At Year’s End, the Enduring HispanicLatino Story

So the year ends and so does this blog on a regular three-times-per-week basis.  In the year that begins tomorrow, change and events will continue to rock our world.  Sadly, television too soon will break into our lives with news of another mass shooting.  The possibility that Israel will launch its already-planned attack on Iran’s nuclear installations becomes probability as each day passes.  By the end of the spring, the fragile economy might have been harassed back into recession by obdurate House Republicans whose political near-sightedness obscures the electoral razor atop their noses.  Still, despite the immediacy of these events, the most transcendental if not outright existential story for the country remains how HispanicLatinos develop socially, economically and politically.  And so from time to time a thought or two on the subject will appear in this same space.

The beginnings of the HispanicLatino storyline appear old already.  The drumbeat of demographic change has become monotony.  Yet the story is just beginning.  The objective of this blog, which began in the late summer of 2011, intended to advance foundational thought and reflection beyond the routine talking point of a Hispanic/Latino population remaking the country.  HispanicLatinos, after all, will prove more important than the next mass shooting or the combined competitive evolution in the near future of the Brazilian, Chinese, Indian and Mexican economies.  HispanicLatinos must succeed for America to survive.

The HispanicLatino phenomenon, though, is not easily captured.  It seems an apparition in slow-motion, though it is not.  Millions of HispanicLatinos are making millions of individual decisions in their lives daily – from diet to debt – that in the long run will be more important than whether the European Union survives.  The composite meaning of those decisions escapes the attention it deserves for many reasons, not the least of which is the slow, drawn-out understanding by HispanicLatinos of their importance to the country.  The failure of the majority of HispanicLatinos to not understand the historic proportion of their existence relative to the rest of the population threatens the country.  It is, in fact, a matter of national security.

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A New Ambassador for a New Time

The topic of immediate concern in Washington is the nation’s fiscal crisis.  Nothing is more important.  But not long thereafter, the time for immigration reform will arrive.  What does immigration reform mean?  When will the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress draft and propose legislation?  Is the intention to build on the last proposal that went nowhere?  Is there a legalization component?  President Obama should be involved directly, but will he engage?  Who in Congress and within public interest organizations will be central to this drama?  Is there a cost to the Treasury?  What terms are acceptable to discuss in public?  Will the fight be as bitter as over healthcare?  What steps are being taken to assure that the public accepts proposed legislation?  Will all come to naught in the face of Republican opposition and predictable Democratic angst?  Will hard political capital on both sides of the aisle be used to get this done?  Or will one party use it to set up the other in time for November, 2014?

Listed in this fashion, the questions frame the sheer difficulty of what is demonstrably easier said than done.  No one has answers for most of them, except that the Administration will need every tool to achieve success – and develop new ones.

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Before Legacy, Think Opportunity

With the election over, there is no question we have entered the age of the new demography in which the changing internal populations of countries are remaking their politics.  HispanicLatinos, millennials, African Americans, independent women, gays and lesbians and a host of fair-minded voters not blinded by religious fervor or abject racism came together and delivered a good win for President Barack Obama.  The uncertainty is whether the United States will give itself the chance to take advantage of its demographic transformation to secure its future.   In that sense, we have entered a new age of opportunity.  But it is also clear we have entered the age of climate change.  The assertion of the new demography came simultaneously with Hurricane Sandy that should have blasted smugness for all time.

If I may, a personal, self-serving note: If Florida, as expected, is finally given to Obama, it will confirm the call I made on October 29 that nailed the election’s outcome on the button in the Electoral College.  On the popular vote, I was also very close.  I said the spread between Obama and Mitt Romney would be three million votes.  The spread currently stands at about 2.7 million.  You can read that blog at:

Now, after the election, what?  The first few days are important for President Obama and will determine if the nation does push forward.

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Ethnicity and Race Do Matter — and Thank God

Let’s say you are a young HispanicLatino, say, in your 20’s, and you are aware enough to know there are more important things in life than social networking, music, dancing, drinking, friends, entertainment and games.  Let’s say that you pick up on the fact that 57 percent of white non-HispanicLatinos have anti-HispanicLatino sentiments, that is, that so-called Anglos think negatively about you, your family and your friends.  The findings from a recent survey commissioned by the Associated Press and conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and Stanford and Michigan universities are no surprise to most HispanicLatinos.  But what is someone so young supposed to think – or do?  The answer is to make it about you yourself, not them.  What 57 percent of Anglos think is less important as each day passes and will have lesser and lesser bearing.

