Congressman Don Young’s ‘Wetback’ Comment Draws Mockery On Twitter

Republican Representative Don Young walked back from an offensive ‘wetback’ comment he made during a radio show Thursday, but his apology has not slowed down a wave of ridicule aimed both at Representative Young and the Republican Party as a whole on Twitter.

“My father had a ranch; we used to have 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes,” Young said during the radio interview. “You know, it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.”

As The Inquisitr previous reported, the Alaska representative engaged in a casual racism during the interview, one that revealed how unaware he was of the offensiveness of his remarks. Young’s remarks drew immediate criticism online, and the Congressman has since apologized for his inflammatory comments.

“During a sit-down interview with Ketchikan Public Radio this week, I used a term that was commonly used during my days growing up on a farm in Central California…” Young said. “I know that this term is not used in the same way nowadays, and I meant no disrespect.”

The racial slur originally referred to Mexicans who immigrated into Texas by crossing the Rio Grange river and getting wet in the process. In 1954, the US launched Operation Wetback as a means of cutting down on unauthorized immigration. Young was born in 1933, meaning he was just entering his twenties at the time.

Young’s apology, if anything, offered more fuel to his criticism. Though the Congressman may have been casually exposed to the term in his youth, that made it no less offensive.

If you “meant no disrespect” by using the term “wetback,” that means you probably shouldn’t talk so much.

— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) March 29, 2013

Others offered their criticism with their tongues firmly in their cheeks.

Young’s comments have brought the GOP unwanted criticism following its newly announced efforts to reach out to minorities following the party’s defeat in 2012.

Given Young’s age, Twitter may not be the best means of reaching him. He is the sixth oldest representative in the House and the second oldest Republican representative. He was first elected into the House in the 1970s. When the GOP Representative casually dropped “wetback” on air Thursday, his age was on full display.