On Gay Marriage, HispanicLatinos Move Beyond Their History

The Supreme Court’s decision to rule on gay marriage after sidestepping the issue for so long constitutes another pivotal moment in the development of the new Hispanic/Latino social and political identity.  Like every group that evolves into the consciousness of being an American, HispanicLatinos become in various forms the products of efforts to attain the American ideal — which changes over time.  The American of today is not the American of the 1960’s and certainly not the American of a half century later.  Neither are HispanicLatinos.

How exactly HispanicLations evolve — bombarded as they have been by the sweeping forces that have transformed society during five decades of halycon change — is not yet fully evident. In many ways Hispanics or/and Latinos are still discovering themselves.  Many are sinewously insecure.  A population that goes by two different names cannot be anything but a collection of individuals still figuring things out — advancing the idea that HispanicLatinos are not like everyone else.  Indeed, they are not alike in many ways to each other.  But regarding gay marriage, it would appear that HispanicLatinos in toto have moved past their former thinking — and, thus, their former selves.

The more interesting question is why HispanicLatinos are not following the script they were once expected to read from and, more so, how does one address them in the third millennium of modern time and the third century of the American Republic?

  Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Manzano So Much More than Navarrette

Where and how does one begin to make sense of what Ruben Navarrette wrote for CNN about Leo Manzano and, by extension, Hispanics/Latinos, be they recent immigrants or descendants from founders of some of the oldest cities in the nation?  To start off, the column Navarrette wrote lambasting the young Olympic runner for raising a Mexican and a U.S. flag to celebrate his silver medal in the 1500-meter race was not about Manzano.  It was about Navarrette.  The object of Navarrette’s anger was not Manzano’s alleged act of disloyalty but something about Navarrette that is not yet settled within his own self.

Navarrette admits as much in the column, which in a way is the most important he has ever written:  “Most Mexican-Americans I know would need a whole team of therapists to sort out their views on culture, national identity, ethnic pride and their relationship with Mother Mexico,” the 55-year-old Navarrette wrote.  And that is the problem.  The problem is not Manzano, who knows who he is and knows what he thinks and who is not going to back down from someone like Navarrette who has not figured himself out at his age and remains incomplete – like many Mexican-Americans and other HispanicLatinos.

Continue reading

The Fundamental Choice Mexicans Face

The Mexican presidential debate last night might have changed the course of the election, scheduled for July 1.  But probably not as much as a student-led revolt against the return of the PRI – the party that dominated the country for more than five decades under governments that were feeble excuses for democracy.  The polls supposed that the Partido Revolucionario Institucional would return to power but now show that perhaps the election was called too early.  Students took to the streets and the internet and seem to have reminded their fellow Mexicans of the PRI’s history.  The students shouting in the streets certainly reminded me of the day in 1990 that Luis Donaldo Colossio two years before he was assassinated looked at me across the conference table in our newspaper editorial board room, a quizzical expression on his face.

Continue reading

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 HispanicLatino.com.

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:

Continue reading

Drugged and Ignorant

I have stopped paying attention to most people who think they know what they are talking about when it comes to the situation in Mexico and Latin America regarding the drug threat.  In almost all the public pronouncements of know-it-alls from presidential candidates to the lowliest of citizens, they seemingly all profess to know how to best handle the border against drug smuggling.  Fences.  Lampposts.  Sensors.  Armed guards.  Pilotless drones.  Moats.  Walls.

Morons.  Few ever consider that the fault lies on this side of the border.

Continue reading

A Very Chávez Christmas, and it’s not Hugo Boss

Another gift from Hugo Chávez to the United States and the rest of the countries of the Americas.  How touching.  Just in time for Christmas.  Not just any kind of gift, but one with long-term strategic complications: His announcement that the Chinese have loaned Venezuela another $4 billion in loans on top of the $26 billion already outstanding.  The loans, secured by future sales of Venezuelan oil, ordinarily would be a normal transaction between sovereign nations, but, of course, it isn’t.  The Chinese also have pledged to invest another $40 billion in other energy-related projects. Continue reading

And That’s the Way It Is

I tried to call the fellows at the Politico.com website in northern Virginia earlier this week.  No, not about Herman Cain.  I wanted to make sure that its Friday tip sheet for the Sunday morning news programs includes Fareed Zakaria’s GPS.  The tip sheet gives a heads-up on whom the producers of the main networks have invited as guests, and Zakaria’s Global Public Square by far overshadows anything on the other networks.

This is no small matter, especially for HispanicLatinos who are a globalized population in a globalized world. Continue reading

Surely Al Sharpton or Sheldon Cooper Can Help

The scripted HispanicLatino stood up to ask his question at the Republican presidential debate in Nevada last week.  The incisive power of the question sucked the air out of the room.  Viewers were left reeling.  “What is your message to the Hispanic community?” was Robert Zavala’s riveting question.

Not: Hey, guys, who has caused the nation more harm in the past 10 years:  Bankers and Wall Street investment companies or immigrants in the country illegally?

Not:  Riddle me this:  You say you want to create jobs.  Why do corporations and banks with more than $2 trillion and perhaps $3 trillion in assets not invest in economic development in the HispanicLatino community – or any community?

Not:  Say, I do not know if you have noticed but Mexico right next door each day edges closer to be taken over by narco-traffickers.  You got anything to say about that?  And I have a follow-up question:  If the United States did not have a massive drug-consumption problem would Mexico have a massive drug-cartel problem?

Not:  I’m curious.  What is going to happen in Cuba when Fidel Castro dies?  A massive migration northward?  And is there anything to fear from Hugo Chávez in Venezuela?

Not:  Ah, don’t you get that your trash-talking on immigration makes HispanicLatinos who might vote for you uneasy and is making many more of them angry?

Not:  Excuse me, but:  No one is taking the jobs that HispanicLatino laborers are abandoning in Alabama in wake of that state’s anti-immigration law.  Aren’t we losing jobs and hurting the economy when tomato crops rot in the fields?  Would you as President allow states to override federal law at will?

Not:  You know, insured children are an economic development tool and preventive health care keeps kids out of expensive emergency rooms:  Aside from beating each other up about who had the most uninsured kids in their state when some of you were governor, what do plan to do about it as President?

Not:  With the country nearly bankrupt, how are we going to convince HispanicLatinos – like John F. Kennedy asked the country in 1961 – that they are being called upon to do more for the country than the country can do for them?

Not:  I know you guys are really smart, but HispanicLatinos are, too.  They make up more than 15 percent of the population but only about 6 percent of doctors.  Don’t you think this is something that we should be concerned about as the Anglo population ages?  And wouldn’t some form of affirmative, strategic action help?

I do not know Mr. Zavala but I have a question for him:  What planet do you live on?  Perhaps the geeks on CBS’ The Big Bang Theory can help.  Koothrappali, who cannot speak to girls, whispers into Wolowitz’ ear to ask questions.

At least Koothrappali knows what to ask.

Blogs published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays or invariably in between.