With cultural appropriation on everyone's mind this week after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) published her DNA test results to "prove" she's 1/1,024th Native American, a student at CNN's town hall between Texas Senate candidates Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke had an interesting question for the Democrat.
“Congressman, throughout the campaign, you have been attacked for being what Donald Trump Jr. has called ‘an Irish guy pretending to be Hispanic,'” the student, Khalid Aboujamous, said. “So what does the Hispanic community mean to you and what relationships do you have with that community?”
Trump Jr. previously made the accusation on Twitter.
What’s authentic about an Irish guy pretending to be Hispanic? Asking for some friends Texas. https://t.co/c30OjHdN8j— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) October 15, 2018
However, O'Rourke explained that "Beto" was simply a childhood nickname.
“You know this in McAllen [Texas] — if you are born Robert, or Albert, or Gilbert, or Umberto — your folks, your friends, your community calls you Beto.”
Critics upset with O'Rourke's chosen name accuse him of "Hispandering." However, he still identifies with the Hispanic community, he said, because he grew up in a neighborhood that was "more than 80-percent Mexican-American."
“This is part of who I am," O’Rourke said. "It’s where I’m from.”
O'Rourke has made sure voters know that. He is fluent in Spanish, has hosted multiple town halls with Latino voters, and even challenged Cruz to a Spanish-language debate, which Cruz declined. Cruz briefly showed off his Spanish skills at the 2016 presidential debate after Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) suggested he didn't know the language. Still, O'Rourke is barely winning the Latino vote in Texas. If that doesn't change, he is "doomed," according to Vice News.
However, others have noted that Cruz doesn't go by his birth name either. He went by "Felito" as a child but changed it because it was the cause of too much bullying.
Even with the controversy surrounding his first name, O'Rourke is still a very popular candidate by media standards, who have published headlines like the one below. Some conservatives, as you can imagine, snickered.
Beto O'Rourke's campaign has transcended politics to become something of a political-cultural phenomenon. https://t.co/PuVrc3wXFz— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 18, 2018
Cruz is leading O'Rourke by an average of 7 points.
O'Rourke made other headlines at Thursday night's debate by insisting he hasn't changed his mind about wanting to impeach President Trump.