Member Reviews

Thank you to Scribd and NetGalley for the Reader's Copy!

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Written as a long form letter to George Hobbs, "Letter to a Bigot" is a stirring call for reform of social and political laws on California's golden coast. Through detailed personal examples, Gurba captures exactly how and why the personal IS political, especially for the community of immigrants. Furthermore, Gurba argues, the harmful logics we see under the current US administration have had long, treacherous and ugly roots in older politicians' and that, as much as we may pretend, American society has a long way to evolve. In this way, "Letter to a Bigot" is not so much an individual letter as a rallying cry to ALL American politicians.

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This book is written as a way for the author to get the truth out about the bigoted mayor of her hometown and how his leadership personally affected her in a negative way. While reading this, I wondered if Mayor Hobbs would have felt differently about his decisions if he were alive to read this. The raw honesty about the pain of the author kept me enthralled. I hope that she was able to find some solace as she wrote this.

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What do you expect from a woman who turned the world upside down when she felt her culture is being colonized?! Again.

I felt compelled to request this book as I saw her name. I went into it with a particular bigot in mind, but as it turned out it was a different bigot same brand of bigotry.

In what Gurba calls an "anti-tribute" to George Hobbs, the former mayor of Santa Maria, California, where Gurba was born, she details how Hobbs' brand of politics affected her community and affected her personally growing up.. Hobbs was the prototype of white supremacist who called the Mexican and Chicanx community a "problem" and homosexuality an "illness" and his policies dealt with both as such. An enabler of violence, racism and misogyny, Gurba's aim is to deny Hobbs's legacy to be something other than what it really was. Without any sugar coating or euphemisms, she highlights in a very short read how Hobbs had a hand in infantilizing her culture and normalizing violence against Mexican women that led to Gurba's own rape.

This tiny little read serves as an evidence to those who wish their sins against ethnic communities to be washed away with oblivion that there will be always someone who will forever remember and will stop at nothing to remind others.

Than k you NetGalley and Scribd for my eARC of this book.

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When I told my friend I had received this book, she asked, "Who's the Bigot?" Frankly I didn't know. I know now. This book only takes about 15 minutes to read -- in essence, it's a letter, but it is far more than that. Gurba directs her powerful and seering letter to George Hobbs, now deceased but one time City Councilor turned mayor of Santa Maria, California, a coastal city in central CA where Mexican migrants landed in search of work, namely, strawberry picking. Hobbs hated Mexicans, and openly referred to them as a "problem." Growing up in Santa Maria was a miserable and degrading experience for Gurba, where she was vilified for being Mexican, almost at every turn of her life. When she was accepted to UBerkely and told one of her white teachers (who at the time was eating lunch), the teacher turned to her and said, "It had to be affirmative action," and returned to eating as if her food had been made even sweeter with her demeaning comment.

Gurba tells us of the sexual assaults that she endured at the hands of white boys and men, and even by Chicano men, who allowed themselves to be used by those in power to take whatever scraps of whiteness that they could. Living under Hobbs was to live in an intolerable xenophobic space: says Gurba, "George, xenophobia isn't an attitude: it's an environment you spend decades fertilizing." Moreover, in this short piece, Gurba discusses the manner in which indigenous people from Mexico were abused and belittled by the racism surrounding them in Santa Maria....conditions under which they had already lived as indigenous people in Mexico, made worse by the xenophobia that enveloped them.

Gurba calls her letter an "anti-tribute" -- and openly states, "When people hear your name, George Hobbs, I want them to think of bigotry, think of you as a fascist, a xenophobe...a racist. I want them to think of you as a white supremacist. I want people to know you called homosexuality 'an illness'." I want people to understand that those who practice your brand of politics are unfit to govern." This last part of the book reminds the reader that such actions are not limited to a place like Santa Maria, CA, but to our entire nation, as we grapple with a national leader who embodies all of these undesirable and hateful characteristics.
#netgalley #LetterToABigot

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