Like a hurdler that opens a race by bashing her shin on the first hurdle and knocking it down, Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (Santa Ana, California) is stumbling into her race for a senate seat against daunting opponent California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
In an inexplicable gaffe, particularly in the very liberally-minded political environment of California, Congresswoman Sanchez tapped her hand to her mouth Saturday, making a whooping “wah-wah-wah-wah” sound, or attempted Native American war cry, while explaining her surprise when she realized a person she was meeting with was an Indian-American, not a Native American, reports the Huffington Post.
With California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer stepping down, Loretta Sanchez is seeking to fill her vacant senate seat, and made her Native American war-whoop while speaking to an Indian-American group during the California Democratic Party’s convention in Anaheim.
“I am going to his office, thinking that I am going to meet with a, (Sanchez executes attempted Native American war-whoop), right? Because he said Indian American! And I go in there and it was great. It was just great because he said, ‘I want to get my community involved.’ Involved. And that was the first time that we saw the Indian American community really come.”
As a political competitor, Kamala Harris was likely, secretly, clicking her heels for joy after hearing of Loretta Sanchez’s politically incorrect blooper. But publicly, Harris expressed “shock,” dramatically raising her eyebrows like they were going to fly right off her forehead.
“It is shocking and there is no place for that in our public discourse,” said Harris, when asked by a reporter for a reaction to Loretta Sanchez’s Native American whooping gesture.
Harris’s mother is also from India, allowing her to be further offended by Loretta Sanchez’s seemingly thoughtless and insensitive behavior.
Going before a group of delegates at the same Democratic convention on Sunday, where she’d addressed the Indian-American group on Saturday, Loretta Sanchez acknowledged that her gesture was racially insensitive, “and for that I sincerely apologize.”
Prior to her official Sunday apology at the Democratic Convention, however, Sanchez acknowledged telling the story, but not that she’d said anything wrong, according to the Sacramento Bee.
“What I said was that I got a call from somebody from over the phone and he said I want to talk to you about having help from the Indian community, and I thought he meant the American Indian community, in the sense of the Native American Indian community.”
As far as if the story, and her way of telling it, was inappropriate, Loretta Sanchez simply said, “I think that Native Americans have an incredibly great history, and a great presence in our country, and many of them are supporting our election.”
This isn’t the first time Loretta Sanchez has been called out for racial insensitivity, or racial warmongering.
In 2010, Loretta Sanchez ripped Republican challenger and Vietnamese immigrant Van Tran, saying on a Spanish-language television program that the “Vietnamese and Republicans (were trying) to take this seat from us … and give it to this Van Tran, who is very anti-immigrant and very anti-Hispanic.”
Loretta Sanchez went on to win that race.
[Image by Kris Connor / Getty Images]