Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
Past words come back to haunt ex-mayor
By John Christian Hopkins
FARMINGTON — The internet can become a tangled web at times. It apparently is for former Farmington Mayor Marlo Webb.
An e-mail making the rounds contains a quote attributed to Webb during a 2002 interview that is less than flattering to Navajos. The quote is posted on a website for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama.
Webb supposedly said: "They've culturally not come in to join what we call modern society. They're not they haven't been educated to do it, they're not equipped to do it. They're very backward."
Webb said he wants to see a copy of the interview, to see what his quote actually says.
"I remember it. This came up a few years ago," said Webb. "On the Internet, anyone can put anything they want about you, and it spreads like leaves in the wind. You can never gather them all up again. What can you do?"
He was interviewed for a documentary that was to be made by an English company, but has never seen a copy of the interview or the documentary, Webb said.
It's not true that he's anti-Navajo and, he said, some of his best, repeat customers are from the tribe. He is co-owner of Webb Chevrolet.
Some of his Navajo friends have forwarded him the e-mail, Webb said. It just seems to pop up every once in a while, said Webb.
Some of the anti-Navajo stigma attached to Webb may come from his period as mayor in the mid-1970s when racial tensions ran high between the Nation and city, culminating in a large civil rights march just weeks after Webb took office.
Webb set up a 13-member human rights commission to listen to the Navajo complaints, but the panel was soon disbanded when a representative from the American Indian Movement threatened to turn the protest violent.
Webb said in a later interview that he was genuinely interested in working the problems out, but some of the protesters seemed more interested in fanning the flames of discontent. Tensions were so high in 1974 that city councilmen routinely wore sidearms that summer, Webb recalled.
Recalling that time in the city's history, Webb was quoted as saying "I felt like Custer, surrounded by nothing but brown faces."
Maybe, that old quote attributed to him is being dredged up because once again, racial tensions between the Navajo Nation and the border towns are simmering, suggested Webb.
. . .
All material © copyright its original owners, except where noted.
Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.
Copyrighted material is posted under the Fair Use provision of the Copyright Act,
which allows copying for nonprofit educational uses including criticism and commentary.
Comments sent to the publisher become the property of Blue Corn Comics
and may be used in other postings without permission.