A Minority
The New Republic recently said to stop comparing Rubio’s candidacy to Barack Obama’s 2008 run. They have proclaimed that Rubio is actually more like John Edwards, the white, presidential candidate who sought the Democratic nomination in 2004 and 2008. While Rubio is young and a minority like Obama, TNR says he isn’t Hispanic enough to win the Hispanic vote.
But Rubio is also making the most shallow appeal of any Republican in the field. The undisguised promise of his candidacy is that his youth and background will allow him to herald an orthodox Republican policy agenda as somehow distinct and visionary. Perhaps because his heterodoxies are so superficial, Rubio enjoys the support of only 23 percent of Hispanic voters, lower than the paltry share that voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. In this way, Rubio resembles the Republican Party’s answer to John Edwards rather than a genuine reformer, like [Bill] Clinton.
According to TNR, current polling numbers are proof Rubio isn’t able to sell himself to Hispanic voters, which makes him exactly like Edwards, that white Democrat who had an extramarital affair with a staffer while his wife was dying of cancer.
3. “¡Hola, Marco Rubio!”
Journalists aren’t the only ones to have poked at Rubio for being Hispanic this election cycle. Remember the Saturday Night Live skit featuring a shirtless, salsa dancing version of Rubio with an oiled chest?
“He believes marriage should be between one man and one sexy mamacita,” an SNL cast member said in the skit. “He also voted against the Violence Against Women Act, sorry mamís!”
¡Ay Dios mío! Rubio’s policy stances are stripped down to over-the-top machismo sentiments while he is depicted as a womanizer who is groping women and acting like a Latin, tough guy.
Back in 2010, MSNBC and CNBC contributor Donny Deutsch, called Rubio a “Coconut,” which refers to someone who is brown on the outside but white on the inside, or someone who is ethnically Hispanic, but retains “white” behavior or ideologies.
Apparently only white people can challenge a sitting governor in a senate race, because if a Hispanic man like Rubio does that, it makes him a “coconut,” in Deutsch’s estimation.
5. A Brown Face Won’t Help
In 2012, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos brown shamed Rubio because he wasn’t willing to embrace a liberal stance on immigration policy.
“Look at what the chairman of the Democratic convention, the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, said last night. ‘He said you can’t just trot out a brown face or a Spanish surname and expect people to vote for your candidate.’ He was referring to you.”
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews called Rubio’s response to the 2013 State of The Union Speech “Primitive.”
“I thought it was Tinker Toys. I thought it was primitive, something you would hear on a high school debating team,” he said. “It was almost like a YAFer convention speech, Young Americans for Freedom speech, from the 1950s.”
While attacking the content of a speech is fair game, the term “primitive” infuses Matthew’s criticisms with a thinly veiled tinge of racism.
Tingles Matthews calls Rubio's speech "primitive." Is that code?
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) February 13, 2013
Ironically, many of these same members of the media act have repeatedly gone after conservatives for behaviors that they deem as racist (here, here, here, here, here, and here). Perhaps going forward, it’s best for pundits to think twice before using racial slurs when putting Rubio on blast.