Moral Low Ground


Steve Holland, Democrat Mississippi State Rep., Introduces Bill to Rename Gulf of Mexico ‘Gulf of America’

February 9, 2012 by Brett Wilkins in Immigration with 0 Comments

A Mississippi state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would rename the Gulf of Mexico the ‘Gulf of America.’

The Huffington Post reports that state Rep. Steve Holland, a Democrat, has introduced HB 150, “an act to provide that for all official purposes within the state of Mississippi, the body of water located directly south of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties shall be known as the “Gulf of America.”

The bill, which Holland describes as a tongue-in-cheek response to “anti-immigration sentiment,” has drawn incredulous reactions from some Latino groups despite the lawmaker’s claim that the bill is a pro-immigrant measure.

“If this bill passes the legislature and is signed into law, perhaps it is time to rename the Mississippi River,” Bob Quasius, president of Cafe Con Leche Republicans wrote in a letter. “After all, sharing a name with a state that wants to rewrite maps out of disdain for Mexicans would be a disgrace to the rest of the nation.”

“The Lincoln River would be a suitable substitute name, in honor of a great man, don’t you think?” the letter from the group said. “We call on you to withdraw your bill and spare us all further embarrassment.”

The Huffington Post points out that Rep. Holland isn’t the first one to propose such a preposterous name change. In the wake of the 2010 BP Gulf spill, TV comedian Stephen Colbert suggested changing the body of water’s name to the ‘Gulf of America.’

“We broke it, we bought it,” Colbert quipped. The comedian even started a “Gulf of America Fund.” 

HB 150 now heads to the Mississippi House Marine Resources Committee, which will hold a hearing on the measure. If approved, the bill will be subject to a vote of the full legislature, and if it passes, the name of the Gulf will change on July 1, but only in Mississippi.

Of course, to many Latin Americans, this is more about the spirit of the measure rather than the actual name ‘Gulf of America’– anyone from any country south of the border will readily tell you that they are Americans. So are Canadians, Jamaicans, Bolivians– anyone living in the Americas is an American. Those gringos who call themselves Americans, they’ll tell you, are more accurately referred to as Norteamericanos.

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