During President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign for the presidency, conspiracy theorist falsely alleged the presidential candidate was not a natural-born citizen of the United States as required by the Constitution. In her most recent memoir, the former president’s wife, Michelle Obama, described the different ways the false claims put her husband and family in severe danger. Still, even despite the various retractions by his accusers, namely our current president Donald Trump, conspiracy theorists have continued their crusade to question the citizenship of U.S. political candidate of color’s running for office. In the latest incident of racially driven speculation, newly Elected Arizona Representative Raquel Teran, a citizenship is now being called into question.
This is the second time Terán’s citizenship has been challenged, both times by the same woman, Alice Novoa.
Terán who helped lead the recall of Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sherriff who neglected to investigate sex crimes, illegally enforced immigration laws, and violated election laws, reports Douglas, Arizona as her place of birth. Her accuser, Alice Novoa-Benson who ran for Arizona Secretary of State, as a write-in candidate, is a conservative, anti-immigration activist who believes that Mexicans are conspiring to “take back the American Southwest.” In 2006, Novoa challenged judge Alma Vildosola’s citizenship, two years before rumors about President Obama’s citizenship began prior to his 2008 bid for president, rumors that turned into a full-blown conspiracy theory. At the time of the Vildosola suit, Vildosola, who was born in Mexico, had been a naturalized U.S. citizen for ten years. She went on to prove her citizenship and serve as the justice of the peace of Cochise County.
Terán plans to fight her case even though it’s one she has fought before.
On November 9, she spoke at a press conference about the suit, telling the audience that she had been served papers overnight and was being made to appear in court to prove her citizenship. An emotional Terán said, “I will not be intimidated by this harassment, really, this psychological warfare designed to exclude people like me. I’m not going to be intimidated by birtherism.”
It seems that questioning the legitimacy of political races by candidates of color has become the default strategy of their white challengers. In Georgia, Stacey Abrams is hoping to be allowed more time to count votes in her race for governor against Brian Kemp who “threw out or held up thousands of absentee ballot applications, a majority of which turned out to be from African-Americans,” until he was ordered to stop by the federal court. As expected, Abrams is being accused of being a sore loser, but Alice Novoa, who began questioning Terán’s in 2006, the mother of the birther movement, is the real sore loser.
Y Latina Twitter is furious!
We take the challenge of the citizenship of our hermanas personally. It’s like being asked “what are you?” a question many of us have been asked all our lives, a question that makes us feel like outsiders. We’re told that America is the land of immigrants, and then told to go back where we came from all in the same day.
This mujer is not all surprised that Terán ’s citizenship is being challenged, again.
This informed Latina has obviously been following Terán’s story and is familiar Alice Novoa and her birther tactics. Of course, Arizona is a state notorious for questioning the citizenship of its people, hoping to use racial profiling practices when it passed Senate Bill 1070 in 2010, the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.” The bill required police to use profiling strategies to identify pull over potential “illegal immigrants” and ask to see documentation. The bill was challenged by the courts and overturned in 2016.
No doubt, Raquel is being sued because she is brown.
Twitter user, Elvia Diaz, has no doubts that the reason Terán is being sued is because of the color of her skin, implying that white candidates don’t want to admit defeat by people of color and are threatened by people of color with political influence. What are they afraid of? Brown grandchildren? More yummy food? Spanish? Revenge?