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You need to know your Chavezes

March 31, 2013, was Easter in the United States. For quite a while now, March 31 has been Cesar Chavez day in some States in the country. Also for some time, Google has been displaying “doodles” on their homepage. These doodles are images or even small computer games to celebrate the date. On March 31, 2013, Google posted a doodle about Cesar Chavez in celebration of his 86th birthday:


This didn’t sit well with conservative pundits because it was Easter, and Jesus doesn’t get any other day of the year should have been celebrated instead, in their view. To make a mountain out of a mole hill, one blogger kicked things off by saying that Google was celebrating Hugo Chavez, the recently deceased (and quite controversial, maybe even tyrannical) President of Venezuela. That blogger posted this on Twitter:

Hugo, Cesar, same difference, right?

Hugo, Cesar, same difference, right?

They’ve since deleted the tweet and corrected the story they posted, but they were not the only ones making this mistake. Here is a collection of screen captures of other people saying similar things on twitter, and some even being outright racists about it. If you don’t want to click on that link and get your blood pressure to an all-time high, here are three of the “milder” comments where people can’t tell one Chavez from another:

screenshot.105I don’t care what side of the political spectrum you adhere to. I really don’t. But you need to know the difference between two Brown men named Chavez. You also need to know that not everyone celebrated Easter yesterday. There are those who are not Christian, and there are Christians who will celebrate Easter later this year.

So chill out. It’s just a doodle. Go read a book. Go open a newspaper. Go learn the difference between Hugo and Cesar Chavez, besides their first names.

One last thing…



Maybe because they don’t have to? And because they live in a country where they are free not to? Just thinking out loud…


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René F. Najera, DrPH

I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
About History of Vaccines: I am the editor of the History of Vaccines site, a project of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Please read the About page on the site for more information.
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