After Mitt Romney asserted in a closed-door fundraiser that he’d have a better chance at winning the election if he were Latino, liberal filmmaker Michael Moore tried to poke a little fun at the statement by creating a Twitter hashtag #IfIWereMexican. But instead of critiques of the GOP candidate, the Bowling for Columbine director received a flurry of tweets reflecting common Hispanic stereotypes.
Moore developed the hashtag after tweeting a link to my ABC/Univision piece that asked the question, "What if Mitt were Latino?"
“Tweet me how much better your life would be if ONLY you were Mexican. Cause Mexicans have it way 2 easy in this country! #ifonlyiweremexican,” Moore tweeted on Tuesday. “Like Mitt, my life's been ruined cause I'm white. 1 Oscar was nice-but I'd have 9 of 'em by now #IfOnlyIWereMexican,” he added in another tweet.
Some Twitter users answered by making fun of the candidate or offering sarcastic examples of instances in which being Mexican would not contribute to their successes -- likely what Moore had hoped for. Referring to Romney's bilingual son, Twitter user LOLGOP joked that "Craig Romney could condescend to me in two languages! #ifonlyiweremexican."
Still others took the opportunity to show off their knowledge of Latino and Mexican stereotypes, offending some Twitter users.
“I'd be able to cut my own damn lawn...#ifonlyiweremexican,” user @Maris_AM tweeted.
“I could work on Mitts landscaping for Petes sake. #IfOnlyIWereMexican,” @Seditionchoir noted.
There were jokes about Mexican food, too:
“Soooo many tamales #ifonlyiweremexican,” Twitter user @OsieSays noted.
But other tweets had more edge, highlighting the debate over immigration in states like Arizona and Alabama.
“#ifonlyiweremexican I would be able to get one of them great vegetable picking jobs in Alabama...,” user @BobEsper tweeted.
“#ifonlyiweremexican I would be able to wear Sheriff Joe Arpaio's pink underwear!!!!,” user @MarDeLaval noted.
The Twitter reactions may not have been what Moore had hoped for. Some Latino Twitter users expressed frustration with the hashtag, noting that the reactions it provoked were mostly stereotypes.
"Moore is trying to be cute and witty. In the end, some of the responses he has gotten from people just show how ignorant and racist people are about Mexicans in particular and Latinos in general," the LatinoRebels blog commented.
"When you start tweeting things that associate being Mexican to mowing laws, working as day laborers, eating cheap rice and frijoles, and (the worst one we saw by far) being in fear of the Zetas, you just add to the ignorance."
For a more complete list of the flurry of tweets Moore's hashtag provoked, check out the LatinoRebels page.