Most writers across the country have bemoaned the results of the study.  It is, I suppose, sad – if you live in the past.  A different viewpoint should take hold instead of morose musings that the country never achieved harmonic convergence on race.  It does not matter now that the country never got to some nebulous promised land where skin color and ethnicity blended into some sort of multicultural muddle.  The very point of where humankind finds itself today is that in a globalized world, all cultures matter, and, in fact, matter equally.  The point of the future is that we are going to have to get along despite lasting natural differences not melt each other into some vapid subsistence.

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The Unintended Paradox of Arizona

Nothing defines an individual more than a different identity being thrust upon him or her. It is more important than just one moment, and it in the long run might be pivotal for the country.  It might convert a leaderless community into one of action — for America’s good.. 

The massive attention given to the Supreme Court decision on Arizona represents only a part of our passage into the new time we are privileged to witness, although many of us will have to adjust our vision to it, as if entering a room suddenly lit.  The intense speculation over the HispanicLatino vote in the presidential race is but another component of the point of no return.  Things HispanicLatino have become and will forever be, with growing strength, a part of the national consciousness.  The Dream Act.  The penetration of the HispanicLatino image into mainstream advertising.  The changing demography.  Unending elections and perennial electoral calculations.  All are real departure points rooted in change but now intensified by the necessity of HispanicLatinos to prove their citizenship by showing their papers until the last remaining part of Arizona is declared unconstitutional. 

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Reworking the Networks at Last: Breaking the News

There are many tough executive-level jobs in corporate America today.  The nation’s economy is being buffeted on all sides by foreign competition, skilled workers are at a premium and the nation’s infrastructure each day falls behind the rest of the world — among other issues. Few of those jobs are more challenging than leading a television network today (or a film production or advertising company for that matter).

Whether heading up an English-language or a Spanish-language operation – all are caught in some way by changing demographics; the evident and growing power of social media and new platforms; and an audience comprised of submarkets and subgroups hard to unify into a national market.  It is nothing short of mayhem – and confused mayhem at that – exacerbated by business models that probably need to be revamped or scratched.  Not surprisingly, rumors abound about the future of the current Spanish-language networks, the advent of news ones and the creation of new hybrids for English-dominant HispanicLatinos. ABC and Univision this week affirmed their intention to bring to life next year a new cable news channel that appeals to English-dominant HispanicLatinos.

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Alone at the Top: HispanicLatinos with the Responsibility to Lead

In the immediate years ahead, HispanicLatinos who are the most accomplished will have the most to lose if the rest of their community does not accelerate its progress and if America falters.  These HispanicLatinos bear the looming responsibility of managing the interplay of three powerful forces already changing their personal lives and the larger trajectory of the country:  A new demography, mass communications and a seemingly willful geography.  It is a difficult but worthwhile task.

Geography often is taken as fixed.  In fact, it moves history.  Geography projects, maintains and grows culture, however unevenly.  At times, an army can use the lay of the land to scurry a foe into defeat.  But geography is far more powerful over the long term, shaping and influencing events permanently in positive and negative ways not apparent until much later.

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On HispanicLatino and not ‘Hispanic’ nor ‘Latino’

Standing in a conference room atop a bank building in Miami last week, I had been looking out at the spectacular vista.  From the city’s mammoth airport to the west, my gaze spanned eastward, marveling at the jewel-islands linked by the necklace of causeways that connects all to the island of Miami Beach, itself ensconced by the emerald beauty of the Atlantic.  I forced myself to return my head to business and stepped into the hallway to snatch a cup of coffee.  Upon my return, a man who had spoken earlier to the meeting I was attending introduced himself.

The usual banter ensued, and soon enough the inevitable question that has plagued humanity since it invented small talk came my way from the Anglo marketing consultant: What do you do for a living?

I write a blog on HispanicLatinos at

Oh. He paused.  You are combining the terms.  He paused again, then: Thank you!  Before I could smile in return, he continued in spurts of sentences.  We never know what to say…at my company…which term to use…we go back and forth…in reports and stuff…we do not want to offend anybody….

My response was a bit more organized:

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HispanicLatinos and the Need to Rethink Themselves

Without HispanicLatinos, America would be hollowed out demographically at a time when the country is fundamental to the security of the world – an essential truth that HispanicLatinos must inculcate in the marrow of their bones. HispanicLatinos must now think of themselves in a profoundly historic way.  They must view themselves for the strategic assets that they have become and think about how they accelerate the development of their inner potential and innate talents. They are essential to the future of the country in the most basic of ways: They have become a national security concern.

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The New America: A New Creation

To an already over-populated world undoubtedly harming its environment and contributing to climate change, the thought of adding more people to a global population of seven billion is not a subject easily dismissed nor left blithely unconsidered.  Yet, the arms race of the previous century has been displaced by an undeclared demographic war among nations, and America cannot but continue to grow its own population.

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