'Mexican music' reference was an ethnic slur

Opinion

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I was a bit disturbed when reading your story last week about the tragic car accident involving the Gomez family. I am perplexed as to why your newspaper found it editorially pertinent to mention that witnesses heard "Mexican music" "blaring" from the speakers. What, exactly, is "Mexican music," and why is it worth mentioning in the context of this sad article that is ultimately about two ruined lives?

And I found it somewhat disrespectful to the grieving family of Agustin Gomez to note that "the music stopped when the car landed on its roof." A man died when "the car landed on its roof," regardless of what might or might not have been on the radio. Perhaps your reporter might have tried reaching out to the Gomez family for their thoughts on the tragedy instead of relying solely on local witnesses who knew neither man.

I read your paper fairly regularly when visiting friends in River Forest.

Therefore, given your paper's laudable efforts to promote diversity and tolerance, I was surprised that such a racist statement, cleverly designed to highlight the ethnicity of the car's occupants, slipped past your editors, copyeditors, fact-checkers, etc. I would not expect that if the driver of the car had been listening to U2, there would have been a reference to neighbors noticing blaring "Irish" music. Also, in the interests of educating your staff to avoid future confusion, I've helpfully included a list of music created by the Spanish-speaking diaspora that the witnesses and your reporter might have mistaken for "Mexican Music:"

Música campesina, Argentine rock, Charo, Samba, Bachata, Kompa, Palo de Mayo, Reggaetón, Ranchera, Marimba, Mariachi, Cumbia, Salsa, Merengue, Freestyle house, Tejano, Cuban Jazz.

I will no longer be reading any of your newspapers or publications. I hope that your writers/editors are more considerate in the future.

Fernando Pantoja

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