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Could Latino Voters Hold Key to Dem Nominee?

There's a lot going on today, so this is going to be quick. We have a very special guest coming, so I have to clear out of the studio so they can set up.

All of our guests are special, of course, but most don't travel with TRUNKS of equipment. Check this out: there are six music stands in here, five mic stands — each outfitted with headphones and a console — a drum kit, a bunch of locked trunks containing I know not what, and reams of chords and plugs.

There will be MUSIC in the house later on. You'll get to hear it on our program next week.

Want to know who it is?

Not. Telling.

But, we are sure you'll like it.

Want a hint?

The title of the artist's first album is something most of us use everyday. That's all I'm going to say right now.

Moving on ...

Today, we wanted to dig into one of the nagging questions in this election: how will Latinos vote, and how will that vote be influenced? There has been a lot of debate about this percolating in various forums ...

There's a column by one of our regulars Ruben Navarrette.

There's another piece by Gregory Rodriguez, whom we've also had on the program.

And there's The New Yorker piece that's gotten a lot of attention.

... One in the Chicago Tribune.

... And, Gebe Martinez's recent piece for Politico.

The gist of it seems to be, will Latinos vote for a black candidate?

Do Latinos identify more with white than black? Or, is this all nonsense and a matter of which candidate is running a stronger campaign?

Is the strength of name recognition at work?

And just how big is this sleeping giant of Latino voters, and when will it wake up? Or, has it already?

Those are some of the issues we talked about today.

Enjoy your weekend.



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Do latinos idenify more white than Black? I would have to say yes, to this question. It seems that the New Media Survey, that you talked about on your program back in Dec, 2007 seemed to point to that conclusion, & not just Latinos but Asian as well !!

It stands to reason, given the fact that Latinos shared a colonial past with Spain/Portugal & African American with Britain mostly. It is as if both groups are fighting a proxy war on behalf of these past colonial powers today in America. Whiteness seems to be the gold standard that both oppressed groups were brainwashed with as the desired identity. I believe this is more so with the latino/Hispanic groups, than with African Americans living today. The reasons are varied, most african Americans can't blend in due to high levels of melanin in most of our skins, also their were movements thru- out our history to embrace who we where & our Blackness, & to not be ashamed of our skin color.

Also I don't remember that African living in America ever got honoree white status like Hispanics & some Asian groups recieved at a certain point in American history.

Media plays a huge role in how African American & other Black folks are protrayed; a lots of stereotypes are dispersed around the world about African Americans as well as other Black people.So others including those in latin America have a very one dimensional view of African Americans.

With all the negative images about African Americans these groups Hispanic/Latinos,& Asians just don't want to idenify with African Americans = Blackness =negative, I believe to their minds (not all) but very many.

What a shame that we humans try to divide ourselves by color, & the truth is we are all children of Mother Africa under the skin !

Sent by Robert H. | 10:38 PM | 2-9-2008

Hola, Michel.

Well, as a Chicano, I have been finding the discussion about the Latino Vote to be quite interesting and informative about "where we stand" in this country. Are we racists? Are we brain-washed? Are we one-dimensional thinkers?

Well, amidst all the discussion, I constantly realize that in all of the discussions, Latinos are generally cast as nothing more than one collective body of children. We are infantilized ad nauseum, and it can get to be a bit much, at times.

In the first place, the premise that the Lation Vote can be defined is presumptuous at best and insulting at worst. We Chicanos and Latinos are a collection of diverse peoples, with varying interests and political concerns. "We" cannot be defined any more comparatively than say, Colin Powell and Barack Obama. Are both African American? Certainly. Are both active politically? Sure. But would we go so far as to say that they vote the same way based on nothing more than their skin color or cultural heritage?

-This is a problem.

However, racism is a problem, too. So the question remains: Are Latinos racist? Do we tend to avoid voting for African Americans? I would vehemently claim that No, we are NOT racist against our African-American brothers and sisters.

And one of the main reasons we look to first support our brothers and sisters is because we too have seen (and CONTINUE to see) the face of discrimination and racism in our everyday lives.

Please, please, let none of us ever forget that the days of "No Dogs or Mexicans Allowed" in the American Southwest and West Coast were coexistent with the age of discrimination in the South. We should never forget that.

It is this brand of comparative suffering that tends to divide the collective interests of those who have suffered a historical record of neglect and exclusion, whatever our skin color. Gender and Race are currently bearing this truth out, evidently.

For the fact is that I share about as much of a colonial past with Spain and Portugal as I do with Ghengis least in terms of a history that I was taught, anyway. If whiteness is a gold standard, then we are all suffering from an adherence to that standard. Is it any wonder that studies report that African-Americans also tend to identify more with Whites? Look to the ACT test results at Harvard, for example.

We all have this problem of identity in a society where no image of a person of color rests on a piece of currency that folds. To an extent, we are all brain-washed. Why else would we be compelled to make a "Pledge of Allegiance" every morning during elementary school?

So it is not accurate to simply state that the weight of racism or cultural division rests solely on the shoulders of Chicanos and Latinos. We, as a group, are constantly examining the duality of our existence. We are the conquered and the conqueror, and that conflict provides an opportunity for each of us to really examine our feelings when making an important decision.

Listen, I don't want to sound uber-sensitive, but we have to be cognizant that discussions about the "Latino Vote" are themselves potentially divisive. It says to an entire group of people, "YOU vote this way" or "YOU vote that way." So in essence, We Chicanos and Latinos are the other.

~"WE" are "THEY."

p.s. Oh, and by the way, if someone could please tell me where I can redeem my "honorary white status", I would really appreciate it.

Sent by Javier Martin Ortiz | 12:14 PM | 2-12-2008

I have one important guestion, who other than maybe, Caesar Chavez marched & stood with African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement ?

I believe this would be a great way of showing that latinos' & African Americans shared a common bond during a period of American history that hepled change the landscape of America, for us ALL !

Also, it would be a way of weaving those persons into the Civil Rights narrative, so that more African Americans & Latino/Hispanic Americans can see those connection from an historical perspective.

I know about the Euro Americans, the Jewish Americans , but no knowledge of those Latino/ Hispanic Americans that took part in this seminal time in our collective hitory. Can anyone out there help me with this information ?

Sent by Robert H. | 4:13 PM | 2-13-2008