Tuesday, January 29, 2008

On Latinos keeping the black man from the presidential office

So if you're like me and have been following the presidential primaries you might think that I am rockin' it because the political pundits are name-tagging Latinos as the potential king-makers in these elections (never mind that Latino immigrants seem to be the punching bag of the right in equal measures of breathlessness).

Truth is that I've been dismayed by the mainstream press coverage of the Latino vote - which often quotes "experts" who are not Latino - and which feeds into the worst stereotypes of black-Latino animosity - which exists - but not nearly as much as it's being sold.

Worse! The latest round of Latino demagoguery was sparked by a Clinton supporter and Latino pollster Sergio Bendixen when he told the New Yorker magazine that “The Hispanic voter—and I want to say this very carefully—has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates” (this is the same guy who was hired by the defunct national Latino LGBT organization, LLEGO, to poll Latinos on the issue of same-sex marriage in the previous presidential election).

I'd been meaning to write about it but someone's beat me to it.

Surprisingly it's anti-gay marriage and Mexican-American political pundit Ruben Navarrete (pictured) who has a syndicated OpEd coulmn in a few mainstream newspapers. And with whom I agree 100% tonight. Here is where he begins:

"Having polarized blacks and whites, the Democratic primary campaign was already becoming sleazy. And now that Latinos have been added to the mix, it's become surreal. We're being told that Latinos won't vote for Barack Obama because he's black. The implication is that Latinos are racist."

I urge you to read the rest.

Gregory Rodriguez also has a great OpEd piece at Times Magazine Online ("The Black-Brown Divide").

UPDATE: Chicago Tribune OpEd columnist Clarence Page says that Clinton's lead among Latinos has to do more with coattails than race and two guest OpEd writers at the Los Angeles Times chime in with a similar take. Both columns argue against efforts to paint the political preferences of Latinos as race-based.

Then there is The Ememy who has also taken notice of the "Latinos are All Racist" meme. For his thoughts go here.

And Vivir Latino reminds people: Hey, there are a lot of black Latinos in this country as well!

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