Nov 11, 2012

If you have listened to any of the post-election chatter, then you have heard the topic of the changing demographic in our country.  If you have listened further as to why the Romney-Ryan ticket lost and more specifically what the GOP will do differently in the future, you heard GOP representatives talking about winning more of the Latino vote, but you do not hear them talk at all about winning more of the black vote.  At best I have heard them say they need to win more of the minority vote or more broadly the need to diversify their party.  Why are they so bold in stating they want Latinos but not utter a word about African Americans?  That is a glaring oversight.  Yes Latinos are the fast growing minority group.  They are in fact, according to the 2010 Census, 17% of the US population compared to 13.6% for blacks.  It is perfectly understandable to pursue the latino vote, but incomprehensible to seemingly dismiss the black vote?  To me, numbers are numbers.  Any votes that can be taken from the opponent should be the focus.  So are their diversification efforts one-dimensional?  For real, what is up with that?  The make up of the 2012 electorate shows latinos and blacks as 10% and 13% respectively.  That says to me that the black vote should be a prime target but apparently it is not.  Do they expect Latinos to surpass us in the electorate such that they get the biggest bang for their buck by pursuing the latino vote?  Is immigration the only thorn in the GOP side when it comes to Latinos?  Are they fine with them otherwise?  What is about African Americans that makes the GOP simply not interested?  Have they just fully embraced the Southern Strategy that says they do not need the black vote?  Are there more "black" issues that they simply cannot align with? Or is this just another example of latinos (particularly the lighter skinned latinos) being considered more acceptable than blacks?

Before I get into this next paragraph, first let me say that I am personally fascinated with latino culture.  They appear to have a very soulful charm/expression that I appreciate.  The intent of this essay is not to pit blacks and latinos against each other.  What I want to discuss is how acceptance of one does not mean acceptance of the other.  I think that because of the shared discrimination experience in this country, blacks and latinos tend to be on the same side.  Aside from that shared experience though, is there true solidarity between the two groups?  If you have ever seen the play, Platanos and Collard Greens, then you would probably answer no to that question.  My eyes were opened after hearing two Latino faculty give a presentation about the Latino population in our state.  I clearly remember one statement of latinos not having much in common with blacks and even less in common with whites.  In terms of the struggle for equality, I believe African Americans have laid the foundation for how to fight in this country and it is my observation that Latinos have organized similarly and further capitalized on it.  As with our progress and all progress, I am happy about what all they have been able to accomplish.  It is just that this embrace of Latinos and continual disdain for Blacks says to me that advancement for Latinos maybe an advancement for diversity but not necessarily an advancement for the African American community.

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